I no longer work for a living, have a stable income and love travel. I plan to spend six months in India (since I get a visa for 6 months, I understand), preferably October-March, alternatively January-June, depending on some family obligations. I plan to work for about three of these months - as an expert-volunteer (my expertise is in international non-profit management and development) for three different charities in three different parts of India and travel-sightsee for the remaining three. I am thinking of starting in Goa for a few weeks, acclimatising in a nice beach hotel, then go work for a month, living - preferably - with an Indian family,so that I can learn sort-of-authenhic everyday life of Indian families, then travel for a month, maybe in the triangel (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra etc), take the famous palace on wheels luxury train for a week, etc.etc. I have committed to working in Madras for a month, thinking of committing to working in either Goa or Kerala for another, so this is likely to make me concentrate on southern India for most of the trip. Any tips? I want to have a combination of cultural and nature experience. I can't travel on too much of a budget, since I am an insulin-dependent diabetic: need to have insulin with me all the time, and that means refrigerated and need to be careful not to be exposed to any unsanitary conditions (food, water, diseases) due to a relatively weak immune system. On the other hand I would like to keep my expenses to under $1500 a month, if possible. Will it be possible to make (monthly, weekly or so) ATM withdrawals from my accounts in either USA or Europe or should I try to establish a bank account in India and ask my US bank to transfer funds regularly? I was informed that during the months I'll work, my expenses for food and accomodations would be around $300 a month, but that sounds a bit too optimistic for me, considering my hygiene and clean food/water requirements. Also, my insuline is likely to spoil frequently in the hot climate, so I'll need to replace it. I hope it is available in India? (I use Lantus)
I remember, though, that I spent less than $500 a month on food, accomodation and basic services in the rain forest of Costa Rica, where I spent 6 months in 2002, and that included a comfortable cabin, food, and household help (cook, cleaning lady, etc) and the standard of living - measured in per capita income - of the local population there is higher than in India, so it may be possible to live on close to nothing, when you don't travel and don't stay in hotels. So I could splurge more during the months I plan to travel. I would welcome any suggestions from our India experts. Thanks.