Interview with traveler Irene Turner

My friend Irene Turner was recently in India and she was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her trip to India.

India for kids

Who are you and what do you?

I am Irene Turner, an interior designer and soon to me realtor helping to sell not only homes, but a quality of life here in Sonoma County. I am a traveler at heart, it’s not something I do, but who I am and how I experience life.

When did you visit India and which parts of India did you see?

I went to Mumbai, Jaipur, Fatepur Sekri, Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi.


What was your first impression of India?

India was a sensory overload! from sight, sound, smell, feel and taste, it was chaotic, stimulating and exciting all at the same time

What would you advice someone travelling to India?

Be prepared. Do your due diligence of what you might need to make yourself more comfortable when traveling over there, how to eat, drink etc…and make your plans so that when you are there you can enjoy it.

Indian Railways

Did you find India hot?

No, but I was there for the month of February, so it was spring like

What souvenirs did you buy?

Some fabrics, incense, spices, not much, But I brought home 2336 photos. I just wanted to experience it.

Indian Elephant

Which items would you never travel without to India?

My iphone and ipad to take pictures and keep in touch with my loved ones on Facetime back home.

Did you try Indian food and what did you think of it?

Only Indian Food…when in India, do as the Indians do and I LOVE it. But then I did here at home too.

The Taj Mahal

What did you think of the Indian people; honest answer please?

The people I met I loved. I find them to be very sweet and heartfelt. Sometimes I wish they were a bit more direct…an ugly American trait…like knowing that we were expected to buy from vendors they took us to visit etc. But I found our drivers, tour guides, and especially the children on the streets to be wonderful!

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What was your worst experience of India?

The first day only, in Varanasi, the smell was overwhelming. I won’t say we got used to it, but it was easier after the first day.

Holy Indian Man

What was your best experience of India?

Riding the Elephants at Elefantastic, and as difficult as Varanasi was, Varanasi. I loved the Taj Mahal more then I expected to. We see so many pictures here that I thought I would be underwhelmed. But I was not. There is a purity and a quietness, even in the craze of all the people that is awe inspiring. I loved our hotel Jas Vilas in Jaipur the best.

Indian woman

Did you see beggars and how did deal with them?

Yes, mostly in Varanasi, but our driver mostly dealt with them. It was hard to see, but having traveled to Egypt and even Rome I was used to it.

What modes of transport did you use in India? What are your thoughts on them?

Plane, train, car and driver from India by car and driver company. In general they were fine, once you got used to the fact that everything is dirtier there. India actually has some great design, like my hotel in Mumbai (Le Sutra) the new terminal in Mumbai, airplanes etc. But as one Indian friend of mine said, they can design it, but maintaining them is another thing. Not so good.

Indian children going to school

Please give your best tips for travelling to India?

If you are a foreigner like I am, meaning a westerner, get a tour guide of some sort so you know what you are seeing, and plan your trip in advance so you can enjoy yourself while you are there. While I usually fly by the seat of my pants when I travel, I wouldn’t do that in India.

Finally, would you visit India again?

YES! It was a life changing trip, and I would do it again for sure.

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27 thoughts on “Interview with traveler Irene Turner”

  1. Thank you Shalu for interviewing me on my amazing and life changing trip to India. And many thanks for all the great information you provide here on your website that helped me to prepare for my trip. I was prepared and ready for anything because of it!
    Cheers from Sonoma County. If you ever come to our country I would love to meet you.
    Irene Turner

  2. Hi Shalu and Irene,

    That was a lovely interview indeed 🙂

    It’s nice to see that you could take all the cues from Shalu’s site, Irene, before starting off to your trip – her site is a great resource for all those wanting to travel to India.

    I loved going through your experiences and wish that you visit again, for a longer period of time as there’s SO much more to India than meets the eye.

    Thanks for sharing – have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

  3. Hi Irene: Good to know about you here, and you have given some very candid answers.

    Happy to know that you would like to come to India again. All the best and safe travels.

  4. Hi Irene Turner,
    You are most welcome on The Great Blogger on Shalu Sharma Blog. This is really nice to know about you Irene Turner that you are a Blogger as well as an interior designer too. We all love to know about you Irene Turner, & hope to see you again on Shalu Sharma’s Blogger.

  5. Wow, such a nice detailed touchy interview. I just randomly picked this post but as I went on, I could not just leave in between. Really admire your writing skills and the questions put up. It was truly enjoying.

  6. Hi Shalu,

    Thank you for this great interview with Irene. Although I never traveled to India, friends of mine have. They were not prepared!

    You really need to know where to go, what to eat, what not to eat, etc. when traveling.

    India is a beautiful place. When and if I get there someday, I certainly will do my homework. And keep following your blog and your book!


  7. Hey Irene, I read that Varanasi was used to be the capital city of India. Then why it was so bad to stay there? India sounds awesome country to visit. A unique experience probably! 🙂

  8. I always envision a day I will be outside the shore of my country. In as much as my hometown share a border with Ivory Coast, I have never crossed it before.

    Hello Madam Irene, that was a nice you’ve shared with us about India. I love Indian movies a lot and the day I set foot in India, the first person I will be looking for will be Aamir Khan!

  9. India would never come out of this problem until we really get some genuine politicians. Politicians should have some emotions towards nations and those millions of poor , then only India would become a great place.

    Nice interview 😉

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  11. Hi Shalu, Great interview with Irene. Though I’m Indian I still didn’t travel much and now I’m planning to travel all over the country with my friends. Will read all your blog posts, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. Awesome interview.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome interview.
    I don’t travel much either but I’m looking forward to traveling the world soon.

    Thanks for sharing again
    All the best


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