Senior Consultant, Franki Crosse, is currently on a five month sabbatical from Oasis HR. In this blog series titled ‘Franki goes to…’ we follow her travels around the world and keep up to speed with what she’s been up to on her adventure!
It’s Monday morning UK time, I’ve just seen my team group WhatsApp starting our weekly kick off meeting and I’m sitting on a beach in Myanmar, having had my first pina colada after being vegetarian and tee total for the last month, so it feels a good time to pen my first instalment of my blog – India!
We literally watched the sun set on our incredible Indian adventure three days ago… from the minaret of a 360 year old mosque, the Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi. True to our style we attempted to tick Delhi off on a quick 5 hour lay over and consequently had to run through Delhi airport as the flight was on final call (NB gate 11 is much further than you may think!).
Never have I been to such a diverse, hectic, beautiful and culturally rich country with the most hospitable people, or been asked for so many selfies! India is going to be missed. Having finally packed up my flat (the morning of our flight!) and said our goodbyes, we arrived on the beach in Goa to recover for a few days then went down to a hippie beach reserve in Karnataka where we looked a bit like fish out of water, partly due to the vibe which we hadn’t yet settled into (we were still walking at London pace), and partly due to our ‘milky white skin’ which we were kindly informed of!
From there we got our first sleeper bus to Hampi which unsurprisingly broke down but it was well worth the wait. Hampi is full of 15th century temples strewn around boulder fields as far as you can see. It looks like a film set and one of my favourite places so far! A series of long, long sleeper train rides took us from there to Varanasi, via a tiger reserve in central India that was well off the beaten track to say the least! We were super lucky to see a wild Bengali tiger stalking two Sambar deer which is something I’ll never forget!
Varanasi is the most surreal place I’ve ever been – it’s a sacred city on the Ganges where thousands of Hindus travel to cremate their loved ones on the banks of the river and bathe in the holy waters. Cows, dogs and hundreds of people roam the narrow cobbled streets interspersed with countless street food stalls, shops and constantly beeping scooters. It’s a labyrinth we got completely lost in (in all meanings of the word!).
Next up was the 7th wonder of the world – the Taj Mahal. We weren’t sure what to expect and met a number of people who decided to miss it as they’d seen lots of architecture already, but what a thing to miss out on, pictures just don’t start to do it justice! We then moved on to negotiate tuk tuk tours of the ancient city of Jaipur and walked the fort walls, trekking to the top for incredible views of the Pink City.
We explored the Blue City of Jodhpur, the City of Lakes at Udaipur, with the sun glistening on the water amid a setting of the Aravelli mountains and lots of palaces. Then to our final stop, Jaisalmer, and what a place to finish on! The Golden City has an ancient sandstone fort and this coupled with the desert backdrop makes you feel like you’re living in a sandcastle world! We trekked on a camel, set up camp on the sand dunes and slept under the stars on a freezing night (albeit probably still warm compared to UK temperatures, I must have lost all my Yorkshire hardiness!). We spent our final day watching camel polo at the annual desert festival.
In the past month we’ve ridden all the local forms of transport including Marwari horses, dromedary camels, and for those who know me well, the trickiest of all being conquering a push bike! We’ve eaten our body weight in street food – from deep fried chilli and potato pakoras to Tibetan momos, had countless cups of chai and given I have a huge sweet tooth I was super happy to find traditional Indian sweet stalls on every corner, the top pick being gulab jamun and jalebi. It’s safe to say that our plan of trimming down the Christmas holiday gains in India well and truly failed given the volume of food we ate coupled with the fact somehow we avoided all illnesses bar a few bed bug bites and cold!
We’re now in Myanmar where we’re relaxing on the beach for a couple of days before one of our friends comes to join us to explore. Onto the next chapter!
Franki joined Oasis HR in January 2014 having graduated from Durham University in Geography & Politics. Following two promotions Franki is now a Senior Consultant on the permanent team with a focus on Generalist roles (HR Business Partners, Heads of HR, HR Directors).
Prior to her London move Franki made the most of her 'gap 6-months' competing at British Dressage, travelling South East Asia and qualifying as a leader for the Ski Club of Great Britain. In her spare time she tries to juggle these things whilst making the most of what London has to offer!