Kerala Blog Express Diaries: The smiles of India


Heavily moustached and with a frown on his face, the Indian man read the text on the side of the bus. “29 nationalities” “30 bloggers” “Trip of a Lifetime” “#KeralaBlogExpress” and each country making a banner around the top – it’s a lot to take in at a glance.

From the window seat, I watched his eyes dart across the words with curiousity. His gaze eventually met mine and I gave a wave. A bright smile erupted on his face as he waved back. This has been my India so far.


I’ve quickly learned that Kerala is a fantastic introduction to India. Where I can imagine being overwhelmed by the sheer chaos of somewhere like Bombay, Kerala seems to hold the balance of having a lot of people but spread across the landscape.

I cannot describe how lucky I feel. I’ve met not just exceptional bloggers but Indian people too. I have never felt so at ease in a foreign country – sure you could put it down to the fact that we’re being very well looked after by Kerala Tourism – but I think it’s more than that.

We’ve been on houseboats, seen the locals’ daily life but with every place, there has been a smile (and an affectionate head wiggle).

For someone who can quite often be introverted, these simple gestures are amazingly calming. They say that Ireland is the home of a thousand welcomes but I reckon Keralites have friendliness on their birth certs.


I could write essays about the people. Men donning moustaches, women with gentle grace, children full of the joys of living. All of their smiles would brighten the darkest of places.


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Hello! Úna-Minh is a journalist, social media consultant and virtual assistant who loves (you guessed it) TRAVEL. She also feels a bit strange writing in the third person so she'll stop that now. You can find out more about me and my Mammy in the about section of this blog!

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  1. That’s a beautiful post and you summed it right, the smiles are genuine and the warmth lethal! I haven’t found something similar anywhere, though I am yet to travel a lot!

    1. Best of luck with your travels! I’m sure you’ll have a great time when you set off 🙂 Kerala was just magical.

  2. Wow! Looks like you have had a quite a trip. I have heard of the Kerala Blog Express and it seems like a wonderful way to get to know India. Maybe I will apply to the program in the future.

    1. You should definitely apply Paula! It was a truly amazing trip. There are a few things that Kerala Tourism needs to iron out in terms of organisation but overall it was a trip of a lifetime. It’s safe to say that it actually changed my outlook on life!

  3. Kerala seems like a good starting point if I were to travel to India. You look like you had a blast! I would also like to join other travelers in exploring a new adventure.

    1. It really is! Kerala is really beautiful and the people were so friendly.

  4. What a nice first encounter with India, one great introduction to what was yet to come! You made me laugh with this video on Indian head shakes, by the way, thanks. 😀

    1. Haha! Thanks Danijela! I love a head wiggle.

  5. Looks like you had great time.Thanks for sharing your experience. India is in my bucket list but I would probably do Solo. It would be good to read your thoughts about the Kerala blog express as well.

    1. Thanks Anna! The Kerala Blog Express was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend people signing up for the next season. They do however need to iron out a few things, for example: timings. I’m a very good timekeeper and waiting around isn’t my style, so I found that difficult to get used to. We used to call it “Indian time” because when they said “half an hour” that could mean hours. Also, while the people were very lovely, I think that they need to tighten up in terms of organisation. I had a brilliant time, truly brilliant, but sometimes it felt very much like just photo-ops for the media. We had a FANTASTIC tour guide Manoj and he kept us in the loop with everything. I think I’ll do a longer post on the blog express itself for sure.

  6. What a beautiful place! I love how welcoming the people seem! I definitely wan’t to visit someday 🙂

    1. You definitely should John! Really beautiful people.

  7. Your photos truly capture the life of India. Super stunning and powerful. We plan to visit India, hopefully this year. Hope we could join the Kerala tour so that we can have that chance.

    On a loftier goal, we are planning to make India our starting point for a dream adventure in the Himalayas. 🙂

    1. Best of luck on your adventure! India is wonderful.

  8. I have heard of Kerala Express before. But this was the first post I have read about it. Wonderful photos! I love the innocent and sincere smile of the young girl in the 4th photo! So lovely!

    1. It’s really fantastic – would highly recommend applying for it if you get the opportunity.

  9. Finding a place that feels like home and is friendly far away from home is always nice. A smile can light up a room and change your day. Nice photos and post. I interacted with an indian gentleman one day and I had the toughest time under standing his head shakes. That video is helpful.

  10. Isn’t Kerala just amazing? You have captured quite a few nuances of the place. It is fun discovering them all. Did you visit the Backwaters?

  11. Thanks for the post.Kerala is an impressive place for anyone from outside. It is equipped with many attractions such as the fascinating palm-fringed beaches, lovely lakes, beautiful mountain villages, incredible temples and palaces and historic churches. Stagnant water is the only product of Kerala and enjoy a pleasant stay in the houseboat cruise or cruise Kettuvellam.

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