Even in her teens, Julie Price had a fascination with India, whether it was cotton fabrics discovered in a shop downtown Winnipeg or yoga classes in the local community centre. That interest grew stronger in her 20s with her first adventure to India, complete with bicycle and the idea to cycle around "the whole country." Although unsuccessful in getting that far on the bicycle, she learned many valuable lessons about the culture, religion and how at home she felt in such a different place. She fell hook, line and sinker for the beauty, contrasts and complexities of India. Returning home to Canada, Julie worked at an Indian restaurant, started to learn Hindi language and contemplated a budding collection of saris.
It was many years before Julie returned to India but when she did, the next adventure spanned several months and took her around a good part of the country. She soaked up the culture, religions, puri bhaji at roadside stops, spent time with all manner of folk and travelled in trains, buses, horse cart and by foot. The experiences were rich, beautiful, frustrating, hilarious and everything in between. Returning to Canada was depressing and empty. Julie vowed to find a way to spend time in India as often as she could.
In the meantime, the sari collection grew, she read every Indian author she could find, sang through Bollywood movies and discovered the sublime and powerful classical Indian dance form called Bharatanatyam. Julie threw herself into years of training with passion, starting classes with the larger than life whirlwind Dr. Sydney Price-Sparling who inspired, cajoled and mentored her, eventually graduating under the tutelage of Canada's gem, Bharatanatyam guru Jai Govinda and danced in productions and festivals such as Folklorama in Winnipeg.
It was around this time that Julie realized she could share her love of India with others by creating group tours. For a decade, every year, Julie as Kajal India Tours designed off-the-beaten-track experiences for 10 of her new best friends, to either Kerala or Rajasthan state, discovering new places and people as well as enjoying connections with old and dear friends. Win-win situations were created, which are the kinds she likes best. Julie went on to spearhead volunteer paediatric dental clinics with the Kalimpong Project in India's northwestern region, exploring yet another corner and learning about local tribal Lepcha communities and Tibetan Buddhism.
Although no longer actively tour-guiding, Julie continues a warm connection with her fantastic contacts, designing custom itineraries for individuals and yoga retreat groups, as well as visiting the country whenever possible. Online classes have been a great solution for many of her beloved friends who are feeling the effects of the pandemic-induced lack of tourism, so Julie offers those while travel is restrained.
After more than 30 years of travel to India, Julie still feels the magic and sees the beauty in this confounding, intense, incredible country. In fact, her love affair deepens like a long relationship refined with age. In that spirit, Julie with Kajal India Tours hopes to continue bringing cultures and people together for many years to come.