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The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India
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The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India [Kindle Edition]

Erin Reese
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Erin Reese is a one-of-a-kind travel writer—a spiritual seeker and solo backpacker who dropped out of a successful career in corporate America, hit the road, and never looked back.


Packed with plenty of spicy curry, cows, and comedy, Bindi Girl takes us on one heck of a wild ride across India. From Dharamsala and the Dalai Lama to ashrams, yoga schools, and meditation melodramas, Bindi educates and entertains as she goes. We discover the Hindu deities, the tourist trap mafia, and the beach havens of the hippie trail. From “Guru Disney” to the holy hell of Varanasi, Bindi’s got us clamoring for more masala chai all the way.

When Bindi meets an attractive young stranger who is more than her mental and physical match, her fiery spirit is put to the test. He whisks her off to the furthest reaches of India—the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. There, in an isolated jungle, they attempt to live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy. Will it be the Garden of Eden or end up a natural disaster? Among the wild beauty and danger of the islands and the kooky madness of “typical India,” Reese takes us deep into the heart of a country and her very self.

Bindi Girl is a gift to the traveler, the spiritual seeker, and the armchair tourist—anyone yearning for honest inspiration and a real kick to get out and truly live!


“Lovely, lyrical, gentle, and informative. It made my world bigger.”
~ James Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide and editor of Essential Sufism

“Erin Reese ‘gets’ the spirit of India. In reading her adventures, I could almost hear the crowds and smell the curry. But more than that, I felt blessed by the soulfulness of half-a-dozen millennia. Erin was born to be in India — and to write this book.”
~ Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life and Shelter for the Spirit

“‘Milk-coming-out-of-your-nose’ hilarious at times, and heartrending naked revelation at others, Reese takes us along on her unsentimental spiritual journey through India as she fearlessly follows her heart through worlds few travelers experience. Bindi Girl is a must-read for anyone who yearns to travel within and without, and who is not afraid to be transformed in the process.”
~ Pamela Lund, author of Massively Networked

“Erin goes places, physically and metaphorically, few travelers dare to go. Her stories amuse, outrage, inspire and provoke. This isn’t the tale of someone who received a book advance jetting off business class for a few weeks in an ashram. This is third class train, steerage class ship, with a dash of indulgence thrown in. Erin is a gifted, special writer, and she’s the real deal as a traveler.”
~ Lynn Braz, editor and travel writer featured in The Dallas Morning News

“It’s like Eat, Pray, Love — with teeth.”
~ Jessica Shepherd, author of A Love Alchemist’s Notebook

“Reese reports on an India few outsiders get to witness — not the Goa parties or tourist sites or political turmoil, no. Instead she dives into the throbbing spiritual centre of India and tries to place her California soul amongst the gurus, mystics and visionaries that remain a constant of Indian religion. Yet Reese is no New Age tourist full of cosmic waffle. Her writing is both beautifully descriptive and very funny. She captures the sweaty heat of India, its madness and charm. Her own spiritual quest mixes with her lusts and frustrations to create a new kind of travel writing. If I ever return to India it will be with Bindi Girl as my guide.”
~ Garth Cartwright, author of Princes Amongst Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians and More Miles than Money: Journeys through American Music

“Reese’s nitty-gritty India travelogue shows an intense, all-or-nothing commitment to a lifelong spiritual path. This memoir shows vulnerability, respect, and gumption. A must-read for any would-be traveler. ‘Jai Ma!’”
~ Alicia Dattner, comedian, Eat, Pray, Laugh!

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Editorial Reviews


"Something kicky, fun and a bit random" - The New York Times (India Ink, March 22, 2012)

About the Author

Erin Reese is a one-of-a-kind explorer. Her articles on Kolkata, Varanasi, Malaysia and Taipei have been featured in Global Traveler magazine. Living a nomadic life between continents, Erin is working on her next book, detailing her enlightening encounters with spiritual masters in India. For travel articles, spiritual inspiration, and updates, visit

Product Details

  • File Size: 1849 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Travel and Soul Media; Third edition (January 5, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SBP6X8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,017 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Immersion March 25, 2011
By Wendie
Format:Kindle Edition
Bindi Girl is quite a trip for the senses, and what fun it is to tag along with Erin Reese as she explores the Subcontinent with little more than a backpack and a flare for adventure. Friendships are forged and romances realized on this journey of self-discovery. We learn what it takes to stay perfectly still for hours at a time, motivate those who won't be moved, survive sand fleas and tummy troubles, find joy in the faces of children and peace in the middle of a traffic jam. All the while, with Erin as guide, India reveals its many facets, twists and turns. To have kept her sense of humor and sanity through all the ups and downs is a miracle in itself, but Erin doesn't just maintain her equilibrium throughout the story, she pushes the boundaries, making us believe that her quest to discover her own spirituality is one we all should experience for ourselves. Bravo, Erin!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Eat, Pray, Love... Bindi Girl is the Real Deal. December 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Respectfully, if you want a real tale of travels in India, forget Eat, Pray, Love. The Adventures of Bindi Girl is the real thing.

Reese's nitty-gritty India travelogue shows an intense, all-or-nothing commitment to a lifelong spiritual path. At times tempting the reader to dive into Ma India for oneself, at times letting us live vicariously through the filth while keeping our own paws clean, this memoir shows vulnerability, respect, and gumption.

Erin Reese travels with a sense of humor and a sense of metaphor. And a sense that there is deep mystery `neath the maya, the illusion of this material world. A must-read for any would-be traveler. `Jai Ma!'

~ Alicia Dattner

(Comedian, creator of the India travelogue show, "Eat, Pray, Laugh!")
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No meat and potatoes February 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this book in the hopes that the author would reveal some great insights or truths about India, travel or life. I found it to be a rather pointless account of the author's experiences in India wandering from beach to ashram to city in an attempt to, well, I don't know what really.

I really enjoy travel accounts, as well as stories of personal insight and growth, but the retelling of this whole 'journey' just didn't impress me much. Even free, I have a hard time recommending it.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India December 20, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This girl goes where thousands have gone before and brings nothing new to it. She follows the path thousands half hippies have gone before in India. No insightful thoughts, follows the well worn path to yoga retreats, spiritual centers and hippie beaches. Learns little of the people,foods and culture, confronts class prejudice, well actually never confronts it, just passes along.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible writing! Really! Truly! January 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Read the first ten pages! Too many exclamation points! Really, I mean it! I was breathless, and not in the good way! Get an editor!

I don't want to detract from the content, and I'm passionately interested in India. But the content isn't enough; you have to have form and style as well. Give this a pass, and read "The Age of Kali" by William Dalrymple.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too New Agey August 18, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the glowing reviews but was disappointed. Erin Reese seems like a lovely person and a sincere spiritual seeker but, as she describes herself in the book, she is a "whole lot of San Francisco woo woo." If this is not your thing you may quickly grow weary of the gushing prose and New Ageyness. You can tell it is a self-published book; it could really have benefited from an editor.

Despite the length of the book it felt superficial; I never really felt like I came away with new insights about India. For a well-written Indian travel memoir with a lot of depth written by a woman I highly recommend Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt story of a genuine experience August 20, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
(my review below is taken from my congratulatory email to the author, Erin Reese)

Hi, Erin/Sapna ('dream' - I like that) ~

I just finished reading your book today and enjoyed it immensely; it struck a very empathetic chord within me, from my own sojourn through India in 2009. Your writing style is delightful, and I found myself chewing over many of your adorable, awesome, astute alliterations... ~

Trying to describe it all to folks back home usually left me speechless too, mouth hanging open and wanting to say "a-re wah..." with a hand held up backwards, Indian-style, when something is truly wonderful. I had a brief 3-day stop in Mumbai when on a student ship many years ago, and the 'fragrance' and feel of the city never left me; I had to return to India. It took a long time!

The best and most concise statement about India I recall is: "Whatever you can say about India, the opposite is also true" -- which I think you chronicled so vividly in your blogs/chapters.

'Meri dil bahut bharati hai' ('my heart is very Indian') - as is yours. Even with the drawbacks, my heart still yearns to return, as you do, to Mata Ganga -- to the silky, warm water at Rishikesh pujas -- and most especially, surprising Calcutta! I also found it so hard to leave that city.

I wasn't backpacking, as you were, but still budget-traveling; I also journeyed solo, for about two months, plans also changing as I went -- but I didn't meet a hunky "Jan," as you did, dang it! I really enjoyed the romantic adventures you chronicled with "Mr. Right Now" on those idyllic beaches and islands (well, except for the sand fleas...). ~

There should be a support group like A.A. -- only maybe I.I., Intransigent Indophiles? <grin>. Always keep India in your heart ~ and thank you for your beautiful book; I look forward to your next one!

Your sister in Saraswati
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intrepid traveler
India calls to Erin. Her love of this country shines through on every page. She is a much more intrepid traveler then I am, and I enjoyed sharing her journey with her. Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Thrush, writer
4.0 out of 5 stars REAL India travel
Adventures of a Bindi Girl is a REAL tale of traveling in India. I have to say that after reading about all the trials she goes through, I would skip the 'trek' through India and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by frugalFL
2.0 out of 5 stars Personal travelogue
This personal travelogue does not bring as much to the table as I was hoping for. But I do think there is some merit to the stories and experiences. Read more
Published 2 months ago by D.S.
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
dull and pretentious
Published 4 months ago by Sue
3.0 out of 5 stars Bindi and Eastern Religions
Eastern religions are of no interest to me and she writes of her devotion to some of them. I finished the book, but not read it again.
Published 4 months ago by Rosalie
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh My Ganesha!!!
I could not put this book down! I am not an "ala roughing it" kind of traveler, so I am beyond impressed with how she traveled through this very exotic country. Read more
Published 4 months ago by C. M. Monaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
Having not traveled to India as of yet, this was very insightful, funny, and inspiring. I would read from Erin again. Thank you for making it a freebie when I found it!
Published 9 months ago by Kelly LaPergola
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting story but the narrator was a bit of a flake.
Published 11 months ago by Kathy Clark
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is the depth?
I fail to see the depth to which the title refers.The story starts off enthusiastically enough, but then I found myself wondering how did she get there, how did she know that, what... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jean4
5.0 out of 5 stars India travel
A fun look at the adventures of an American woman's travels in India since 2000.
Published 11 months ago by Terenzu 4 America
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More About the Author

Erin Reese is a one-of-a-kind explorer.

A self-described "travel and soul writer," Erin is the author of the immensely popular spiritual-travel blog, Bindi Girl, which appeared online from 2002-2010. Her work has appeared in the business travel magazine, Global Traveler, featuring articles on Varanasi, Kolkata, Malaysia, and Taipei. Erin is also a certified yoga instructor, astrologer, and intuitive consultant for clients around the world.

Erin currently divides her time between India, Europe, and the U.S. She is working on the sequel to Bindi Girl. Sign up for news, articles, and travel updates at her website,

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