Posts Tagged ‘India’
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Today is my last day in India.
Tonight I board a plane for South Africa.
In a couple of hours I will set foot on the land I love most beneath my feet and feel the breeze that makes my whole being tingle. I will see my best friends, our hearts re-united in a ceaseless smile, millions of hugs and kisses and three months of magic sunsets, dances under the stars and parties that never have to end!
Just the thought of it makes my every muscle stifle, my shoulders rise to my ears where they meet the corners of my smile in a loud and long WEEEEEEEEEEEEEI!!!!!!
To say that I am excited is an understatement!
But I am a little sad to leave India.
It has been such a beautiful and overwhelming experience and India has exceeded all my expectations.
In fact, before I left all I heard was horror stories and warnings.
But perhaps I leave this country just in time before all the haggling, the rip-offs, the contradictions, the confusion, the dirt and din really got to me.
After our second night bus broke down and the third was a dragged out torture, I did find comfort in the fact that it was the last one in a very long time.
Like a multicolored mandala the last five weeks blend together in a beautiful pattern. The bustle of Delhi, the craziness of Varanasi, the majesty of Taj Mahal, the colours of Kerala, the Shivananda ashram in Trivandrum, the cliffs of Varkala, the houseboat cruise in Allepey, the little stopover in Calicut, Wayanad wild life, shopping in Mysore, falling in love with Hampi, chilling out in Southern Goa and partying it up in Northern Goa.
And of course, the many moments in between.
Where the real journey resides.
It all comes to an end here in Mumbai, or Bombay, by the great Gateway of India.
A gateway I know I will be pass through many times.
I have been sitting here starring at a blank page for ten minutes because frankly, words fall flat to the beauty I’ve witnessed in the last couple of days.
Walking amongst the giant ruins and rocks of Hampi, relics of ancient kingdoms and temples, one is transcended to another realm where time and space might exist, but simply lose its meaning.
Hampi is a piece of heaven on Earth.
It is also a piece of quiet in India.
And after leaving Varkala for Allepey, making a house boat river cruise of the backwaters, catching another train via Cochin to Calicut, surviving the roller coaster bus rides between the hills and mountains of Wayanad, getting off at the wrong bus stop and deciding to impulsively jump on a wild life safari, spotting a wild elephant amongst other impressive animals, getting sick again at an ayuervedic centre and spending three days in Mysore in a rickshaw going from one sari and silk shop to another…(and of course I have tons of photos of all this that I will show you when I have decent Internet speed)
Three days in Hampi has been a beautiful breather.
It has given me an opportunity to reflect and my sore neck to recover and we have met some lovely people that we are traveling onwards with.
Our twelve hour night bus to Goa leaves in three hours. Let’s hope it doesn’t brake down like the last one did after just 20 minutes.
And if for any reason it does, and I for any reason don’t make it to Goa, I know Heaven is a beautiful place.
Oh, the fresh breeze from the sea mending with the warm evening air…
The seducing sound of waves, crashing against the shore beneath the cliff’s edge. The swaying palm trees, the pretty hibiscus plants and the smell of cinnamon, ginger, clove and coconut…
It is not until now I have had a chance to sit down and breath it all in. To be honest, in some parts of India I prefered to hold my breath completely.
The last two weeks have been some of the most hectic in my life.
From arriving New Delhi at the celebration of Diwali, risking our limbs for the sake of firecrackers and traffic, getting up at 5 every morning to see the sunrise, the Taj Mahal, catching flights, trains or chanting the morning prayers in an Ashram…
To trying to sleep in stinky crammed forth class train compartments or on local buses, being the only Westerners, being starred at, hassled and hit on.
India really is as crazy, colourful, stinky, frustrating and beautiful as they say.
I already know I will be back for more. That a week spent between New Delhi, Varanasi and Agra and four weeks travelling the state of Kerala and Goa does not do the country justice. But it’s a start.
I am travelling with Mikaela now, another single traveller whom I met in a few different places in South East Asia. Besides being blond and from the North in Sweden, we share a lot of interests and ideas. In fact, travelling together has surpassed all my expectations and I feel really grateful and glad to be in her company.
Happiness is only real when shared, right?
We were physically and mentally exhausted when we arrived to the charming beachside town Varkala. We instantly knew this was the right place to put our heavy backpacks down for a while, settle into a nice little beach hut, pamper ourselves with some ayurvedic massages and delicious fresh seafood.
And meet other travellers!
As great and interesting as India is, a night spent amongst like-minded Westerners, drinking and laughing does miracles to the soul.
It’s just a shame that the drinks seem to multiply with the time and that the energy of the night before always seem so distant in the morning.
So that you say, miss the apparence of the holy Dalai Lama, in Varkala with just ten minutes!!? (big bummer!)
Oh well, gives me a reason to come back.
I didn’t fall instantly in love with India.
It’s been building up inside of me and growing every day since.
Like all everlasting love-stories.
It is 4.30 in the morning and I should probably have packed or slept a couple of hours…
But there are too many musts in life, so instead I stay up and talk absolute nonsense to my best friend Bibi, until we laugh so hard we almost pee our pants.
I need to take a taxi in two hours for my flight to India and although I have been on the road for 2,5 months, this feels like a completely different chapter to the trip.
This is the nerve-wrecking, soul-stirring, uncomfortable and insightful part.
Everything up to here has been easy.
I have been in Bangkok for two days and again, there are a lot of should and could have´s but when my friends offered me to stay in their luxurious condo with pool, gym and library facilities, my priorities quickly changed.
I got a chance to catch up with myself and the people back home, to lounge around the apartment, listen to Spotify with a coffee in my hand, feeling at home.
Geir is Norwegian and Shannon Thai-American and they live here in Bangkok. The night I arrived they took me out for real nice sushi, drinks with their friends, shots and champagne, and we danced in a sweaty little dance club until early in the morning.
I don´t know how to thank Geir and Shannon enough. I can only promise myself that when the day comes that I have a house, someplace beautiful in the World, my door will remain open to all these people that helped me get there.
Today I met up with Mikaela, that I know from my time on Gili Islands and in Malaysia, and that I will be travelling to India with. We spent 8 hours in Bangkok´s shopping malls today, got pedicure, new shoes and sandals.
I also bought an amazing new camera that I am excited beyond words to start using tomorrow!
So that I can continue to share these beautiful moments and images with you.
(Ok, I actually MUST pack now!)
It’s the first of May and I’ve worked at the Hotel Savoy for exactly one year.
And ironically, exactly one year later I tell them I’m leaving.
Here it is:
I’m going travelling from September to March next year!!!
It’s not all planned and probably never will be, since a real journey always takes its own route, but tickets have been bought and some ideas have begun to grow.
I’ll start off in Indonesia, arriving Ubud, Bali on September 4th, where I’ll look into staying at a yoga retreat for a while, find inner peace and who knows?
Oh and celebrate my 30th birthday on September 15th with a kick-ass party!
From there I’m off to Singapore and hopefully head East to where Malaysia meets Borneo and a friend I met in Mocambique lives with his fiancee. He’s been saying that the island of Sulawesi is a nature’s paradise but that some parts aren’t completely safe, so I’m not sure if that will be on the go or not.
Otherwise I’ll head up Malaysia on to the pleasure of Thailand, and from there through Cambodia and/or Laos to Vietnam. The idea is to take good time in travelling the coast from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi but again, things may have changed by then.
All I know is that I should catch a flight in Hanoi on November 10th for Delhi, India.
Now, India is a chapter in itself and a place I’ve been wanting to go for a long time. But being an insanely large and diverse country I have realized I should focus on one area and with the advice of others, not plan too much.
But because I arrive in Delhi, the Taj Mahal is definitely on the list and probably the classic “Golden Triangle route”. But after not too many days I’ll head south to the beaches of Goa and the backwaters of Kerala.
I’ve gotten very interested in the holistic health approach of Ayuerveda lately and I’ve understood that there are plenty of yoga ashrams and ayuervedic centres in southern India and Sri Lanka, the problem might be to find a genuine, reliable one. I’ve also heard good things about the south east area of Pondicherry. Recommendations are much welcome! I’ll see how things evolve and how much time I have but…
I don’t want to miss my flight from Mumbai to Cape Town.
Arriving to the Mother City on the 18th of December will be nothing less than a heart swell!
I spent the best year of my life there in 2008 and I had a wonderful re-visit in December 2010.
And now, December 2012, during the days that the modern World is assumed to end, I will reunite with my best friend Lorena who lives there with her boyfriend, my room-mate Maria who’s coming in from Oslo, my friend Moa from Stockholm who will be there to study, all my good friends from the past and perhaps even two colleagues from Hotel Savoy! And we will celebrate Christmas and New Years together and if the World ends I will be at a good place.
By then, I will have been away for four months and I have no idea how much money I will have left or what my needs and desires will be, but my hopes are to have enough cash to visit the Masai Mara in Kenya.
But I’d also like to take a round trip through Nambia and Botswana to the Victoria Falls where Zambia and Zimbabwe meets. I won’t plan this yet and if anything I’ll organize it with friends down in Cape Town.
I can stay three months in South Africa on a tourist visa, so why go home sooner? I booked my ticket home to Scandinavia on the 16th of March 2013. Ironcally, that’s almost excactly four years after I left in the first place.
Now, as for Hotel Savoy and Oslo, that chapter isn’t closed yet.
Had you asked me a year ago I would have said I came to Norway to save money. But ask me now and I’ll tell you that I absolutely love my work place and my colleagues and I’m very grateful to have such an inspiring and supportive manager so if all goes well, I can come home and start work again. I know I can still learn a lot from this place and these people.
I can’t say what my thoughts for the future will be at that point, and since life is what happens while you’re busy making plans, I won’t worry too much about that now.
I want to seize this day