Since last writing done 7 long distance train and bus trips, I can honestly say COURAGE is vital on the Indian buses!!! The drivers are insane!! All journeys involved climbing or descending mountains with hair pin bends, where they think it’s perfectly ok to over take anywhere, even when there is a lorry coming. There was one moment where we actually thought a car had gone over the edge of the mountain. I don’t think it had but it was pretty scary!
One morning getting the bus down the mountain I was hanging on for dear life and sliding around so much that the conductor positioned one of the standing passengers to block me in at the end of my seat, to save me from falling on the floor. How considerate 🙂
So where have I been? After leaving the lovely safe yoga and beach haven of Varkala I went up to Fort Cochin for a night, it’s a lovely colonial part of the city Cochin. It’s a gorgeous place just to hang out in, look at art and sip fresh lime soda’s (or maybe a beer).
Next stop was Munnar which is a hill station surrounded by tea plantations with the back drop of The Western Ghats, it’s stunning. It was suprisingly chilly up there in the evenings so I was pleased they had hot water, blankets and a TV! Yes one evening I actually got tucked up in bed and watched Spiderman, and it was really cosy. Not the kind of thing I expected to be doing in India but it was enjoyable all the same!
I was on my own in Munnar, and it got me thinking about courage and being a woman travelling alone. It’s so different for men. The fear of what may happen to you as a woman can keep you closed off sometimes to situations and opportunities. For example one night in Varkala I had just waved goodnight to some family friends I had met for dinner, they were just passing through on a cycling holiday. They said “stay safe!” and I replied “of course!” then leaving them to go to bed. However when I got to bed I could hear loud music like there was a party going on somewhere and suddenly I just didn’t feel tired. So I went out again to go on the internet for a bit.
Whilst checking my emails the guy who ran the internet cafe told me there were DJs on the beach, a big party going on……just my kind of thing! I had just been saying to some friends in the ashram the day before I really fancied dancing so this seemed like it could be my opportunity. So impulsively I said I would walk down to the beach with this guy, who seemed very harmless, to check out the party. I refused to go on his bike, thinking that was a bit to dangerous, but agreed I would just walk along the path as there were lots of restaurants and shops along the way.
We walked down the busy path towards the next beach and then the restaurants and shops started to fade away. Before I knew it we were walking in darkness through palm trees and my heart started to beat a little faster. What on earth was I doing???!!! Not being safe all at as I had promised the friends I had seen just an hour earlier. I quickened my pace and we eventually got to the party I could see in the distance. Once there I did a quick scout and noticed there were tuk tuks that I could get a lift home on if need be.
I thought to myself, right I need to meet some other people so I am not just on my own with this guy. Poor thing, he was only ever very polite and sweet towards me! I got chatting to an English guy, James, on the table next door and he ended up joining us, later walking back to Varkala too. So it was all ok. He was a lovely guy and hung out with us (Vicky and I) for the next few days whilst we were there.
If I had been a man I wouldn’t have had that fear. The Indian guy who walked me to the party was totally harmless but I still closed myself off to him. However if I hadn’t have thought of courage and gone to the party we wouldn’t have met James who was interesting to chat to about India, he had been everywhere. Every time I have a conversation with someone new here something seems to open up; I learn something new or hear something inspiring, it’s great! There could be so many great situations and people to meet that I might not experience as being fearful as a woman on her own.
I know I have to be sensible, and it’s good to have that bit of fear to keep me safe but I also want to make sure it doesn’t close me off to much. As the title of my blog today is, there is a fine line between being courageous, opening up to situations and getting myself into danger!
Fear in any aspect of life can keep you closed. Fear of travelling alone could have even stopped me from coming on this trip. Luckily it doesn’t scare me but that is just an example. It is so good to do things that scare you, each time your self confidence moves up a notch and you get a fantastic energy from achieving something you didn’t think possible.
I still won’t be wondering off down any dark paths on my own with a man I just met though, don’t worry 🙂
After Munnar I came back to Fort Cochin and met up with Vicky again, very strangely I just had a feeling she would be in this art cafe I like there so I headed in to find her and there she was! She had been due to leave there a few days before but as a result we left the next day together to go to Wayanad National Park together. Wayanad is also in the hills on the boarder of Karnataka and Tamil Nadi, the hair pin bend roads up there really were insane.
The fear on the roads was worth it though, the wild life sanctuary there is amazing. We saw wild elephants, boars, deers, bison, peacocks, monkeys, vultures and even a tigers fresh paw print…..unfortunately not the actual tiger!
Here are a few pics:
After time spent exploring the wildlife sanctuary, caves and waterfalls we packed our bags and headed into Karnataka, where we are right now relaxing on a beautiful beach near the town of Gokarna. It’s heaven for me here; white sand, palm trees, calm sea, yoga and delicious food.
My month of Courage is coming to an end, although I think it will stay with me every now and then whilst in India. Compared to the start of the month though I am feeling much more relaxed about travelling around this huge unknown (to me) country. Rather than worrying about what next I am feeling really present and just enjoying each day to to the full.
Next months intention is TRUST…….I think it is going to be an interesting one!
Thanks to everyone who has messaged me to say they are joining in with the intentions with me! It’s really inspiring!
Lots of love xxx