Early 2019: India, California, Hawaii
Updated: Apr 12
Early 2019, India
My light little travel scrabble sits there, waiting to see if it can fit into my hand luggage, the only thing going to India with me. Nothing virtuous here, I'm flying low-cost airlines, with zero luggage allowance, and as always I will buy all new clothes and a carry bag when there.
India; the shopaphobic's ultimate cure.
Leaving in just a few hours. And still the scrabble waits patiently.
Ah, India, where queuing is a bit of a bloodsport that they even manage to muster energy for at 3 am. I can play too.
Goa, Goa, going. Off to Delhi at dawn tomorrow. It's been way too short a time here, but the adventure continues.
Almost to Jaisalmer, our wonderful group gamely survived the night on an Indian train.
How seamlessly we move from India simple to the high life... and loving it all. Staggeringly privileged us.
100% Vegetarian Radisson. India.
The Rajasthan tour has been wondrous, and it seems we'll be doing this again, with some fine-tunings. The team is great, and knowing we’ll be back again in India is always balm for the soul.
A special thanks to Vishal, travel agent/guide extraordinaire, ever steady, ever kind.
The Marigold Bus Through Rajasthan... we truly did have the bestest of times.
Claiming bragging rights; Jean and I waited for years to do these workshops together, and they are more fun and fruitful than we could ever have imagined, (and we are both very good imaginers).
Moscow, next brief stop... then California for a glorious month of friends and hikes.
Running between the plane and the bus, in sandals, in 7 degrees below freezing Moscow was enough winter to do me for the year.
Just landed in LAX... much more acceptable weather.
Sleepless in California, again. Contentedly so.
Back from 3 weeks in India with a delightful group of people, most of whom were thrust, (voluntarily but nonetheless it was challenging at times), into a world they had only ever imagined before.
"Stepping out of our comfort zone”, for me personally, is the place where memory become the most indelibly stamped. There are those countless times in life that end up as vague memory, and then there are those that remain forever luminous. I may be just a little addicted to the latter.
Because of my background, nature, and who knows what other factors, when given the choice, I will always choose the unknown experience over certain comfort. Not a virtue, just a fact, but when running groups it is a constant “on the tippy-toes dance” to juggle these 2 things while being responsible for others with completely different needs, expectations, and comfort zones than your own. And occasionally you drop a ball... and then you realise how kind and forgiving most humanoids are.
The added privilege of sharing the journey with others makes for an even bigger experience, (in every which way). The alchemy of throwing together a group of people in such a place makes for the most wonderful connections, friendships, and many hilarious moments. This group was especially delightful, and all of our very particular quirks were much appreciated by one another.
Then stepping out of the unknown and back into the predictably comfortable, knowing that there are some guaranteed weeks of gentler living ahead, (thank you, Carolyn), is equally divine. It's also the perfect environment for brewing plans to step back out into that unpredictable breach again.
After one of these journeys I am always higher on life; more energised, more hopeful, and far more at one with the world. This cup currently brims to over-flowing with ideas.
Discovering seeds of possibility and inspiration in the muck of adversity. It sometimes takes a while, but they are always there and waiting for the right time to sprout.
Staying with my fellow Aquarian friend, and was amused, but not particularly surprised, to find a cookbook in the fridge this morning. Viva la Quirkiness.
FINALLY, I have my own “pussy hat”, wherever I go it goes.
While the cat's away the mice are as busy, attentive and kind as they always are. Our latest review.
“This place is so beautiful! The houses, gardens, pathways, flowers everywhere. My little house opened to the jungle... I fell asleep to jungle noices and woke up with roosters. It is surrounded by wild so there are gekkos around, lizards, so many incredible butterflies and lots of birds. It was also very quiet besides all the nature sounds. The pool was super refreshing and was always clean, the fruits are amazing, the people working here are so welcoming and kind. I arrived in the middle of the night, and you were so kind to find a driver to pick me up and take me to my little house. I wanted some time to myself, far away from big crowds and traffic, surrounded by nature, and it was exactly what I needed. Thank you!!”
A big hurrah for kind, nature-appreciating guests.
A friend a day keeps your heart full. Sometimes it really is that simple.
How wonderful to be the age when you no longer give a hoot.
Hmmm, it looks suspiciously like there is a little star-gazing going on in Bernie's camp. From his announcement timing, there could well be an astrologer squirrelled away there, somewhere. Either that or the planets themselves are rooting for him with quiet sleights of something.
In my accountant’s waiting room, and I realise I might be his worst 1st appointment of the day nightmare; a woman in a pussy hat clutching a cardboard box covered in suns and moons brimming with pieces of paper... with her hand already in the candy jar at 9 am.
You know you are loved and seen with something as simple as your friend cutting the eggplant into stars and moons just because she knows it will make you smile. I love you back countless times over, Karen Langley Stephen. Young ones, the greatest loves of your life are most likely going to be your FRIENDS. Cherish them.
Flying from California to Kona tomorrow to see my friend (yeah!). Her only request is that I bring her coffee, which can't help but evoke that old Geordie metaphor. Apparently it makes perfect sense, as decaf beans are either illegal or scorned upon there, because they cannot be found for love, money... or anything else.
About to land on the tropical paradise of Hawaii for 3 weeks before going to yet another for 4 months (Bali). It seems my life is getting a tad repetitive. (I am of course joking...).
A sociopath is a sociopath is a sociopath... unless they are in fact a psychopath. We need to stop being naive, surprised, or hopeful that their behaviour will improve. It can't and won't.
The (assumed to be) largest koa tree on Kona, approximately 400 years old, and named Kekoa, the warrior of its species. Incredible hike with local conservationists. Heroes protecting and nurturing for the future.
Watching whales breaching and spouting, all from the patio. Hope renewed.
Over the years I’ve become one of those people who believes that cards (birthday, Xmas, whatever) are a waste of time and trees etc.etc. Watching my dear friend whose memory is fading get renewed pleasure daily (and sometimes even hourly) from the written words and thoughts of his loved ones has shown me how short and narrow-minded that stance is. I have learned something really important.
Last night in Kona, Maui bound tomorrow. Farewells with newest vice in hand; Lilikoi Margaritas. Something splendid to do with our over-abundance of passionfruit/markisa/lilikoi in Bali.
First time ever flying over a rainbow (that I know of).
I just had the most wonderful whale-watching day of my life, (and I have seen them up close in many different countries before). New friends, Gordon and Doris, took me out in their dinghy and for hours humpbacks swam all around and even right up to us - fluking and spouting. There were moms, babies of all sizes, consorts and challengers, and I also gained a full education on the social order and habits of these miraculous creatures from my lovely sea-faring hosts. Then when it already qualified as the most perfect whale of a time ever, (how could I resist such obvious corniness?), as we were heading back to shore, 50 feet in front of us, (in 75 foot deep water), a 40 ton whale came fully out of the sea and breached right before our eyes. It was just as heart-stoppingly magnificent as coming eye to eye with a leopard in the wild.
Thank you Maui - and the chain of friends and "chance" that led to the gift of this experience. Yet another reminder to always expect to be amazed.
And now for something completely different, Waikiki beach, Honolulu. Off to explore the rest of Oahu today.