The Return

Honey, I'm home!

The experiences were richer than I could have imagined and the journey home was no exception. A couple of days before I left I had another stomach infection, which included vomiting and diarrhea and as I have come to expect from my luck as a traveler, it decided to return with a vengeance for my journey back to England.

At Goa airport I started to feel a little ropey right before my flight and by the time I had made it to Mumbai it was at full force. Whilst waiting for the transfer bus I was going back and forth to the toilet and once on the coach one of the most humiliating things of my life happened. I puked! Luckily I had picked up a sick bag from my flight but even that could not withstand the aggression of my sickness. I managed to miss the bag at one point, making a mess of my hand luggage and then the bag itself gave way, leaking over my clothes and then the coach floor. There was nothing more I could do.

Being alone made it so much worse. When I was ill before, I had a good friend, Asi, looking after me the whole time and my wonderful friends popped in and out to check on me, but this time I was really alone. People turned their heads away from me in disgust, as if it was my fault - some kind of self inflicted sickness.

At the airport terminal I had to clean myself up with one of the little shower heads next to a toilet. Obviously, water went everywhere and the toilet cleaner, when she saw the wet floor, looked absolutely horrified. It was just a bit of water, god knows what she would have done if I had been sick on the floor! She closed those toilets which were closest to where I was sitting and every time I went back she acted as if I was committing some heinous crime. The language barrier didn't help but she didn't even seem to understand my animated hand gestures to indicate what my problem was.

Eventually I found some people to look after me, from my airline, Jet Airways. They took me to a doctor, gave me pills to stop the vomiting and diarrhea and some antibiotics for the stomach infection as well as rehydration salts. All through my plane journey the stewards checked on me and after some nap time (I hadn't slept all the night before due to travelling and had been awake for about 28 hours) and a little plain rice and salad I started to feel a bit more human.

My stomach is still feeling tender but now I am at my new home, in a new town with my wonderful man who I haven't seen for the entire 4 months the little bit of sickness all seems worth it.

I don't think this blog has really done any justice to the experiences I have had in India. I have kept written journals which document things much more vividly and maybe one day I will trawl through and transcribe the best bits to immortalise them online. Just know that for all the good, bad and ugly experiences I wouldn't change a single thing. Every person and every experience that came into my life changed me for the better and taught me lessons I didn't even realise I needed. I guess the key question is would I do it again? The answer is yes, hell yes! It was awesome. Thank you India.

The India Experience

Today is my last day at Kudle Beach, Gokarna.

I'm heading back to Goa tomorrow, back to Vagator. It'll be strange, a lot happened in Goa and to go back and face the memories presents yet another challenge. Luckily I'm brave and a hell of a lot stronger than I imagined I could be so I don't think it will present too many difficulties. If it does, well that's just India.

On my way to Kudle beach 10 days ago I met a retired man called Paul who was from the same county as me in England. He was traveling alone and was heading to Goa to beach hop for a few weeks. We talked a lot about India and he said something that rang so perfectly true to me. India isn't supposed to be all great, all good, all wonderful and nor is it supposed to be completely the opposite. India isn't a holiday, it's an experience. You have to take the rough with the smooth and the bitter with the sweet. People and culture are so completely different and in spite of it's attempts in some places to become more Westernised, the mythos of the culture runs so deep that you only have to scratch the surface to realise that India is no where near as adapted to Western culture as it would like to be. The funny thing is that many people from India don't realise the beauty of what they have here; the simple life, the family life, the religious life. Of course Western culture is attractive to India, with all it's apparent riches but this is only money. It's the simple beauty of India that us Westerners come to seek. The grass is always greener.

Paul, incidentally, got very excited about what I was saying about Kudle Beach and how gorgeous Gokarna is and ditched his idea to go to Goa and came with me instead. His spur of the moment change was inspirational. Just the day before I'd been wanting to do the same thing but couldn't find the balls (could have been something to do with being a female - not just the ball thing, but the would I be safe? thing).

With Paul's words and actions I'm heading back to Goa strong and inspired. His words also offered me comfort, because no matter whether I feel happy, sad, content or completely pissed off it's all part of India and it's something that I will embrace and not be made to feel bad about. India is one hell of a learning experience and I won't beat myself up for feeling bad sometimes, nor will I let anyone else do the beating!

So, farewell Kudle and all of the wonderful people I have met here. You've been amazing!

A Little Bit Better

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments following my last blog. I felt low but strangely, as soon as it had been posted, a huge weight already felt lifted from me. It's good to rant on the odd occasion and it's good to share the pain. It makes things clearer I suppose and I certainly have clarity on it all now. I'm strong and happy once again.

Since the last blog I have found myself (once again) at Kudle Beach, near Gokarna village. I'm hooked on this place; The beach is a beautiful, crescent moon shape and is cut off by two large hills either side which are covered in greenery and offer peace from the outside world. It has a slow pace of life, giving me plenty of time to read books, brush up on my philosophy and figure out what I want to do with my life.

As far as what I want to do with my life goes, a seed has been planted and I'm excited to see it blossom when I come home. For now I'm enjoying new and old friends, my hammock, lots of books, the sun and the food. I have exactly 3 weeks until I leave this country and trust me, I am making the most of it.

P.S. Look at the little bag I was given! It was left behind at my guest house and someone gave it to me, as I'm the only vegan around. It's my first piece of vegan merchandise after almost 2 years of being one!


Hello Darkness...

I think there is something deeply flawed in my personality, something that people just don't like.

Now I know that you can't get on with everyone all the time but I'm really beginning to feel like I have a serious problem. At my job in England some people disliked me so intensely that they made my working life miserable. As soon as I arrived in India I started pissing people off left right and centre because of my values, I lost friends and one particular person I had only ever had one conversation with started acting like I didn't exist. Now, on my travels around South India, it turns out the whole group of people I was with, apart from one, didn't really like me.

I tried so hard to be upbeat, positive, proactive and fun but I could always feel other people's silent, negative opinions of me shaving layers off my personality until all I could think of and talk of was going back home to be with the people I know love me. I felt non-existent, voiceless and now I'm alone I just feel hopeless. All I really want is to connect with people but the more this keeps happening the less confidence I have.

This whole experience in India was supposed to make me but right now I feel like it's breaking me.