I have just woken up from an afternoon nap near the poolside of my hotel in Hikkaduwa. The sun trickles in through the leaves of the tree I was sleeping under, and the sound of the crashing waves rents the air with a hypnotic melody. I grab my book, order for a glass of wine and walk barefoot to the beach. The rest of my evening is spent getting to know the resident dogs and chatting with my friends over some more wine and a delicious Sri Lankan dinner.
“Is this all really true? Do the Gods dwell here?”
A constant thought that repeats itself at every bend and turn in your journey through Spiti Valley – maybe I am just dreaming; maybe I need to pinch myself.
Our car pulled into the main road of the village on a chaotic Saturday afternoon, when the tourist hordes were either busy cleaning off lunch plates or moving from one spot to another, browsing among the shawls and dream-catchers hanging from makeshift stalls.
It was almost 11 in the night when our giant coach pulled up in front of an over-crowded Eiffel Tower. Our tour guide hurried us to get off and run. We huffed and puffed, following his blue flag, which was eventually swallowed by the sea of people.
Have you ever really tasted a glass of wine? It’s when you take one sip, swirl it in your mouth, feel its coolness on the tip of your tongue, let your mind sway to its high, and slowly imbibe its flavor.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
~ Randy Komisar
No matter when we decide to travel in our lives, there will be some sort of sacrifice. It’ll either be ditching a fat bank balance when you are young in favour of an impromptu weekend getaway, carving out time with your family to make that holiday happen, or leaving behind job security to take the plunge into travelling full-time.
Hampi is a heady cocktail of mythology, architecture and cosmopolitan vibes. It’s not your typical getaway to lush greenery, snow-capped mountains or white-sand beaches. In fact, Hampi’s terrain is rugged, with boulders strewn around occasional patches of paddy fields and coconut groves.
“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”
As we huffed and puffed our way up a steep hillside, and Pushpa didi darted up like a squirrel on a tree, all I could think of was the courage she possessed that made her change her little world in Munsyari.
I am a planner. I love planning every detail of my life; especially trips. I spend hours poring through travel blogs, listicles and Lonely Planet guides, before I step out with my backpack.
But travel planning for most people can be a daunting task. Where do I begin? Where do I go? What should step one be? And step two? It can get immensely stressful. More so if you’re planning it for two or more people.
It is the last prayer before lunch at the monastery and little Buddhist monks are giggling and fidgeting with their bowls in a hall overflowing with maroon robes. Flatbread and vegetable soup are soon served, even to visitors, and the chatter dies down.