I really was not sure what to expect from my trip to India. All I was certain of from the get go though, was that I was excited, extremely grateful, humbled, calm and ready; ready for a new adventure in a place different from anything I thought I knew. From keeping my heart and mind open, to managing the nervous giddiness that never goes away during IB workshops and from purposely creating this grateful space all around me, I knew no matter what happened, I would be completely present for every moment, for every person I might meet, for all the food I intended to taste; I was sure to let myself be wowed by a place again.
And traveling , well, it is truly the best educator.
This trip — from Coimbatore, all the way up to Kodai and the Palani Murugan Temple — debunked, dismantled and demystified everything I thought I would taste, smell, see, feel and hear in South India. I didn’t take anything for granted — not the perfect shot, the awesome morning light, the last cold swig of Kingfisher, the last bite of Dosa, the biggest smile of my new friends, the many cultural Aha moments, my luck with my awesome IB workshop leader partners, seeing students of different races, ages and ethnicities lie in the sun while texting a friend during their break or the perfect weather. This is the first of a three part I.heart.India post series. Thanks for passing by.
We, my workshop leader partner, Stu and I, didn’t really stay in Coimbatore long en route to Kodaikanal. (Actually, the real first leg was my 9 hour layover in Singapore, but that’s for another, completely different post. Later.) We arrived at almost midnight (2am Manila time) and passed out from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Our really nice driver came to pick us up from the tiny airport, we checked in our hotel rooms and called it a night.
The next day, we took a short stroll to any ATM we could find and here’s what else we found and what found us. It was a pretty quiet morning and we stuck out like sore thumbs. I knew I stared at the different and same things I saw. I stared as they stared at me. In the end, I feel in love with all the doors and curious padlocks I saw and Stu got a haircut.
Soon after brunch, we loaded the vehicle and got ready for a six-hour drive up to Kodaikanal. It was a good time to settle our minds, plan and collaborate a bit more (for our workshop) and just blab. And that we did. It was a no-pressure-road trip between two ADD, India newbies. The bulk of the work we had already done via skype (Stu is an Australian based in Surabaya, Indonesia) weeks before so we had the luxury of looking out our windows, pressing the pause button and taking in what would be our first experience of such an awesome place. Inhale. Exhale.
Next leg…Kodaikanal. 🙂
grateful slice: being wowed by new places, traveling and awesome travel buddies