So it’s the day before I fly to India …. I think it’s finally hit me that I’m actually going.
My backpacks more or less packed (laid out on the floor) and I think I have more or less everything I need (and probably a little bit more, for any one that knows me, I rarely pack light but I really have tried this time round… promise!)
In the past I’ve travelled lots with work but it’s always been organised for me and I’ve always had an itinerary to follow, something that I have both loved but also wondered what it might be like to follow my own daily flow. I have actually never travelled on my own or if I have I’ve met someone at the other end who has kindly looked after me! I have a feeling I may be in for quite a shock but I think I’m also ready for that too or perhaps in need of it at the ripe age of 35!
My first initial 2 weeks are following a somewhat more organised schedule that I’m perhaps more used to as I’m staying at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala. I thought it may offer me a chance to settle in to an unknown country whilst also learning some useful techniques to cope with what India has to offer. I’m doing what the ashram call a “yoga vacation”. I think the word “vacation” may offer me a whole new meaning though after taking part in this….my idea of a vacation would be relaxing by a pool with my feet up. At the ashram we’re expected to get up at 5.20am ready for meditation at 6am, before moving into a day of learning the Sivananda yogic philosophy… I’ll let you know how that goes. The last couple of months I’ve been meditating every morning and it’s been one of the things that has hugely changed my perspective on life and supported me to be not only more positive and grateful but more in the now rather that being stuck in the past or the future. This is something I’ve realised I’ve been doing for years unconsciously and I am now realising I have a choice to change that if I put the work in!
I actually can’t wait to have a culture shock (remind me of that when I’m next writing to you from India though). To learn another countries ways and eat their delicious food. I’ve heard from quite a few people that once you’ve been to India it changes you and I just can’t wait for all the experiences that may unfold while I’m there, whilst also holding very few expectations as I have absolutely no idea of what the country may offer.
Any way I thought I’d leave you with some of my useful errrr perhaps useless things that I’ve packed but may live to regret…
*Spork: a spoon/fork/knife apparently your expected to eat with your right hand and wipe (your ass) with your left …. using your left hand for any thing else is not deemed respectful…. so what happens if you’re left handed like me…. Luckily I’m a bit of a dab with using my right hand as my primary school never had any thing for left handers (showing my age)… therefore this might be left out of final packing if I need a cm more space…
*Loose trousers below the knee and tops not showing my shoulders or tummy… so that I feel and look more like a local…. this will surely distract them from my fair hair and blue eyes right . I’ve also packed a head scarf but I must say it doesn’t look very fetching… when needs must!
*Marigolds (yep you heard it right, I’ve got a pair of rubber gloves). I read that as part of the giving and receiving you do an hour of karma yoga every day at the ashram, a form of selfless yoga, which I’m totally down with. Saying that, if I am given the daily job of cleaning toilets or scrubbing the floor, I know it’ll be a much more pleasant experience if I have them on….. you may smile now but who will be smiling when they don’t have on their hands.
*Trekking sandals…. I was very resistant to buying these bad boys as they’re definitely not something I would wear here in the UK….. Saying that they are so comfy and I have a feeling they won’t be leaving my feet much while I’m outside.
*Books…. I have 29 books on my iPad…. I think that’ll do me don’t you! Most have been recommended some are factual or self-development and others are fiction. I used to adore reading but since my MA I’ve found it really challenging to get back into it so I’m going to use the time to enjoy some quiet time for me.
*Travel guide book. They’re all a few years old on the shelves and prob could do with being updated (maybe I could offer, what a fab job that would be) but still I thought it was good to buy one.. just incase I have a meltdown…. it has been known although it’s been a while (last week, my family will vouch for that).
*Mosquito spray: I can’t stand the stuff with “deet” in it, it’s meant to be so horrific for your body but I would also rather not get malaria, dengue fever or any of the other nasty things they can pass on to you and there seem to be quite a lot. So I just bit the bullet and bought the stuff.
*Immodium’s: I think I must have at least 3\4 packs as apparently deli-belly is just something you may have to accept getting when you’re there. Pray, that if I get it I’ll have a toilet close by.
*Diarolytes: they just go hand in hand with the above don’t they. Not one to enjoy taking things like this but if I’m feeling rough then I’d rather just nip it in the bud.
*An old bank card: I thought it might be a good idea in case I get into a sticky situation with some opportunists. Having a fake bank card and some minimal cash in my pocket, I thought may distract thieves from my huge backpack on my back!!! Not sure how that’ll go down but I thought it might be worth a try.
*Yoga bricks, yoga strap and 2 large books. These are for my yoga teacher training and take up the majority of space which has had to MAKE me even more ruthless than I normally would be! My plan is to post these back to the UK when I’m done so I may buy some Indian merchandise to take home with me…. cheeky!
* And finally my latest addition was a present from a dear friend….who managed to source the apparently discontinued juicy tubes by Lancôme. Another friend of ours had given her a top tip that it was great to disguise the smell of cow dung as it has a strong smell…. Now who said I was a novice a backpacker I am TOTALLY SORTED!!!
Any way…. I need to attempt to roll these clothes inTo my back pack…. wish me luck and I’ll be in touch when I hit Indian soil hopefully.