Travel a little and see more…

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

So your planning a trip to India…you’ve got a bucket list…the Taj Mahal, Rishikesh, the backwaters of Kerala, Varanasi and so on. Wait…stop! India is a very BIG country. The map may say 100kms between your destination towns but that distance may take you three hours not one because…well…because it’s India. When you travel the roads you share it with buses, cars, bikes, trucks, motorbikes, auto-rickshaws, people walking, chickens, dogs, elephants and a myriad of other unexpected things.

My advice to people when travelling to India is to see a smaller area of India in more detail. If you rush around to all the destinations you want, you can tick them off your list but you will arrive home exhausted. If you stick to one state you may not see everything in India on your bucket list but you will get a much more special and relaxed view. India is a country where a special surprise is always waiting around the corner. I’d much rather a slice of Indian life than a huge slab of rushed temples and famous tourist sights.

Make sure you get to see more than just the big cities and towns. Some of my most precious Indian memories have been found in small villages and back roads. Take your time and you’ll get see a much more authentic and rich side to Indian life.

Getting around India can be a tricky exercise. Trains are fantastic…especially the small trains like the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Buses give you an interesting but sometimes hair-raising experience. Autorickshaws are a quick, cheap and fast way to travel short distances.

However sometimes the places you want to visit are off the beaten track. That is when a driver/taxi is necessary. Even when not travelling to “hard to get to destinations” drivers allow you to travel when you want to. They allow you to feel relaxed as you know you will be greeted at the International airport by someone who is specifically there for you!

For the last 12 years I have been using the same tourist taxi company to travel in India ~ PRINCE TRAVELS. It is run by Rusi and Dinu Billimoria. Their motto “We love to serve” is demonstrated every time you get in the car. All their drivers are careful, safe and courteous. They are based in Bangalore and are experts at making your trip easy and stress-free. They can assist with hotels and all types of destinations. They have become like members of our family and they are the major contributing factor to ALL our perfect trips to India.

Rusi and Dinu can be contacted at:

rusdin@sify.com  or   rusidinu@gmail.com

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” — Fitzhugh Mullan

The iconic Indian bullock cart…

Dr Shyamata Vatsa has very kindly asked me if I would do a post on the Indian bullock cart and it is my pleasure to do so.

If someone asked you what you thought the iconic image of India was…what would you say? Maybe the Taj Mahal or the magnificent Ganges river. It is true that these images do immediately conjure up thoughts of chappatis and fresh lime sodas. However when I think of iconic images that mean India to me the Indian bullock cart always springs to mind. I suppose it is because after all my trips to India it is still a sight that makes me smile.

Bullock carts can be found everywhere ~ not just in the country areas of India but in the big cities too. That is what is so delightful about them. You can be stuck in the thick of city traffic when suddenly a bullock cart carrying a huge load of sugarcane will amble on by. Can you just imagine the havoc that would cause back home? But in India nobody so much as raises an eyebrow at the load or the fact that two bullocks are waiting at the traffic lights.. It is one of India’s amazing qualities that the old can blend so easily with the new.

The bullock cart is a lovely reminder of a slower time when everything didn’t have to be done in a rush. A time when getting somewhere was part of the journey and you had time to enjoy the scenery and life along the way.

“Life isn’t a destination–it’s a journey.We all come upon unexpected curves and turning points,mountaintops and valleys.  Everything that happens to us shapes who we are becoming.  And in the adventure of each day, we discover the best in ourselves”…Anonymous

So next time you are travelling try to enjoy the ride as well as the destination…

This old globe has a tale to tell…

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the  squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall  shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence…

Last week my sister gave me a stunning present ~ this darling old globe. She knows I love to travel and is always on the lookout for cute vintage travel memorabilia for me. She purchased the world globe at a garage sale during Paddington Second Hand Sunday.

The globe has a sad but beautiful history. It once belonged to a Dutch man who brought the globe with him to Australia all the way from Holland. He settled in Paddington and here the globe resided for many years. Towards the end of his life the old man fell upon hard times and was evicted penniless from his Paddington terrace. He then lived for the last few years of his life in a tiny, leaky tent near the cliffs at Bondi beach. His treasured globe kept him company in his tent and still bears the watermarks from his tough last few years there.

I was so touched that the man had kept the globe all those years. A reminder of his old life? A desire to some day travel again? None of us will ever know but I feel honoured that the globe has now come to me. None of us know what our future will hold or if “cool, unlying life will rush in” and change our lives forever. All we can do is live in the moment and cherish the small things that bring us joy…

What I love about Tasmania…

Tasmania is a wonderful place to explore. Here are the reasons I think it should be on your list of places to visit:

  • The people are so friendly and helpful and genuinely want you to have a fantastic stay.
  • The individual, old-fashioned feel which pervades all Tasmania.
  • The divine farm stalls with home-grown and homemade produce.
  • Picking blackberries in the wild.
  • The tiny bays and inlets with bobbing boats tied to the jetty.
  • Wonderful boutiques, quirky shopping and stylish finds.
  • Tasty food ~ especially the fresh oysters and scallop pies.
  • Historic architecture.
  • The amazing not-to-miss Mona.
  • The buzzing cafes and restaurants.
  • Lovely hotels and guesthouses.
  • Picturesque bush walks and sights.

So pack your bags and go, go, go to the apple isle ~ Tasmania…you’ll love it!

A few notes on goats…

I think I can...

I think I can…

I just love the goats in India. They are kooky, confident and they are curious busy bodies who stick their nose in everywhere. Is this a reflection of myself? Oh my…maybe this is why I have the “goat nibbling on the Bollywood movie poster” as my WordPress Gravatar!

Now for some great goat quotes…and more cute goats I met on my last trip.

“The spiritual path is not a solo endeavour. In fact, the very notion of a goat who is trying to free him/herself is a delusion. We are all in it together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realise our interconnectedness.” Tara Brach…

goat

Blue ribbon goat…

“Goats are the ultimate source of success in life.” Dalai Lama…

Nibbling goat...

Nibbling goat…

“The worst vice of a goat is his sincerity.” Oscar Wilde…

"Just minding my own business...for now..."

“Just minding my own business…for now…”

“If your plan is for one year,plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate goats.” Confucius…

Find the Divine in all you do…

Yesterday Padma heard from our beautiful friend Lou who is still at the Sri Puram Ashram in Thirumalaikodi, Tamil Nadu. She had this to say… “Here, life is good as always. We had dinner with Amma last night. Wonderful! Amma … Continue reading

Thought for the day…

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Thought for the day…
“Destiny does not mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore to leave everything to fate and not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on forty different levels. Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.” The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak…