There’s no place like home

There’s no Place like Home

There’s no place like home as the saying goes and according to Dorothy she longed for it having followed the yellow brick road to Oz.

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My journey from September through to April had ben a magical trip through wonderful parts of the globe but i never did find the Tin Man, the Lion or the Scarecrow. Everyone i did encounter had a brain, showed courage and most definitely had a heart .

One thing that my trip had provided me with was the confirmation of what i love about the UK and most importantly home in Birmingham. I had forgotten or taken for granted my surroundings before i ventured off. I had stopped wearing my 360 degree lens. My gratitude towards what I have in my life has developed and deepened and i don’t just mean towards materialistic possessions. Im very rich in terms of happiness and love be that from both family members and friends.

I was anxious as you know about returning. I think anyone that has spent time away can relate to that because your family and friends back home have got on with their lives whilst your experiences abroad have been very personal to you.

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I had made the decision to return and my anxiety was also matched with exciting. The flight back from Mumbai to Birmingham via a touch down in Dubai was 12 hours indulging in 3 films but with butterflies – apprehension, eagerness and anticipation all rolled into 1. I couldn’t stomach the inflight food.

On Easter Sundat at around 8.30am i caught the monorail from the airport back to New Street station and i could not believe how fast the past 8 months had gone. It only felt like the day before when i was going the other way to catch my first flight to Bangkok.

Family and friends welcomed me back with texts and whatsapp messages inviting me to do lunch, to grab coffee or a wee catch up. It was overwhelming in a positive way and i begun to make arrangements as i sat on the train shivering with cold as it pulled into Birmingham. Emotional hugs were exchanged with bro and bro-in-law at the station concourse and

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I won’t go on about specific meets as each 1 has been different and private with my friend and i. However there has been similarities in meeting each and everyone of my friends so far. Everyone wants to hug me which was so lovely and to be reminded of how each of us smell is nice. It was interesting that i wasn’t all to go in to too much depth about my travels. that the depth is for me and for me only yet i did get a bit pissed off that i could have shared moe. Friends were quick to tell me about their lives in the 8 months i had been away and as i walked away i figured that travelling is something you do for yourself to hold in your head and doesn’t need to be interrogated. It would be nice to be asked a little more though and i suppose the next time my friends and i hook up more of my journey will be shared. So far seeing mates has been really special and my time away has taught me that my mates are great guys and important to my well-being and happiness.

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I had envisaged that i would continue with time off for at least another month but i found myself being interviewed 6 days back in Birmingham. I have gone and got myself a 3 -day a week education consultant job with a local teaching school and I’m dead excited about it. One thing I’m going to pursue is to see if there can be links with a social enterprise venture i visited in Pushkar, Rajasthan. That would be so cool for both pupils and teachers.

I also met up with Bournville Community Hub to discuss yoga and me teaching Yin. The hub is a birmingham-based community that holds various daily activities. I will be teaching Yin Restorative Yoga there on Friday nights from 2nd June. See you there i hope on the mat at 6.15pm. I’m on the weekly timetable – get in and book – christopher.randall3@icloud.com cus there’s limited space.

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As a result of getting work so quickly it also meant i needed to get transport. I had always said that I was going to purchase a scooter. To JumpThatScooter is exhilarating and you know that is what i live my life by. In this country though with rain, coldness and busy roads i thought at this stage a car would be more suitable, I found myself at garages test driving cars and talking full service history and TAX. I  hadn’t driven for over 8 months so that was weird test driving on UK soil. A car will also help me transport my yoga props such as blocks and bolsters i suppose where a scooter couldn’t. I will have a scooter though at some point i know.

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By the end of week 1 and back in the UK it felt like i had never been away but it was a good feeling. Week 1 was exhausting and i was glad of a nice comfortable bed at Viva. I had also spent that first week being amazed at how much building work had taken place in the city. Talk about quick erections.

My trip had given my mojo a fresh burst of energy and i needed this to face the return as well. Any travellers still out there i sure would say that you need energy to come back home with. Travelling is not a holiday and it is tiring so i am glad i stopped for 10 days to prepare for the return.

You all need cash.I definitely recommend returning with something in the bank. This does take the pressure off you slightly from having to find paid employment immediately – i can’t rely on the bank of dad at my age lol.

Take time too to settle back in to where you left. You have returned differently. Im not saying that i am not the Chris that left in September. I am but obviously the trip has had an impact on me. Things have changed and what will be interesting to see how i adapt and transfer those changes, those things that I’ve experienced to life back home.

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Im hungry to teach yoga and I have met up with my yoga mates discussing future possibilities – bring it on. I think the future looks amazing as well as the now.

I also want to explore mental health and yoga and that is something I’m going to investigate further. Watch this space

I had also said when i was travelling that I’m going to volunteer a weekly yoga session to a local hospice. Can you believe that on Friday as i walk through Brindley Place the hospice is selling flowers and so i am able l to get a contact number – I’m going to be writing an email there once I’ve finished with this blog.

Im now spending time at a very dear friends and I’ve been dog sitting and feeling very energised and ready for my next ventures. Life is fantastic and i have had 10 days of loveliness being back laughing with family members and friends. I have also had and needed time by myself. That space is much needed as returning is overwhelming. You can feel slightly fazed by it all and familiar faces woking at you, all waiting on your every word about the trip. That’s a bit of a mind-fuck.

Staying positive and being positive attracts positivity. and success. Travellers are incredibly upbeat, encouraging and open-minded and fun and I’m going to continue surrounding myself with those kinds of guys. I’m not going anywhere near negativity and moaning and if i get the slightest sniff i will make sure i walk away and jump that scooter.

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Check out my Facebook – Yin and Tonic and also start following if you aren’t yet on my Instagram JumpThatScooter.

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Its only the start …

Time to say goodbye or is it time to say Nameste

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It’s my last day of my travels – its 9.17am here in Mumbai and I’m sat having my final breakfast of my trip.

Before i start lamenting about my travels i just need to let you know what happened yesterday which i found very amusing.

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I had decided from the outset that my final few days of my trip would be spent in luxury so i had booked a swanky hotel near to the airport with a pool. It had to have a pool as i knew Mumbai would be hot and sweaty and i would need some respite from the heat in the afternoon. I had written to the hotel in advance requesting a good room and i was escorted to a most delightful suite with a view of the city on my arrival with my smelly dirty rucksack being carried for me. The sun was going down by the time i reached the pool but i managed a few lengths before jumping an Uber and shooting off to Pali Village. This area is very hipster and Bollywood. i ate an amazing meal at a place called Fatty Bao – Korean/indian fusion. Its all about the fusion these days lol. The roads in Mumbai were crazy – talk about NCP but i got back and slept like a baby. Was this due to me being full to bursting or was it the comfy mattress and fresh Egyptian cotton sheets????????? I woke up fresh as a daisy and after my continental breakfast i walked to the pool – agghhhhhhh maintenance taking place. I threw a hissy fit like you don’t know and this was due to expectation and not hope – 1 thing that my travels has taught me is that you can plan your action but you never know the result or outcome and that expectation can lead to disappointment. Anyway regardless of my drama queen moment i was informed i would have to use another hotel pool and when i got there there was no wifi. I went back to my hotel demanding the manager and i left him with 3 hours to decide how he could make me happy as i minced back to the other hotel pool. In fairness the other hotel pool was equally luxurious and i had 3 hours swimming in the pool and i did self-practice of a few yoga postures. On my arrival back at my hotel the manager was waiting for me. He informed me that i had access to the VIP lounge for the rest of my stay which served refreshments and pastries 24 hour and canapés and alcohol from 6.30 – 8.30 at night free. I was also allowed to keep my room until i check out which is not till 8.00pm tonight. I was totally bowled over and delighted. Irrespective of the cost whether it be a 5 quid hostel room or a 100 quid hotel room everyone deserves value for money. But it just shows that you can plan and arrange in our mind how things are going to be but then the inevitable happens – my best parts of my travels have been where there were no plans or plans that where very flexible. The universe decide anyway – my mantra Justbe.

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Anyway back to my last day or is it my first of the next chapter?

As i’ve walked to breakfast I could see the pool is back working – phew so I’m intending to get my arse there later this morning. I don’t fly till 10.20 tonight and the airport is 5 minutes away.

I’ve woken up feeling very strange anticipating i suppose my arrival back to the UK, back to Birmingham, back to family and friends.

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I am reflecting on the past 18 months because it was in October 2015 that the ball started to roll with regards my travelling. It was when i sold my apartment that my travels suddenly started to become real. With then the planning and booking of my trip and the resignation of my job and the buying of a wash its face apartment in Bourneville September 2016 soon arrived and I was making my way from New Street station with my North Face ruck sack on my back. I didn’t envisaged at that stage how many fabulous guys id meet along the way, how much i would be bowled over by other’s generosity and kindness and how much i would laugh my tits off. If i had know that Id have had my gap year sooner.

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My trip has been a very special time and i was thinking what has been the best moment or the best country and the best meal and the best … To be honest I really can’t say. What my travel has confirmed is that it is the people you are with wherever that makes it the best. Not 1 country let me down and every city and village I’ve visited has impacted on me in some shape or form. I know seeing so many UNESCO world heritage sights has been a delight. I have eaten some outrageously exciting delicacies throughout and managed to be ill on the toilet twice so that is good going. I have smiled all the way and the photographs of me laughing sums the whole experience.

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Travelling is a very personal thing and i can assure you that on my return I’m not going to make you sit looking at all my pics and listening to me sharing my travel story – you’ve had my blog to read so i hope that’s been informative and saved you from me raving about my trip when i see you in person.

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I will take this moment though to thank everyone that supported me in my decision to take time out and go off around the world and I’m indebted to you for helping me to JumpThatScooter. Without family and friends you are very poor and i know I’m very rich there. x You guys certainly helped and have helped on the way keeping in touch – see Facebook and whatsapp are great when used effectively.

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Time has gone so so quickly it really has from when i was hanging out in Thailand from week 1 to now in India with 7 other countries in between and over 20 flights and numerous time differences. These countries may be unique but at the end of the day it is One World One Family.

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I have been fortunate with everyone i have met. There have been guys that I know I will see again, there are guys that were for that particular moment, there were guys that just were there but regardless of the length of time we shared i am grateful and blessed. I can’t name everyone but if you are reading this please think of that time you and i had – i am here as i write and I’m smiling and at the same time crying – I do thank you – you know who I’m saying that to xx wow u made an impact on me and it was wonderful – to the next time.

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In a previous blog I had said that Im ready to return back to the UK and that i was feeling fatigued from my travels. Travelling is tiring and you do need to pace yourself and take time out from it.

Im returning not necessarily as a new man but someone who has really started to understand the true meaning of being grateful. Yes I have got 2 yoga certificates, I’m not smoking, i have extended my circle of friends internationally to name but a few things that have happened since September 2016 but most importantly i realise that to have peace of mind you must must let go of expectation and just try to surrender to the now. That is where the magic happens – happiness, joy, contentment, stillness of mind. Breathe.

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Travelling has revived me – I have my mojo back and I’m ready to take back the skills and experiences in to new opportunities back to UK and beyond.. I want to try and transfer these new skills and i want to continue to JumpThatScooter. I have loads of plans and ideas and that is thanks to the people I’ve met and the experiences along the way – the conversations Ive had, the lessons I have learnt, the new skills I now possess, the new mind set.

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I am eager to see my family and my friends, very keen to see my old world with fresh eyes and an invigorated mind, interested in how I’m going to feel to wearing long trousers as I’ve lived in shorts for 8 months. Seriously though I am really excited to be catching that plane tonight.

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I would definitely encourage everyone to JumpThatScooter – do what makes you happy. You can do it. Its exhilarating, its fun , its called living. Travelling has taught me that time really does fly by, that you have to savour the moments and enjoy the now, that you need to live like its your first day of living, acknowledge the beauty that surrounds you, be grateful and see the good in everyone.And Im not saying you all have to go off travelling the world to find that – its there , eyes wide open, hearts open, you will and can find it too. I invite you.

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Im now by the pool laughing and patting myself on the back – i did it and so you can – just remember One World One Family. We are all here to be as 1

I’m going for a dip – shanti shanti shanti all the way I say

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One World One Family

One World One Family – Serenity, Compassion and Surrender

The last 10 days in Agonda was initially to return to a familiar beachside location whereby i would sit and read, reflect and soak up the last remaining weeks of my travelling and just be.

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I caught the 10.15am train from Gokarna to Agonda with butterflies in my stomach and as i was charged my 30 rupees i walked to the platform with slight hesitation. Im no fan of going back. However, this decision to return to Agonda was so right and from the minute i rocked back into town I certainly relaxed and felt sand between my feet everyday and adored listening to waves crashing around me as I swam in the indian waters. Im bordering on the mermaid I’ve swam that much. Some may say beach whale as I’ve eaten so well too. I’d booked my accommodation with a gorgeous Goan family in their homestay where i could sit on the veranda and admire the sea and watch the cows casually walk by – at 500 rupees or a fiver a night i couldn’t complain in the slightest.

Ive also continued to read and that’s been fabulous about my travels as Ive read such a range of genre for example Viv Westwood’s autobiography, The Girl on the Train to Mallala and her horrific tale to White Lies and many many more. Time to read – what a fabulous luxury. I have enjoyed leaving books in places too with the thought other travellers are indulging in the story like i did in some exotic place over a coffee or a beer at a cafe or on a white-sand beach. Over the last 10 days Ive read an amazing book called The Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – a huge 1526 page novel telling the story of four indian families and an insight into how India operates – epic but I accomplished this vast piece of Indian literature. This huge novel was not going on a flight with me as it weighed 2 kgs so i had to finish it before bordering any more low-cost airlines.

I’ve certainly soaked up the sunshine and I have sat applying the suncream as I look at myself in the mirror and i do resemble a local at the moment – mind I have been really luckily with the weather on my 8 months of travel mainly with very little rain throughout. I think it rained in Hoi Chin Minh 1 night and Bangkok a few times. Interesting it did rain the other night in Agonda around 10.00 and suddenly the temperature rose – it is certainly getting ready for monsoon and its getting sticky and humid in the evenings – thankfully the sea breeze helps. The last few days I’ve been anticipating the coolness that I long for in the Uk.

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I have eaten really well over the last 10 days back in Agonda too. If you ever visit you have really gotta visit Fatima’s Corner and their veggie curry options are something else with tandoor baked naan bread. I do believe Ive tasted everything on the menu over the time Ive been in Goa. Another favourite and must-do is Mandala run by a fabulous guy called Mr Masala. He should have his own TV show and him and his staff prepare fresh food that just is incredible. I really have fallen in love with the mushroom curry and chana masala and a baby chai after yoga was just a prerequisite to start the day with a step in your feet.. Mr Masala also has chai masala cooking classes and I will now be returning to the UK able to serve you Chai with a difference – another skill I’m bringing back. The class was yet again a special moment on my travels wth fabulous guys where we were howling and crying with laughter. Happy Days and a unique experience.

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Returning back to Sampoorna was just wonderful too seeing familiar faces, surrounded by warmth and beauty and attending fantastic drop-in yoga daily was just something else. Sampoorna again did not disappoint and it continues to impact on my mind and most importantly my heart and soul. The staff are incredible and I had forgotten how delicious the food was and I was invited to attend the March group graduation meal and a breakfast which i was fortunate to have with Sudhir. He is an incredibly wise sagacious guy who taught me philosophy whilst i was on my yoga teacher training but most importantly he taught me how to just enjoy life unconditionally and unrestricted. He’s coming to the UK soon too – yay you may get to meet him.

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The yogi drop in team who taught sessions in the morning and in the afternoon have been inspirational and i have continued to learn so much about teaching yoga classes with passion, energy and love. The classes have excited me to want to return to the UK and start teaching immediately so I’m so glad i returned and had the opportunity back at Sampoorna. It really is a place where you can be happy free and authentic. I think going back to the Sampoorna family helped me process the 200 hour YTT programme – well-worth every second.

I had said in a previous blog that i didn’t particular feel the need to meet anymore travellers – that going back to Agonda was going to be a time for just me. That i was tired of saying goodbye and getting upset with farewells. NO NO NO – it wasn’t the case. Not that i went looking for companionship or any more friends. On the beach, at Mandala and whilst attending yoga drop-ins I got talking to strangers and that then lead to scooter outings, breakfast and evening meals and yoga together. Suddenly the strangers were no more and had quickly become friends. I would not have changed this for the world and still in my last 10 days of travel i have the chance to connect with fantastic guys from around the globe. It really is One World One Family. Another beauty travelling i guess is that you meet guys and immediately share moments that will stay in your heart and mind for a lifetime.

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Leaving Agonda on the 13th April today is filled with much sadness – its not my final day of travels, although it nearly is, but it is the end of a chapter of 3 months on the south west coast of India. Its the end of somewhere where i have been very happy, where i have laughed so much and where i have come across amazing people from locals living in Agonda to other travellers and other yogis. It holds a special place in my heart.

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The taxi journey of 90 minutes allowed me time to prepare for another flight where it will land in Mumbai – 2 days of city living and I hope poolside.

Im so excited about my return and I’ve my mojo back – Full Power 24 hour. But I’m scared and worried and today Im feeling vey emotional. i guess you could call it the change of life and my oh my my life has changed.

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Yogey Bogey

Im sure somewhere in the world there is a cocktail called Yogey Bogey on the Beach. If there isn’t then I’m taking the copyright from now onwards. It sure has a ring to it just as Sex on the beach does but it would be very different – maybe astral !!!!!! What would that concoction of alcohol be i wonder – thoughts on a postcard – hark at me that’s so yesterday lol – it should be thoughts on messenger or whatsapp hehe

Anyway back in the room

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The flight from Mumbai was just over an hour and I landed in Goa late Saturday afternoon, the sun still strong and the palm-lined roads welcoming. It sure felt like i was at the seaside as the roads were really nothing more than kerb-less flattened sand – not the most comfortable way to be driven even in a car. Either side of the road i caught the odd glimpse of sea and heard the waves as i did the 90 minute journey from Dabolim Airport to Palolem in South Goa.

It was February 11th 2017 and I couldn’t believe that my yoga training was only a few days away. When i was planning my travels way back in 2016 my training seemed miles away and I can’t believe how many miles I’ve travelled, how many planes, trains and automobiles I’ve been on and how many new guys I’ve met since. And here I was about to embark on a very monumental part of my travels. that at some points in my prep only seemed like a dream.

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I had decided that I would spend the weekend chilling on the beach and unwind from my 2-weeks in Rajasthan before embarking on my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training course. All the yoga literature I had been sent kept using the word INTENSE so i was being for-warned I guess with regards what was to come and 2 days being a beach bum was necessary as preparation.

I checked into a hostel but took a private room as I needed the peace and quiet and also i was sharing a room once I was on my course so I needed my space. It was a great hotel 5 minutes from the beach and 2 minutes from an amazing vegan restaurant called Avocado Garden. Unfortunately there was no avocados as it was out of season but i can do smashed avo on toast when i return to the Uk in abundance. There was other delights that caught my attention from the vast and varied veg menu.

My first night was to grab a bite to eat and then hit the pillow – it had been a tiring journey – although only 2 1 hour flights from Udaipur to Goa it had taken 9 hours in total via Mumbai and the transfer wait. I was in need of good wholesome veggie biriani and a mango lassi which i got and that stood me in good stead for an 8 hour snooze. I returned to the restaurant the next day as I’d noticed muesli and coconut yogurt with fresh fruit on the menu and a lavazza coffee machine. It didn’t disappoint.

In the night a handful of frogs, multi-coloured centipedes and a gecko had decide to join me and sleep in my bathroom – they hadn’t touched my toiletries so i was alright and they slept as sound as i had.

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After breakfast i hired a scooter and took off to explore the area following the coastal road to Patnem. I had read about a beach called Silent Beach with dolphins so i took off from Palolem in search of these promised delights. The scooter journey was wonderful as i rode through small villages of brightly-painted bungalows and wasn’t disappointed when i eventually arrived at the beach. It was golden sand with pools of salt-water and rocks and 3 or 4 small chilled thatched-roof cafes playing mellow cafe-del-mar tunes whilst dogs lazed in the mid-day sun. I sat and bathed for a few hours looking out for the dolphins but they didn’t appear but i wasn’t downhearted as i had totally relaxed. On my return to the Palolem I stopped at Karma Cafe, a very shanti cafe selling delicious vegan cakes and pastries. I couldn’t resist the coconut muffin with strawberries.

When i got back to the hostel a guy was lying in 1 of the hammocks playing his guitar, the sun was going down and the candles had been lit around the garden so i hung out on my veranda feeling very blessed.I was joined by a guy from London, originally Melbourne, and we talked about India and our travels.

That evening i returned to Avocado Garden for Sunday dinner and took an early night as the next day i was checking in to Sampoorna Yoga Centre, Agonda.

Sampoorna was a 30-minute tuk tuk ride so i jumped 1 after breakfast and made my way to what was going to be my home for the next 4 weeks.

I arrived to be met by 2 karma yogis who were checking all the newbies in and taking down our details and escorting us to our rooms. It was just like being back at university on day 1 and signing up for freshers week – omg that was over 30 years ago but only seems like yesterday. The yoga centre was set amongst tall palm trees, red sand paths lined with colourful exotic plants and all 4 shalas had amazing views of the sea. The individual huts were painted bright and all had small balconies to sit on and chill whilst burning your incense sticks.

Once registration had been completed, monies owed handed over and passport/ visa details all accounted for I was given the keys to my 2-bed shared hut. I was met by an america gay guy from St Loius who was doing the 300 hour course and was going to be my roomie for 28 days. He had arrived 30 minutes before me so had picked his bed and was already unpacked. He was a practising yoga teacher back in the states and we instantly hit it off. I quickly unpacked and we headed out to the beach for a butchers before more students checked in and we shared our experiences to date, hitting it off immediately.

Agonda is 1 coastal road stretching for about a mile with a variety of restaurants, cafes, clothes stalls, 2 german bakeries, a church, school and 1 ATM. with a golden sand beach. It also has loads of dogs just wandering amidst the skeletal-looking cows. It didn’t take long before you got to know everyone along the stretch of road and the stall-owners were always very cheerful and welcoming.The guys at Mandala Cafe were awesome and they sold the best coconut-milk coffees – a dead cool vibe and very hippie. I really did enjoy dropping in there for a well-earned break from my training – a place of beards, tats and hipsters galore.

My first night at Sampoora was the welcoming dinner and there was over 90 students enrolled – 60 doing the 200 hours and 30 plus doing the 300 hours. It was a real pot pourri of students of all ages and nationalities and out of the 90 odd there were just 7 guys of which 3 of us were gay, 2 straight guys were with their girlfriends and 2 single straight guys. There seemed to be quite a few personal trainers on the course and some very experienced yogis and well-ripped torsos.

That evening we were given the timetable for week 1 which consisted of lectures on anatomy, philosophy and asana practice, work-shops with a focus on alignment and adjustment, meditation and yoga classes which were ashtanga lead and also vinyasa flow. The astanga classes started at 6.30 am and the day ended with a 90-minute vinyasa flow finishing at 7.00pm. The days were intense as the literature had said but we did get a 2-hour break for lunch and certainly the first week we would escape to the beach for a swim and some respite. We also all tended to go to bed early and lights were definitely out by 10.00 that first week. As time went out lights were out much earlier as we all got more tired.

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The first week really did fly by and we seem to learn so much in just 5 days – anatomy was challenging as it was all new terminology and philosophy gave you food for thought for sure. The actual yoga classes were of high quality with a very experienced Mysore trained teacher for ashtanga who was originally from Shrewsbury and a dead-dreamy vinyasa flow teacher from Nottingham who had a fabulous playlist and who certainly was top of her game, taking me on a wonderful journey each class.

What was a godsend was that we did manage to finish by 1.00 on Saturday afternoon and have the whole of Sunday off which was much needed. As time went by you also needed this time to complete the homework and read and revise as there were examinations and practical tests in the final fourth week.

The 4 weeks of training was a real challenge for everyone on the course and these challenges were shared over a cup of chai in the breaks, or whilst filling up your bowl of watermelon at breakfast or just in walking from the Shala to go to the loo. At some point i think almost everyone cried for whatever reason be it through sheer exhaustion, the high emotional rollercoaster of class or from just missing a family member or partner.

My challenges wasn’t from the physical aspect – i really did love the classes of ashtanga and vinyasa flow and i needed the physical excericse. maybe I’m fitter than i give myself credit – i certainly kept up with the 21 year olds on the course. I did find the diet of carbs and rice and chapati quiet hard to stomach after a bit and constipation followed by diarrhoea seemed to be a regular topic of conversation. I did need to escape dinner time towards the end of the course and in the fourth week, seeking different food.

What i did find a challenge was the mental hurdles that had to be addressed whilst living in a commune of 90 plus yogis. 4 weeks of sharing a room firstly was a long time considering I’ve lived alone for a number of years and as great my roomie was , and he was fab, i did miss my space at times. Mind we did take it in turns making a cup of coffee for each other at 5.45 each morning.
Talking, yes talking can you believe that from me, was hard throughout and as time went by. there were times i just didn’t want to converse but to find solitude in the commune was very difficult. In fact i suggested to the owner he create silent areas. I did have to leave the centre to find solitude and hide in a cafe or far up the beach. I took myself off 1 Sunday to just go get some air away from the yogi crowd.
I also found the regimented timings for meals or for taught sessions hard going as on my travels i had done what i want ed when i wanted – i had to get use to the clock again like work and that sure was a challenge.
New learning was tough too and I really had to not judge the delivery of some sessions and i found that i had to remove my assessor hat pretty quickly. i had to accept the student role and not the lecturer role. I guess old habits die hard or do they ever ? Socialising was at times quite interesting as it wasn’t always the case that everyone was going to get along. Avoiding confrontation and removing yourself away from the drama was something i made sure i did and i found solace in the meditation and definitely the yin sessions that i attended.
I didnt realise how difficult i would find sitting the exams – i haven’t sat question tests since my A’levels so pressure there as i wanted to get 100%.
All these challenges had an impact on one’s emotional state of mind too as I totally agree that yoga training is INTENSE. The 3rd Saturday i was ill for 24 hours – sickness and fever and a whole day in bed , and i really think it was as a result of the challenges faced. Illness seemed to hit everyone at some point in the training.
I know that when i booked my course I hadn’t taken into account theses challenges I faced. Im still processing what these challenges have taught me and how this applies to everyday life and how i can transfer this – time will tell I’m sure. Attending a yoga teacher training course is obviously more than just learning how to teach a variety of asanas.

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Regardless of the challenges I met some very interesting yogis from across the globe and who made me smile each day and laugh quite a bit as well – a beauty of the course was the international mix and each yogi had a different story – we all need yoga for different reasons in our lives and i have found my interactions with many of the students illuminating to say the least.

It is interesting how the universe works and 3 days after my course finished a Yin yoga 30 hours Teacher training course began and I had the opportunity to enrol. It really was what was needed both mentally, emotionally and physically and it enabled me to reside in Agonda for a further week. I rented a small hut and so had my own space and each day the course stated at 8.00am – luxury as i got to sleep in. The course was run by a german couple who had a yoga shala called Holy Cow in Agonda. They were very knowledgeable and informative. There were 20 others on the course so I got to meet a new crowd of guys and also learn yet again another yoga skill which I thoroughly enjoyed. The yang and the yin so work and I will definitely be integrating into my own personal practice and hopefully get to share with others in the classes I intend to teach.

Whilst in Agonda I got to meet many of the locals and i really would recommend any one to visit – its a sleepy, laid-back resort with a cool vibe that allows you to unwind. There are a handful of great places to eat such as Zest, Blue Planet, Space Goa, Karma Cafe, Dunhill, Simrose and Mandela Cafe. My favourite though has been Fatima’s Corner – a small eatery selling the best coffee and the most amazing veggie curries and naan bread. They also did Heinz Baked beans on toast for breakfast. Im leaving Agonda heavier than Ive ever been as the food has been that good – Id better stop eating the pastries or less as from today.

Agonda has been very kind to me – i gained 2 new qualifications and I am now trained to teach yoga, i have tasted delicious vegetarian food, I have swam and bathed on beautiful beaches, I have gone and had 2 new tattoos that reflect my time in Goa and also my travels and most importantly I have laughed with and met some very unique special people , really special- as the saying goes One World One Family. iI you are reading this you know who YOU ARE without naming names.

Shanti Shanti all the way and now I continue through India and my next stop Hampi – I’m sure there will be many more challenges. Remember though you mould the world, not the world mould you. Just like yoga – you mould that asana and not the asana mould you.

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Nameste

Yogey Bogey

I’m sure somewhere in the world there is a cocktail called Yogey Bogey on the Beach. If there isn’t then I’m taking the copyright from now onwards. It sure has a ring to it just as Sex on the beach does but it would be very different – maybe astral !!!!!! What would that concoction of alcohol be i wonder – thoughts on a postcard – hark at me that’s so yesterday lol – it should be thoughts on messenger or whatsapp hehe

Anyway back in the room

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The flight from Mumbai was just over an hour and I landed in Goa late Saturday afternoon, the sun still strong and the palm-lined roads welcoming. It sure felt like i was at the seaside as the roads were really nothing more than kerb-less flattened sand – not the most comfortable way to be driven even in a car. Either side of the road i caught the odd glimpse of sea and heard the waves as i did the 90 minute journey from Dabolim Airport to Palolem in South Goa.

It was February 11th 2017 and I couldn’t believe that my yoga training was only a few days away. When i was planning my travels way back in 2016 my training seemed miles away and I can’t believe how many miles I’ve travelled, how many planes, trains and automobiles I’ve been on and how many new guys I’ve met since. And here I was about to embark on a very monumental part of my travels. that at some points in my prep only seemed like a dream.

I had decided that I would spend the weekend chilling on the beach and unwind from my 2-weeks in Rajasthan before embarking on my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training course. All the yoga literature I had been sent kept using the word INTENSE so i was being for-warned I guess with regards what was to come and 2 days being a beach bum was necessary as preparation.

 

I checked into a hostel but took a private room as I needed the peace and quiet and also i was sharing a room once I was on my course so I needed my space. It was a great hotel 5 minutes from the beach and 2 minutes from an amazing vegan restaurant called Avocado Garden. Unfortunately there was no avocados as it was out of season but i can do smashed avo on toast when i return to the Uk in abundance. There was other delights that caught my attention from the vast and varied veg menu.

My first night was to grab a bite to eat and then hit the pillow – it had been a tiring journey – although only 2 1 hour flights from Udaipur to Goa it had taken 9 hours in total via Mumbai and the transfer wait. I was in need of good wholesome veggie biriani and a mango lassi which i got and that stood me in good stead for an 8 hour snooze. I returned to the restaurant the next day as I’d noticed muesli and coconut yogurt with fresh fruit on the menu and a lavazza coffee machine. It didn’t disappoint.

In the night a handful of frogs, multi-coloured centipedes and a gecko had decide to join me and sleep in my bathroom – they hadn’t touched my toiletries so i was alright and they slept as sound as i had.

After breakfast i hired a scooter and took off to explore the area following the coastal road to Patnem. I had read about a beach called Silent Beach with dolphins so i took off from Palolem in search of these promised delights. The scooter journey was wonderful as i rode through small villages of brightly-painted bungalows and wasn’t disappointed when i eventually arrived at the beach. It was golden sand with pools of salt-water and rocks and 3 or 4 small chilled thatched-roof cafes playing mellow cafe-del-mar tunes whilst dogs lazed in the mid-day sun. I sat and bathed for a few hours looking out for the dolphins but they didn’t appear but i wasn’t downhearted as i had totally relaxed. On my return to the Palolem I stopped at Karma Cafe, a very shanti cafe selling delicious vegan cakes and pastries. I couldn’t resist the coconut muffin with strawberries.

When i got back to the hostel a guy was lying in 1 of the hammocks playing his guitar, the sun was going down and the candles had been lit around the garden so i hung out on my veranda feeling very blessed.I was joined by a guy from London, originally Melbourne, and we talked about India and our travels.

That evening i returned to Avocado Garden for Sunday dinner and took an early night as the next day i was checking in to Sampoorna Yoga Centre, Agonda.

Sampoorna was a 30-minute tuk tuk ride so i jumped 1 after breakfast and made my way to what was going to be my home for the next 4 weeks.

I arrived to be met by 2 karma yogis who were checking all the newbies in and taking down our details and escorting us to our rooms. It was just like being back at university on day 1 and signing up for freshers week – omg that was over 30 years ago but only seems like yesterday. The yoga centre was set amongst tall palm trees, red sand paths lined with colourful exotic plants and all 4 shalas had amazing views of the sea. The individual huts were painted bright and all had small balconies to sit on and chill whilst burning your incense sticks.

Once registration had been completed, monies owed handed over and passport/ visa details all accounted for I was given the keys to my 2-bed shared hut. I was met by an america gay guy from St Loius who was doing the 300 hour course and was going to be my roomie for 28 days. He had arrived 30 minutes before me so had picked his bed and was already unpacked. He was a practising yoga teacher back in the states and we instantly hit it off. I quickly unpacked and we headed out to the beach for a butchers before more students checked in and we shared our experiences to date, hitting it off immediately.

Agonda is 1 coastal road stretching for about a mile with a variety of restaurants, cafes, clothes stalls, 2 german bakeries, a church, school and 1 ATM. with a golden sand beach. It also has loads of dogs just wandering amidst the skeletal-looking cows. It didn’t take long before you got to know everyone along the stretch of road and the stall-owners were always very cheerful and welcoming.The guys at Mandala Cafe were awesome and they sold the best coconut-milk coffees – a dead cool vibe and very hippie. I really did enjoy dropping in there for a well-earned break from my training – a place of beards, tats and hipsters galore.

My first night at Sampoora was the welcoming dinner and there was over 90 students enrolled – 60 doing the 200 hours and 30 plus doing the 300 hours. It was a real pot pourri of students of all ages and nationalities and out of the 90 odd there were just 7 guys of which 3 of us were gay, 2 straight guys were with their girlfriends and 2 single straight guys. There seemed to be quite a few personal trainers on the course and some very experienced yogis and well-ripped torsos.

That evening we were given the timetable for week 1 which consisted of lectures on anatomy, philosophy and asana practice, work-shops with a focus on alignment and adjustment, meditation and yoga classes which were ashtanga lead and also vinyasa flow. The astanga classes started at 6.30 am and the day ended with a 90-minute vinyasa flow finishing at 7.00pm. The days were intense as the literature had said but we did get a 2-hour break for lunch and certainly the first week we would escape to the beach for a swim and some respite. We also all tended to go to bed early and lights were definitely out by 10.00 that first week. As time went out lights were out much earlier as we all got more tired.

The first week really did fly by and we seem to learn so much in just 5 days – anatomy was challenging as it was all new terminology and philosophy gave you food for thought for sure. The actual yoga classes were of high quality with a very experienced Mysore trained teacher for ashtanga who was originally from Shrewsbury and a dead-dreamy vinyasa flow teacher from Nottingham who had a fabulous playlist and who certainly was top of her game, taking me on a wonderful journey each class.

What was a godsend was that we did manage to finish by 1.00 on Saturday afternoon and have the whole of Sunday off which was much needed. As time went by you also needed this time to complete the homework and read and revise as there were examinations and practical tests in the final fourth week.

The 4 weeks of training was a real challenge for everyone on the course and these challenges were shared over a cup of chai in the breaks, or whilst filling up your bowl of watermelon at breakfast or just in walking from the Shala to go to the loo. At some point i think almost everyone cried for whatever reason be it through sheer exhaustion, the high emotional rollercoaster of class or from just missing a family member or partner.

My challenges wasn’t from the physical aspect – i really did love the classes of ashtanga and vinyasa flow and i needed the physical excericse. maybe I’m fitter than i give myself credit – i certainly kept up with the 21 year olds on the course. I did find the diet of carbs and rice and chapati quiet hard to stomach after a bit and constipation followed by diarrhoea seemed to be a regular topic of conversation. I did need to escape dinner time towards the end of the course and in the fourth week, seeking different food.

What i did find a challenge was the mental hurdles that had to be addressed whilst living in a commune of 90 plus yogis. 4 weeks of sharing a room firstly was a long time considering I’ve lived alone for a number of years and as great my roomie was , and he was fab, i did miss my space at times. Mind we did take it in turns making a cup of coffee for each other at 5.45 each morning.
Talking, yes talking can you believe that from me, was hard throughout and as time went by. there were times i just didn’t want to converse but to find solitude in the commune was very difficult. In fact i suggested to the owner he create silent areas. I did have to leave the centre to find solitude and hide in a cafe or far up the beach. I took myself off 1 Sunday to just go get some air away from the yogi crowd.
I also found the regimented timings for meals or for taught sessions hard going as on my travels i had done what i want ed when i wanted – i had to get use to the clock again like work and that sure was a challenge.
New learning was tough too and I really had to not judge the delivery of some sessions and i found that i had to remove my assessor hat pretty quickly. i had to accept the student role and not the lecturer role. I guess old habits die hard or do they ever ? Socialising was at times quite interesting as it wasn’t always the case that everyone was going to get along. Avoiding confrontation and removing yourself away from the drama was something i made sure i did and i found solace in the meditation and definitely the yin sessions that i attended.
I didnt realise how difficult i would find sitting the exams – i haven’t sat question tests since my A’levels so pressure there as i wanted to get 100%.
All these challenges had an impact on one’s emotional state of mind too as I totally agree that yoga training is INTENSE. The 3rd Saturday i was ill for 24 hours – sickness and fever and a whole day in bed , and i really think it was as a result of the challenges faced. Illness seemed to hit everyone at some point in the training.
I know that when i booked my course I hadn’t taken into account theses challenges I faced. Im still processing what these challenges have taught me and how this applies to everyday life and how i can transfer this – time will tell I’m sure. Attending a yoga teacher training course is obviously more than just learning how to teach a variety of asanas.

Regardless of the challenges I met some very interesting yogis from across the globe and who made me smile each day and laugh quite a bit as well – a beauty of the course was the international mix and each yogi had a different story – we all need yoga for different reasons in our lives and i have found my interactions with many of the students illuminating to say the least.

It is interesting how the universe works and 3 days after my course finished a Yin yoga 30 hours Teacher training course began and I had the opportunity to enrol. It really was what was needed both mentally, emotionally and physically and it enabled me to reside in Agonda for a further week. I rented a small hut and so had my own space and each day the course stated at 8.00am – luxury as i got to sleep in. The course was run by a german couple who had a yoga shala called Holy Cow in Agonda. They were very knowledgeable and informative. There were 20 others on the course so I got to meet a new crowd of guys and also learn yet again another yoga skill which I thoroughly enjoyed. The yang and the yin so work and I will definitely be integrating into my own personal practice and hopefully get to share with others in the classes I intend to teach.

Whilst in Agonda I got to meet many of the locals and i really would recommend any one to visit – its a sleepy, laid-back resort with a cool vibe that allows you to unwind. There are a handful of great places to eat such as Zest, Blue Planet, Space Goa, Karma Cafe, Dunhill, Simrose and Mandela Cafe. My favourite though has been Fatima’s Corner – a small eatery selling the best coffee and the most amazing veggie curries and naan bread. They also did Heinz Baked beans on toast for breakfast. Im leaving Agonda heavier than Ive ever been as the food has been that good – Id better stop eating the pastries or less as from today.

Agonda has been very kind to me – i gained 2 new qualifications and I am now trained to teach yoga, i have tasted delicious vegetarian food, I have swam and bathed on beautiful beaches, I have gone and had 2 new tattoos that reflect my time in Goa and also my travels and most importantly I have laughed with and met some very unique special people , really special- as the saying goes One World One Family. iI you are reading this you know who YOU ARE without naming names.

Shanti Shanti all the way and now I continue through India and my next stop Hampi – I’m sure there will be many more challenges. Remember though you mould the world, not the world mould you. Just like yoga – you mould that asana and not the asana mould you

Nameste

The Girl on the Train

The train journey from Delhi to Jaipur was interesting to say the least. The seats were actual beds and should you desire you could do the whole 5 hours lying horizontal on a pull down bunk bed with a given duvet and pillow. It was only late morning so there was no way i was going back to bed – there was too much to see from the window of my train – I decided i needed to sit up straight, observe and absorb the changing landscape.

IMG_0247.JPGThe train was certainly not an express but it was air-conditioned and it moved at a steady pace enough for me to see life outside working its way through a Saturday. It stopped several times and on the whole male passengers stepped on board in groups as if they were embarking on a business trip. For all the a/c it did get pretty stuffy and it definitely wasn’t odour free – you get my drift when shoes are removed and socked feet exposed – pong

I pulled into Jaipur as the sun was setting and it was dusk. I was bombarded by auto-rickshaw drivers requesting my presence in their prized vehicle. I really couldn’t be bothered to haggle over the cost however i later found out i did pay £2 too much – my own fault – i should have agreed a negotiated price from the start.

IMG_0255.jpgMy hostel – Zostel a brand of hostel throughout India – was alive and buzzing with activity. Guys checking in, the open-planned common room filled with backpackers lounging on bean bags all using their phones, chilout music subtly oozing around the corridors. I was pleasantly excited to see how hipster the place was and the art work on the walls was dead cool. I had opted for a 4-bed dorm bottom bunk – I’m really not keen on being top – I’m too scared to fall out in the night and i can’t navigate elegantly down the ladder. I was met in my dorm by an Argentina girl and i guy from Prague – both chatty and eager to share their stories and listen to mine. At this stage i was in need of food so i ventured out on to the streets of Jupiar alone and found a great local restaurant. En route i passed cows, stray dogs in packs and many a local requesting rupees. I played safe in the restaurant and opted for a veggie Biriani and Nann bread – it was like being back in Fallowfield on the curry mile.

I didn’t venture further that night and returned to my hostel straight after eating – the journey exhausted me and i was full to bursting after my delightful meal and in need of sleep. The hostel operated a no-noise policy after 10 so it was peaceful when i returned. My 2 bed mates were fast asleep and i quickly joined them – sleeping that is although Mr Prague was hot.

I had only got 1 full day in Jaipur so as soon as i awoke the next day i was up showering, grabbing breakfast for £1 and out in a rickshaw racing off up the mountains to see Amber Fort. It sits majestically on top of the mountains that surround the Pink City. You really had to use your imagination in terms of seeing Jaipur as pink – there were elements i would say that were but i was slightly disappointed as i wanted it to be obviously camp pink.

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When i entered the grounds of the palace it really did make me cry just had the Taj Mahal had a few years before. It was a wondrous sight to see and i was overwhelmed and felt very privileged to get to see such a masterfully built piece of architecture. There were elephants taking visitors up the winding streets to enter but i wanted to walk – i really don’t agree to riding elephants anyway. From the arched windows and the stone-built corridors you experience life back in 1000AD. The view from the top tower was breath-taking and i spent 2 hours with my eyes and mouth wide opened in awe. i had a wander around the fruit and vegetable market afterwards at the base of the palace and invested in fresh fruit as i was missing this from my daily diet.

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My rickshaw took me back to my hostel which was approximately 9 kms from where my hostel was with the walled old city as i wanted to visit the Hawa Mahal and the Jantar Mantar – both intriguing and spiritual in their own right. Neither though were pink.Both these 2 landmarks were in the top 5 to do list on Jaipur and I’ve got to say they were pretty amazing.

Id signed up to do the sunset walk up to Nihagragh Fort and i hiked up the mountain with 2 indian travellers and a guy from Orlando being lead by Ragu, a guy who worked at the hostel and who was in charge of our safety as we walked the 60 minutes up a steep path. Once at the top we sat watching the city from down below and the sun slowly setting as Ragu got out his flute and blew. This was a very magical moment.

As a group we decided we’d venture out to the Sound and Light show at Amber Fort and i was intrigue to return to see this building at night. We attended the indian showing so i sat listening to the narrative in Hindi which added to the magic of the show and its story-telling.

We got back in to town pretty late so many of the restaurants were closed but I took them back to the place Id eaten the night before – get me recommending India to Indians – I’m becoming a right local. This time i was more adventurous with my food choice and had a chickpea dal with chapati.

My train journey from Jaipur to Pushkar was at 11.00 am so I bid my fellow hikers good night and went to my bunk smiling from yet another great day in the life of JumpThatScooter.

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The train journey from Jaipur to Pushkar was only 2 hours long and it was a train very much like the Virgin Express back home except they served thirst-quenching Chai free of charge. I’m really loving it – my new It drink for February.

I had never planned to visit Pushkar and to be honest Id never heard of it. Initially I was only going to visit Jaipur and Jodhpur whist in Rajasthan but a fellow traveller had recommended the city so as my plans were pretty flexible i built it in to my travels kicking Jodhpur to the kerb and replacing it with Pushkar and Udaipur.

You can’t get the train direct to Pushkar but you pull in to the nearest city called Ajmer which is over the mountain about 30 minutes in a taxi. I saw a mystical sunrise on the ride back 3 days later.

As you meander down the hill you are met by a city built around a lake and several towns sitting proudly. It is the only indian city to house a Brahmin Temple and it isn’t a UNESCO recognised city but it is an Indian heritage city which is protected and 1 has to pay to enter.

I had reserved a private at a hostel called Pappa Chulo as i was alternating between private and dorm to help my preparations prior to me starting my yoga teacher training course. I thought with every other city if I had a private I would sleep much better.

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My private was a thatched room in sacred-tree filled gardens of the hostel and it was situated right next to a german bakery which sold mouth-watering vegan cakes and sweet delights. The hostel was very hippie – no it was very shanti shanti. Every night there was a camp fire and travellers would sit story telling passing their smokes around right into the early hours of the next day. For 3 nights i dozed off to sleep to the sounds of the fire crackling and much joviality of those sitting around the warmth of the burning twigs.

The hostel served fabulous coconut porridge with fresh ginger tea and yoga was every morning on the roof top at sun-rise taught by a great guy called Ashley from Manchester but with indian origins. He had been travelling for the last 2 years – dead interesting to talk to and very skilled in meditation and ashtanga. It was pretty chilly to begin on that roof but after 3 hours of practice i was warm and ready to eat. As Pushkar is in the desert the mornings and the evenings can get cold but come lunch time the sun is sweltering and the hostel garden was fabulous to lounge using the many comfy bean bags.

Pushkar is built on a delightful lake with a series of ghats leading down to the body of water. I would stand there in amazement seeing these believers immersed totally in their religion as they submerged themselves under the tranquil lake.

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Other great sights to see in Pushkar was the Sun Set temple and to reach that you definitely don’t wear heels, the Brahm Temple and 2 delicious cafes – U-Turn which sells wine secretly as its a non-alcohol city and Natures Blessings that once all the food has been cooked the guy shuts. Both are vegan and worth a visit.

The highlight for me in Puskar was being invited to visit a social enterprise venture being established by an indian guy and a Canadian guy. They are driving their motor bikes from India to Fife – 1 guys mother is Scottish. Along the route they stop at different cities and facilitate social enterprise ventures and in Pushkar they were building a sustainable house made out of recycled material such as bricks and beer bottles. A local woman had given them permission to build on her land and locals and fellow travellers are helping to build and complete the house. It will then be linked with a local school – I’m getting involved. Their mantra is One World One family – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. If your interested please check it out and get involved – http://www.vasudhaivaride.com

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What also made the night was i rode on the back of a hostel guest’s bike and omg i screamed my tits off. I was scared and at the same time exhilarated. I really did howl with laughter and i know it was a risk but hey I’m here to tell the tale.

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I nearly didn’t leave Pushkar after 3 days as on my last night i met two great guys from Melbourne. I introduced them to falafel wraps and the secret wine at U-Turn so we got tipsy and just laughed laughed and laughed. Its what travelling is all about – you seriously connect with complete strangers and have mind-blowing nights.

I did pull myself together though and stick to my plans and i caught the booked and paid for train the next morning to Udaipur. With travelling I’ve learnt that pre-planing can be a burden and i think this is an area of my life i need to address on my return for sure – JUST BE hehe

The train ride from Pushkar to Udaipur was just under 6 hours but it was an early start so i slept most of the way and i was fed a yummy spinach omelette with you’ve guessed it Chai.

From my 3 train journeys i cannot get over how resilient and resourceful the women in India are – you see them up trees gathering fruit or cutting thick branches, you see them herding cows and goats barefoot, you see them building huts and digging roads – at the same time they are smiling. These women are sisters in harmony – love it.TheY know how too party too.

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I hadn’t realised that Udaipur had been a setting in Octopussy and Im such a Bond Girl – i went by the name of Maud Adams whilst there lol. How apt too because the theme tune is All Time High and my travelling sure is just that.

I’d been recommended to stay in Bunkyard hostel – the location was smack bang in the old quarter overlooking PIchola Lake and the island hotel that Bond arrived at in his electronic crocodile so pretty good. However it wasn’t the best in terms of the guys running the joint but it was £4 a night in a 8 bed dorm and i met some great dudes each day. We did the City Palace, Jagadish Temple, a traditional puppet show and we attended the International music Festival. I tasted awesome street food, bought scarfs, a silver thumb ring, floated at sunset on Lake Pichola, rented a lounger 1 afternoon at a roof-top pool and got my beard trimmed for 80 rupees (50 pence). The highlight though has been the guys I’ve met along the way who i connected with, learning something about humility and humanity from them and laughing out loud.

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I’m undoubtedly recommend Rajasthan – i didn’t even scratch the surface and only visited 3 cities but if the 3 i visited where anything to go by then the others in Rajasthan won’t disappoint. I hear Jodhpur and Jasalmer are worth a trip. Its not worth wishing Id had more days — i haven’t so. What travel is making me appreciate is the choices I’ve made and I embrace every moment.

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Rajasthan was great preparation for my 200 hour yoga training. I rested, i had good food, i visited spiritual places and was surrounded by lovely lovely people from around the world – ONE WORLD ONE FAMILY.

The flight from Udaipur to Goa via Mumbai was 7 hours in toal but i sat and reflected on the past 12 days smiling and feeling done good to. And Goa – it will be what it will be
Shanti Shanti

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The Best Marigold hotel

Well I left Bangkok very early in the morning – in fact it was still dark as i walked to catch the BTS Skytrain to international airport. Id expected the airport to be fairly quiet but how wrong was i – crazy Bangkok that never sleeps. Customs was so disorganised with a mile long queue for us to hand in our departure cards that i nearly missed my flight. I was sad to hand mine departure card over – when will i return? I never thought id love Thailand but what i will miss is how comfortable i felt and at home there i was. The Yard in Bangkok, Black Amber Barbers, Railay Beach, craziness of Bangkok, street food, the eclectic mix of people I met, the BTS Skytrain, markets, Ari area, meeting up with Steph and Matt, cycle tour and river taxi to name but a few have left an impression on my life forever.

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Air India was kind to me and I had an exit seat so loads of leg room – spread eagle and 2 films later after a 5 hour flight we were touching New Delhi soil. Chaos at the entry desks never gets any easier to accept but once out and visa stamped i was in a taxi being driven to Bed and Chai Guest House.

I realised I hadn’t been to India for 2 years so it felt like coming home and you never forgot the sheer brutality of walking out of the airport and every sense being abused.

Bed and Chai is a french-owned guesthouse and i had treated myself to a private room for my 1 night in Delhi. I needed my own space as id slept in dorms for a few weeks and was getting a bit tired of the snoring, the untidiness and the lack of privacy. The guest house up-graded me to superior double which was very pleasant – they must have known i wanted a bit of pampering and yeah that double bed and shower to self was pure luxury for 1 night.

I had a walk around the vicinity and popped to the ATM – it was HSBC so yeah home lol and i found a gorgeous coffee shop owned by an indian guy who lived in Leamington Spa up until last year. I also ate at a quaint cafe that served fish and chips -come on guys i had eaten rice for the last 20 days and it was a Friday night and it came with mushy peas – i couldn’t resist.

I slept like a baby – too much information but to sleep naked after 6 months under a duvet is very liberating and i took advantage of my own bed in my own room with ensuite.

Breakfast was a real treat – muesli, fresh fruit, toast and coffee – i really had come home and I ate it on the roof top terrace – a quiet way to start my day as i know New Delhi is far from peaceful. I knew as soon as i stepped out on the street the noise, smells and crazy sights would be to the max.

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Back in India does make you realise how lucky we really are. The conditions many live in out here never ceases to amaze me – it has to be said that many live with a smile.
Heres your challenge – the next time you have a shower maybe shower for 2 minutes less – be grateful for the water, the fresh hot water you use in your shower and take for granted.

I decided to travel to the railway station by auto rickshaw and found my self haggling over 50 rupees – that’s about 35 pence. I caught myself doing the bartering and quickly stopped and gave the price the driver initially requested – in British pounds it was £2 to drive an hour and that £2 would go a long way to feed the guy and his family

I had never caught a train from Rohilla station so a new experience to get to Rajasthan and my first stop to Jaipur. – a 5 hour journey heading south west. Id opted for A/C carriage 3rd class – it wasn’t Euro Star but if i wanted i could go to sleep – i was given top bunk of course.

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i do love travelling by train – looking out the window and watching the landscape change, looking at lives through glass – omg I’m the girl on the train. However what she saw and what i saw was world’s apart. i also declined the chai that was being served and there was no shop on board that sold stale sandwiches, small bottles of wine and short bread at ridiculous prices. Im no longer a virgin of the sleeper compartment.

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What makes a traveller is that you have to be uncomfortable to be comfortable and omg was i comfy in my double bed back at Bed and Chai.

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India is part 3 of my 3 part journey. I see SE Asia as my travel time, Australia and New Zealand was much more holiday and now India. India part 3 of learning a new skill and my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training course – the next chapter – at times uncomfortable i am sure but will be comfortable in the end.

Just realised I’ve been writing this listening to Coldplay’s a Head full of Dreams – ironic because my dream is a reality. 1 track i do adore is Amazing Day.

Come on if you need help to JumpThatScooter contact – JumpThatScooter@icloud.com