Gorgeous Goa (and getting there.)

October 18-21, 2015

I will admit, I’ve been a little stressed since I arrived in India. Bombay was super intense and although I absolutely loved my time at the caves in Aurangabad, the logistics of traveling from place to place has been difficult. And of course there was my time at Vipassana…. wonderfully transformative, but not exactly comfortable.

Finally... less concrete, more trees!
Finally… less concrete, more trees!

The beautiful thing is, with enough travel under your belt you start to learn how to plan in such a way that not only meets your need to see everything you’d like, but also your need to take care of yourself. So it was no coincidence that I booked this beach-time in Goa at this juncture in the trip. I knew I would need the decompression… and I am getting it.

I am staying on the gorgeous Ashvem beach at the delightful Yab Yum resort.

The gateway to heaven.
The gateway to heaven.
My humble abode, steps from the beach.
My humble abode, steps from the beach.

Getting here was, as to be expected, difficult. Before catching my flight to Goa, I took the train from Nasik to Mumbai.

“Is it coming?!” I know how he feels.
Nasik Train Station
3 generations of sheer beauty.
3 generations of sheer beauty, standing on the platform.

After 4 hours on a hot, sweaty train through the Indian countryside, listening to the peddlers continuously walking up and down the aisles selling food, chai, toys and gadgets… I was so ready to arrive.

Selling something.
Selling something. Note the “A/C” overhead.
On-beard snack... a fried chickpea sort of thing and a bun. In print.
On-board snack… a fried chickpea sort of thing and a bun. In print.

I must first give thanks to my two new friends from Vipassana who were on the train with me. Were it not for them, I don’t know that I would have been able to navigate it all and get where I needed to go within my time constraint.

Beautiful Geetu and Savita.
Beautiful Geetu and Savita.
And beautiful, mountainous countryside
And beautiful, mountainous countryside
...and the discernible nearing of the city.
…and the discernible nearing of the city.

After my flight, the 2 hour taxi ride from the Goa airport to my resort quickly revealed that I was in a much different (and much needed) vibe… one of considerably less congestion and considerably more green. I had kept my expectations for the resort low, since thus far not much has been as I had anticipated… but this place was everything I wanted and needed: comfort, beauty and a really relaxed pace.

Cute huts in the property.
Cute huts on the property at Yab Yum resort.

What I appreciate the most here, is simply having the time. Time for things like laying on the beach at sunset and getting to watch the sky morph from pink to periwinkle, from purple to slate, and eventually becoming a color dark enough to call night.

Or time to watch a flock of birds travel from as far north as your eye can see to as far south as your eye can see, their arrow-like formation continuously morphing in the subtlest of ways.

Abstract art by the sand crabs.
Abstract art by the sand crabs.
Best way to spend a sunset.
Best way to spend a sunset.

Traveling alone has had its challenges, to be certain, and honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would cope with it for this length of time (and of course it remains to be seen, as I’m still in the first 1/2 of my alone-time.) In the cities it was more about overall survival… the logistics of how to get places, the hassle of unwanted attention etc. But I’m glad to say that here in Goa, I have kept myself happily occupied and have had no issue whatsoever being alone. It’s actually been really kind of nice.

Some of the simple things I have taken pleasure in:

Night time walks on an empty beach, the moonlight my only guide.

Unplanned excursions.

Lunch spot in Anjuna
Lunch spot in Anjuna, a beach village south of where I’m staying.

Driving through the region, there is a discernible shift in religious influence… significantly fewer Hindu temples and many more churches.

image

Crosses everywhere
Crosses everywhere
Contrast
Contrast

~ Swimming in the ocean, something I rarely ever do… the tepid, gentle water just too tempting to resist. That and the fact that it’s a good way to cool off, even though the water is warm.

~ Wandering up and down the beach, picking out which beach shack looks most pleasant for that days lunch… and then doing it again for dinner.

More good food on the beach.
Eating good food by candlelight with the sand in your toes. Yes please.

Or maybe for an afternoon cocktail.

A Pink Lady.
A Pink Lady.

~ Talking to strangers… and to the women selling things on the beach. Yes, I’m a bit of a sucker in this regard, but the conversations have been pretty amazing. Despite the fact that these women are trying to sell you their goods and services, they also want to know about you and your life, and they were all very forthcoming with the details of their lives as well… their arranged marriages, their children, how they travel each year to come here for the high season. So while I probably didn’t really need another scarf or that bracelet, for a few American dollars, the conversation value was quite high.

Ladies selling their wares.
Wonderful working women, selling their wares.

~ Morning chai on a beach chaise lounge.

Heavenly way to start the day.
Heavenly way to start the day.

~ Time on my veranda, having a delivered breakfast of the freshest foods or a cold beer while writing and listening to the never-ending lull of the waves.

Morning ritual... sipping and writing.
Morning ritual… sipping and writing.

~ Being barefoot all the time and wearing very little clothing has also been quite freeing.

Sun-kissed, wind-blown and au naturale.
Sun-kissed, wind-blown and au naturale.

One of the most important things I’ve realized here, is that I’ve reached a place where I’m starting to really understand what it means when the wise souls tell you real happiness can only come from within. Spending this kind of time alone makes you pause and consider how much you rely on other people to fill all the empty spaces in your life. Oh yes, we all need a little love and companionship… and I am certainly looking forward to having some company in just over a week! But this deep feeling of contentment while I am alone… well it’s a feeling I’ve become quite fond of.

Really, my only difficulty here has been the heat… there is never really a cool-down period, so it starts to get to you (me) after awhile. But on the upside, temperatures in the 90’s with very high humidity have helped me continue focusing on surrender and accepting things as they are here in my post-Vipassana leisure. That, and the fact that the humidity is amazing for my skin!

In this heat, even the dogs can't even.
In this heat, even the dogs can’t even.

Yes, I’m a very lucky girl, here on the Arabian Sea. Thank you gorgeous Goa, for the glorious, much needed recharge.

Sunrise coming over the hill.
Sunrise coming over the hill and in to the beach.

image

Ashvem beach Goa, India
Ashvem beach
Goa, India

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