Travel can sometimes be chaotic; constantly changing hostels, sleeping on buses, not understanding the local language etc. But of course, travel is also full to the brim with those moments of complete and utter calm. Moments of happiness that stay with you forever. Today, I am reflecting on three of those moments that have stuck with me for a long time. Moments which I have re-lived many times in my mind.
August 2008. Bodh Gaya, India.
Bodh Gaya is a spiritual place in itself as it is the place where Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment. It’s the place where I had so many moments of calm, but all for totally different reasons. My two friends and I arrived in Bodh Gaya and went to stay in a monastery. We had a very simple room for the three of us with a small ceiling fan. The guy who showed us to our room said he could arrange for himself and two friends to take us around for a few days on motorbikes, and we accepted the kind offer.
They drove us all around the area to different temples, to a Buddhist school and up into the hills. I clearly remember one moment in which we were riding up to the very peak of a hill. There was nobody else around, the sun was shining and the wind tearing through my hair. I held on tight, admiring the lush green beauty around and found myself in a moment of total calm, despite the speed of the bike. Thinking that this moment was just perfect! The famous tree:
February 2010. Florianópolis, Brazil.
I was CouchSurfing around Brazil with a friend who I met along the way. We had arranged to stay at a home full of keen surfers and arrived on Friday night just as they all got back from work. They said they would take us to an amazing beach and lagoon the next day. A beach that barely anybody knew about, they promised. And, they were so right! We drove for a little while and then walked along for around an hour, admiring the beautiful beach views along the way. The views got more and more beautiful and then we saw it, our destination. A beach that literally was deserted, with the softest and most clean looking sand, with calm water and a warm lagoon too. We spent the afternoon dipping in and out of the water, simply sitting and admiring, and wallowing in the gorgeous warmth of the lagoon. It was a moment where I was filled with calm, smiles and feelings of being lucky to be in that place at that very moment.
Maybe I spent a little too long in the water…
August 2013. Hariharalaya yoga and meditation retreat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
When I booked my flights to Cambodia, I knew I wanted to spend some time at a yoga retreat so I set about goggling for one. Up popped Hariharalaya and I booked to stay for five nights. The setting was beautiful, around 40 minutes away from bustling Siem Reap surrounded by beautiful countryside. The centre itself was a haven of calm – no phones, no internet, no connection to the outside world. Days were filled with yoga and meditation classes, talks by people who worked there and visitors from outside, reading while lying on the hammock and hours spend getting to know the other people who work there. Complete and utter time to switch off and probably the definition of calm.
Where have you had moments of calm while travelling?
Happy weekend to you all! 🙂