I posted recently about musing, dreaming, building castles in the sky...a divine head trip where I could revel in the fantasy of perfect freedom and solitude.
But then it occurred to me...I don't need to create this place,
I don't need to retreat into my imagination to find my place of tranquility, I just need to search the corners of my memory.
Because I've already been there.
Here we are. The Motley Crue.
The boy from Germany, the girl from London and the girl from France.
We had done what is wont to happen with lone travelers ~ grouped together and formed a rat-pack of land walkers, wearing our home on our backs like giant African land snails.
The objective was simple; we were to find a taxi driver willing to drive us way, way up into the hill mountains of Kodaikanal and find a Tamil family willing to bed and board us.
And do you know what? Our crazy plan worked.
Look at the picture above real close. Squint your eyes. Middle right. Do you see that whisper of a thatched roof peeking shyly through the foliage?
That was our home for a week.
Below is Sophie with Silvan, the amazing taxi driver who connected us with this family living in the remotest spot on the mountain you could imagine. It was our fantasy, our nirvana, our backpacking dream come true.
We spent that week living with "Amma" and "Appa" who looked after our every need.
They didn't speak a word of English but when you share house and kitchen, beautiful clean air and a never-ending skyline, language becomes a very small thing when you can touch and sing and smile.
We drank fresh mountain water, bathed under the waterfall, did yoga while the sun rose and let Amma feed us till our stomachs swelled like watermelons.
At night Appa would shuffle into our room all wrapped up in his shawl, pass around his rum and roll charras cigarettes, smiling toothlessly at our broken up English and gestures of communication, by turns entertained and amused by these western curiosities.
I have never experienced such untouched kindness and beauty in both mankind and nature as I did on the side of that mountain in India in 2009.
I also learned a valuable lesson then; one I'd recently almost allowed myself to forget... that in the natural order of things, we and all of our problems are tiny specks of dust. We don't matter. But kindness, truth and the spirit of adventure can carry us very vey far in this world and maybe, in some small way, let us leave our tiny little footprint on it.
And that fantasy I wrote about, it doesn't need to stay ficition. I don't have to live in my own head...
because I have wings the strength of a mighty Swift bird and strong enough wind beneath them to keep me flying a long time yet.
I read the best quote today:
"I haven't been everywhere,
but it's on my list"