Reflections – Month Four: Part Times, Hard Times

  • Sunset over Hampi

  • Mysore Palace

    We staged a happy surprise reunion just when the lights went on…

  • Honey Valley Coorg

  • Explorers

    The coffee plantations and forests around Honey Valley made for some great hikes.

  • Oh Boy

    Our Iluka is growing up. Too cool for school

  • Indian Advertsiement

    Need some new innerwear?

  • Hyderabad

    On top of the Charminar.

  • Snake charmer

    Iluka cuddles a rat snake.

  • Brothers

    Iluka cuddles his brother…

  • Circus in town

    Fair in Amarkantak as part of the Shivatri celebrations.

I feel like I’ve lost the moment. How much rather would I say: I’ve lost myself in the moment. But no – somehow my old addiction, the exhilarating, comforting, time-eloping need to plan ahead and think of the future has made quite a comeback during this fourth month of our travel.

Part One
First, there was my ‘alone-time’ at Ananda. Time away from the family, back to being a Pilates instructor, back to myself, back to business, I slipped straight into planning future retreats and scheming up the wildest new business ideas for the years to come.
And while I slowly ran further and further ahead of myself (all excited and smiling), Matthieu was totally living the moment somewhere out in rural Maharashtra, camping, fishing, swimming with the boys [1] — for a few lonely days until Babi and Baba, aka Isabelle and Dominique Paley, aka my in-laws arrived in Goa for some family time.

[1] In fact, I think they lived so much in the moment that they managed (and I am blaming all three boys equally responsible) to mysteriously ‘loose’ more things than in the previous three months combined. Accumulated losses in 10 days:
1 short
3 underpants
1 pair of shoes (mine!)
2 headlamps
1 iPod!
1 mp3 player
1 body board

Part Two
Traveling with extended family usually doesn’t work well with an “oh, let’s just not make any plans and see what comes along” strategy and so, more planning ahead was in order for our 20 days traveling through Karnataka with Matthieu’s parents. But alas, on the first day I wrote in my diary: “Let’s spend lots of time talking about what we could or should do, but let’s not come to any real conclusions, so we can spend the next day complaining how we should have planned this better…” What we should learn from this comment: planning or no planning… let the journey be the way. Full stop. Done. This worked pretty well. Hotels and guest houses were booked a day or two ahead, the next location decided ‘on the go’. Looking back (and please feel free to follow our Karnataka route in the Maps section), we could have logistically organized the whole trip a bit better, but all in all, we had a really good time together: Beach Time (Om Beach, Karnataka), Camping Adventures (where we graciously ‘lent’ the Paleymobile to the grandparents and then Timo threw up all over them at night), Historic Moments (sunset over Hampi and feeding Lakshmi, the elephant), Independent Travel (grandparents took the night train with the kids, while Matthieu and I drove the car from Hampi to Mysore), Cultural Immersion (from markets to selfies in the streets of Mysore), Coffee Culture (exploring the hillstations of Coorg)… It must be mentioned at this point, that while we LOVE sleeping in the Paleymobile, we also much appreciated these 3 weeks where we could stretch our legs in real beds and rather comfortable guesthouses (luxuries, that we would not have so easily afforded ourselves). To all that are waiting, I promise when time and technology allows, this will become Chapter 4 – Travels with the Paley Clan of our video documentation)

Part Three
After our goodbyes it was back to nights in the Paleymobile. We found ourselves in Karnataka with no clear idea where to go next. Back to the sea? Up the Western Ghats? Over to the east? Go fast? Go slow? Maybe it was the aftermath and momentum of the family holiday (gotta go, gotta go, gotta see, gotta see), but it seemed that after all this time, we now needed to ‘have a plan’ in order to move on. A reality check (we were over 1500km south of Delhi with less than a month to go before our visae expire) determined the general direction: North. Fantastic plans of exploring Ladakh in early spring or the tribal areas of the North-East with the Paleymobile were put on the ‘maybe another time’ shelf and declared too far and wishful thinking. What we needed was, a change of scenery, the outlook of a place ‘we know we would love’ and so a lot of driving was in order. After having moved around so much with the in-laws, I was trying to find the slowing down, the sticking around, the blissful living in the moment… Instead we were moving. Driving. Long hours. Many kilometres. There are memorable moments of course from these 7 days of real road-tripping (best to check @paleyography for that), but something was bugging me and I have to admit I became somewhat ‘irritable’ (which could be attributed to PMS, but let’s not make up excuses here). The smallest thing, the kids screaming in the back of the car, the music too loud, Matthieu lecturing me on my navigation skills, would send me over the edge. All I wanted is to ARRIVE somewhere. This made me realize once again how difficult it is to just BE and to ‘not have a plan’, especially while traveling. Truth is, that as soon as we did have a plan again [2], it all became easier. My conclusion for now: After all, it’s good to have a plan, a big one, a small one, one for the immediate future or for the long term. You can switch between plans as well – pick the one that makes you feel most comfortable that day. The trick is to stay away from meticulously planning on how and when to get there.

[2] I won’t tell all, but it involves the holy Narmada river and starts in Amarkantak, where we have been stationary (and happily so) for the past 3 days.


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