Sab kuch milega: Anything is possible
Pushkar, Rajasthan, India
Drinking ginger lemon tea at a street stall we met a man from Spain, aged forty-four, who has spent the past year cycling from Spain to India. He is doing it all on a tall bike, the height of two bicycles put on top of each other. He camps, which he tries to do after dark as he attracts so much attention and interest from the locals, albeit all positive. He showed us a photograph of a big group of local people who had come to his camp to meet him, to see how he cooks, and to ask questions about his bike and his trip. Arriving tired and wanting to wash and rest he often has curious visitors descend on him, who also arrive early the next morning and wake him up; although upon opening the tent to see lots of smiling faces peering at him he said it was impossible to be annoyed. See his blog, it is in Spanish but WordPress offers a translate button.
On the bus we met H, an English woman aged thirty-one who has been away from the UK for seven years, teaching English in Spain for a few years but otherwise travelling using work stay and couchsurfers, (next stop Australia. (hosting a couch surfer also sounds great, scroll down the couchsurfers page to read a host’s view, it brought a tear to my eye!) This was H’s fifth time in India, she said that often when travelling on buses she is the only foreigner, and her experience has been safe and positive. We have met lots of solo female travellers and they have all said the same thing, despite the horror stories. M, a young woman from New Zealand said that her experience had been that Indian people only want to check she’s okay.
H introduced us to J, a twenty-five year old man from Scotland, he has been away from home for four years, again using work stay, doing the online marketing for a trekking company in Nepal, building clay ovens, volunteering, and occasionally spells in a ‘proper job’ earning money for the next stage.
At our guesthouse we met a Spanish couple in their forties who come to India regularly as he buys fabric and has bags made which he then sells to tourists in the Canaries where they live. He just looks to make enough money, not loads, and manages okay.
Also at our guesthouse we met a British man, fifty-two years old, who spent fifteen years living and working in Japan, first as a DJ in a gentleman’s club, then teaching English to kindergarten kids. He then worked at a bar in Thailand, the job came with free meals and accommodation. When that ended he returned to the UK, working most of the year and then travelling for a few months in South East Asia during the winter. This is the fifth UK winter that he has missed. He has now got it so that his pattern is six months in the UK working, six months travel, via careful budgeting. ‘I’m a hermit, when I’m in the UK, I don’t go out.’
We met a mother and son, aged ten, from France travelling for a year, they’ve been to Malaysia, Indonesia, French Polynesia; after India they go to Myanmar, Thailand, then have to choose between Cambodia, Laos and The Philippines. ‘A year is so short,’ he said, and told me he’d met a family with kids aged four, seven and ten who were travelling around the world on a boat for six years. ‘So much time,’ he said. He did his studies happily on a tablet in the restaurant, and proudly showed us his worksheets.
At the local juice bar we met a man from Austria who said he was in India for the winter with his partner and children aged two and four. He said they’ve been good with the food- although they can spot French fries and Fanta on menus!- and their guesthouse has a big outdoor space where they can play. Next they are going to Goa for the rest of the winter where they have friends, and there is even a kindergarten for the Western kids. He said, ‘It’s great because here I have time for them, at home I’d be at work, but here, there’s nothing to do.’ ‘I know, the only thing to think about is, do I need to do my laundry, or do I need some shampoo,’ I said. ‘Yes, go to the Himalaya shop, that’s it,’ he said and we both laughed.
At our guesthouse we met P, a thirty-four year old woman from Costa Rica who came to India to do a yoga and meditation course and is now doing educational and inspirational videos on YouTube. Up until recently she was married with a house, a business, two cars and all the trappings of what is thought of as a successful life. Despite this she wasn’t happy; she separated from her husband, dismantled her business, sold the house and cars, and went off to California to trim marijuana plants. ‘But you have a doctorate!’ her parents said, but she went anyway. Right now she is volunteering with rescued elephants in Rajasthan, India, and making her videos.
Also at the guesthouse we met A from Portugal, thirty-three, it was her fifth time in India. She is an organic farmer and showed us beautiful photographs of figs, of which she grows many different varieties, avocados and glossy purple aubergines. Together with other environmentally minded people she has successfully persuaded her local authority to vote to protect her local environment, not working along political lines, just to protect nature. She comes to India for the spiritual and healing aspects, and says she comes here as often as she can when her business is quiet; ‘When the trees are asleep.’
In Pushkar until 15th November, then to Delhi, briefly, then to Nepal for two weeks.
Thank you very much for reading
See you next week