This Magical Journey surpassed all of my expectations. Why? Why was it different to what I had imagined? I had known it would be a mix of new sounds, smells, wonderful writing pieces for me to listen to. But Magical Journeys India 2014 was much, much more.
It sparkled from the offset, fuelled by the adrenalin of a bunch of writers’ anticipation of fun, laughter and exploration. It was an adventure of the mind and soul and words flew through the Indian air with abandon forming themselves into wild and wonderful stories. We drank of the experience of places and people we were encountering. The stories fell from us effortlessly. Our words jumbled themselves into unique pieces of art, guided by our wonderful teacher Claire. Claire, whose own writing, support and encouragement spurred us on to explore and discover our own individual writing depths. Each writing session had a different dynamic and it was the precursor and springboard to further fun and exploration in our leisure times.
We embraced the Indian culture, discovered the joys of interacting with the locals and made new friends and shopped, and shopped again, buying everything Indian from spices to voluminous colourful trousers. We bought saris for the local tailor to make into own fashions, we bought singing bowls with which to meditate back home, we bought Indian snacks to tingle the mouths of our families (aptly called Masala Munchies). We swam in the Arabian Sea, frolicking in the warm waves that carried us shrieking onto the white sand. We spent a day travelling sedately on a punted houseboat through the Kerala backwaters, a series of meandering channels linking islands and lakes and ate curry off banana leaves in a jungle clearing. Our transportation on all our days was via tuk tuks – the bouncy crazy motorised rickshaws driven by our new friends Hami and Jami who looked after these crazy laughing English women as their own, and then invited us to share refreshments with their own families in their homes. Our restaurant meals exploded with taste and spices and nowhere else in the world could you choose every starter off the menu plus a range of main courses all for a couple of Pounds. We won’t dwell on the fish bone that became stuck in my throat as Jami saved the day by telling me the trick of biting a huge lump of banana and swallowing it whole. Quite a feat but it worked and less embarrassing than being thumped in public over a chair with the Heimlich manoeuvre!
But where did we lay our happy heads as night fell? Claire had found us a haven of peace and tranquillity in the middle of the cacophony of noise that is Kochin Town. The Secret Garden was a piece of paradise and the wonderful staff that brought us never ending cups of ginger tea, freshly squeezed fruit juices and home baked tasty breakfasts became an extension of our group of friends.
Was this an adventure holiday, a shopping holiday or a writing holiday? It was all of that and much, much more. It bonded an eclectic group of 7 women into a magical mix of words, warmth, adventure and constant bellows of laughter.
Claire Steele is the magical catalyst.
When is the next one please?
The copyright of this post belongs to Flo Kingfisher