Posted in Travel

The Real India

It has been an epic two week journey abroad travelling to the depths of possibility and seeing things with fresh eyes. This is what I love about visiting other countries – taking in the culture, the food and being able to accept the hospitality of the people who have opened their homes to me, especially on this trip. It makes you look at life differently. It was my first time in India and I couldn’t think of a better place to go than Kerala. It has so much to offer and is such a magical place to be if you open your heart to her.

When I first arrived I must admit I didn’t feel this way for many reasons. I knew India would not be a holiday of total relaxation. The streets are so busy. They are filled with the worst traffic I have ever seen and full of people wherever you go to the point you can hardly move as you navigate through the crowds. Then you have the sweltering heat to contend with. It is the hottest of heats and I couldn’t go outside most afternoons because of it. With all of that and adjusting to a new time zone, India was very confronting to me and I have never been to a place quite like it.

India is filled with so much spirituality and yet you are faced with total duality all at the same time. You would see beautiful buildings that took your breath away then come outside and see rubbish on the floor at every street corner. It broke my heart to see Mother Earth in this way and I thought to myself would I ever get it and connect to India. There was so much that didn’t make sense to me. I was pushed beyond my limits, observing my shadows and seeing my triggers come out in full force. It made me wonder if I had evolved at all. It really showed me that no matter where you are in the world, unless you know yourself and see your truth and beauty on the inside, you can travel to the most exotic extravagant places and never be fulfilled, not truly. Everything you seek is always inside yourself.

There was so much about Kerala that I loved. The food was absolutely fantastic. That was the best part of the trip as a total foodie. There was so much variety and different flavours it would awaken your senses in every way. The effort, time and love gone into the cooking could be felt with every bite. I would be in heaven every time I ate something and was in total appreciation of what I was experiencing. I never thought I could feel this way after recovering from an illness only four years ago. That changed my life forever and previously left me for a long time unable to eat many foods. Then there I was in Kerala eating everything and more. It was a total dream! The food represented all that is good and coming alive in a big way. Living takes complete courage and faith in oneself. When you allow yourself the time and space to heal, anything is possible and enjoying the food in Kerala was living proof of this.

What I loved even more were the connections I made. Life is so much better when you walk it with others and I feel so blessed with the people in my life; my friends on this trip and the family and friends I have at home. This makes it all worthwhile. When you have special experiences inside the every day with beautiful souls you can laugh, cry, love and be completely yourself around, this to me is what it means to be rich. The ability to be loving, kind and giving when you are triggered is richer still.

As I left Kerala in exactly the same way as I found it, in the hustle and bustle and extreme heat, I couldn’t help but smile. My heart was filled with so much love and gratitude and I could see the Divine everywhere around me. I am grateful to Kerala for the gift it has given me, to reveal what was evidently there all along.


Posted in Travel

Piranha Rivers With A Side Of Flying Balls

This is it! I arrived back in the city of Quito yesterday and will be leaving Ecuador tonight to travel to my next destination.

I just spent 3 nights in the Amazon rainforest which has been a truly unforgettable experience. It’s a place you have to visit at least once in your life if you ever get the opportunity. It’s such a different world to what we are used to in today’s modern world.

I was lucky to stay in a beautiful ecolodge called Sani Lodge which offers unique rainforest experiences. It took a flight from Quito to Coca, a 3 hour boat ride then a short walk and canoe ride to get there so I was really deep in the jungle. What most impressed me was the quality of the ecolodge which had electricity, shower/toilet facilities and even wi-fi. Plus good food of course 🙂 The wi-fi was a good thing so I could let my close family and friends know that I was safe and not been eaten by anything haha.

I couldn’t believe I was in an environment with wildlife which you only usually get to see in movies and documentaries. It is so diverse there you could spend several visits and still have lots to see.

Being in the jungle like this was a big stretch for me in a lot of ways but I welcomed the rainforest with open arms and made the most of it. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity after all.

I was in awe of what I could see all around me. No amount of photos I took could ever capture the wonder of the rainforest. Everything was so big and tall. I was mesmerised. I saw caimans in the water, lots of birds and monkeys in the trees. Even creepy crawlies at night such as tarantulas, beetles and many more insects. It was equally scary and cool at the same time.

I didn’t see any piranhas or anacondas but I knew they were there in the water. You had to travel everywhere by canoe to hike the trails. The thought that there was only a canoe that separated my ass from the piranhas scared me at first but I got over that pretty quickly. I knew I was in good hands with my guide Danny and all the staff at Sani Lodge. In fact, I was more concerned about dropping my phone in the river (which contains all my photos), when I probably should have been more concerned about the piranha-ass situation. Typical me 🙂

The best part of being in the rainforest was the people I connected with. I met a lovely couple from Australia who are currently travelling around South America.  Together we had a great time on all the activities. I couldn’t think of better people to share the Amazonian experience with. I miss them already!

On one of our activities, I remember walking up the Canopy tree, a 100ft tree, and being absolutely terrified. That’s all I could do was focus on the person walking in front of me when walking up and down the steps… nothing else, receiving lots of encouragement and smiles. I didn’t want to miss out on this experience so I faced my fear of heights. It’s such a great metaphor for life.

When you face your greatest fears, somehow everything else seems easy after that.

We also had the privilege of visiting the Sani Lodge community which was really inspiring. Profits from the ecolodge go towards this community creating opportunities especially for women to work and education facilities for young children. That really touched my heart to see this. Keep up the great work Danny from Sani Lodge. You are amazing!

Ecuador has changed me for the better. I love this country! I would like to say I chose to come here but somehow I feel Ecuador chose me and I am so glad of that.

I couldn’t leave Ecuador without saying a special thanks to my guide Danny Noriega (the other Danny) who has been by my side for most of my trip – in Quito, the Cloud Forest and Otavalo. He looked after me, kept my spirits up when I felt very unwell and shared his vast knowledge of Ecuador with me.

Danny this is for you – a picture of us with one of your many crazy faces. I think the picture says it all haha. Thanks for everything 🙂

My stomach is feeling much better than it was so I have been making the most if it whilst in Quito. I could finally try some of the local Ecuadorian cuisine which I am most happy about it. Although I think my food last night had other ideas… my fried ball appetizer was so hard, when I tried to be all ladylike and cut the ball it went flying in the air and then landed on my lap. It was so embarrassing! At least it didn’t hit anyone in the face or worse.

They were delicious balls by the way!! I also tried the famous Ecuadorian potato soup. Ecuador is very well known for their soups. Heaven in a dish!

I have one more opportunity to sample more Ecuadorian cuisine before I leave. What a way to finish the trip and quite symbolic with my journey with food.

With love and flying balls, Lisa