Alternative Lifestyles * Vagabonding Travel * Searching for Hippie Happiness

Happy Days; Boot Sales, Driving Lessons and News on Goa.

Recently Facebook did that thing where they send you a memory from two years ago. This particular one was of me and my crew on our way to Whirl-y-Gig. It made me smile but also made me very sad, thinking about all that has been missing in our lives since Covid.

Whirl-y-Gig, Goa, festivals, travel.

Things were looking pretty depressing at one point, especially with all my festivals being postponed until next year, where I was supposed to be running market stalls to sell my hippie clothing. I have lost £100’s in lost sales this year.

But suddenly things have been on the up.

When I heard that the last of my festivals (Psymera) had been cancelled, I was very frustrated and upset because my business was struggling. My crew rallied round, as they always do, and Louise, my dear friend, offered to drive me to Apps farm in Surrey for the weekly boot sale; maybe I could make some money there.

Las also said he would help carry my stock if needed and a plan was hatched, but I was sceptical as to how much money I would make at a ‘boot sale’.

I have contacted this large boot sale before to see if I could sell my hippie clothing and they said yes and welcomed me with open arms but not driving or having my own transport meant it would be a challenge.

So, I was happy that I now had Louise’s offer of transport.

But as always in this year that just keeps giving, Louise then fell very sick and had to pull out. Luckily Las jumped in and said he would drive me and keep me company despite the 5.30am wake up call. Bless him for that he is a good friend; as is Louise and I’m pleased to say she has now recovered from her nasty illness.

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day and despite our bleary eyes after getting up at the crack of dawn, we were both in good spirits.

The boot sale is absolutely massive spanning out over a large field with hundreds of stalls. We were allocated our pitch and set up the table and hangers and made it look like a cool stall.

The early hours were quiet and I only initially sold one bag at £10 but as the morning went on people were crazy for my stock; especially the backpacks, money bags, tie dye t-shirts and hippie trousers.

It was lovely chatting to the customers and I really enjoyed the banter and upselling to the customers. I think I was meant to be a market stall holder.

We both enjoyed ourselves immensely and by the end of the morning I had made £185; much more than I expected. The clever thing was I was talking about my business to the customers as I sold my items and I gave out loads of my leaflets. This really worked because when I got home, there were another £100 worth of sales online; so a really good morning.

I thanked Las by buying him lunch in a posh pub near me and I came away smiling.

The only problem with my recent market stall success is that I still don’t drive (also doing an outdoor market once winter is closing in is not much fun).

I need transport to get me and my stock/equipment to these boot sales and markets (I’ve also found another weekly market at Kempton Racecourse near me).

After my first traumatic driving lesson with an independent driving instructor (see earlier driving lessons post), I have now signed up for my lessons to continue with the Red Driving School based in Hampton; lessons restart on 1st October and I have already paid for 8 hours.

Once I pass my test I will buy a campervan in order to carry my stock to these markets as my poor friends will not want to give up their Sunday mornings for me again.

This will now, of course, not be until next year, when, with my postponed festivals taking place on top of my market stalls, things should really pick up for my little business.

Oh, and I can also use the campervan to travel, so plus, plus!

This boot sale episode really showed me what lovely friends I have. Having good, supportive friends is so important. Thank you Louise and Las for being you; I love you loads.

Speaking of friends, it was lovely to see dear old Geoff, my Whirl-y-Gig friend, who I have not seem much during the pandemic period.

We arranged to meet on the Tamesis Dock boat pub, situated between Vauxhall and Lambeth bridges on the Thames.

It was one of our favourite meeting places, not only because of the atmosphere but because Geoff lives in North London and I live in Hampton, so Vauxhall is about half way between the two.

That said, the normally packed on a Wednesday pub was far from it. We were the only ones in there. Then I saw why, they have put the price of their pints up to £5.60!! I realise they have lost money over lockdown but putting the price of their beer up that much has only had the effect of chasing away their customers.

Expensive beer aside, me and Geoff caught up with each others lives and we were able to start talking about something really exciting…

…visiting Goa this year!

Ryan, a friend of mine and keen Goa visitor, and myself, have been scanning the web for signs that we could finally return to Goa this season. First there was a Times of India report that Goa was opening up to tourists again. Mildly exciting but apprehensive.

Then the above report came in that India was about to reinstate tourist visas from 30th September. More excited and seeing it could actually happen.

Then there was a bit of a worry as our government were scrapping the Covid traffic light system; Red (Don’t go) Amber (not perfect, take care but you can go) green (go ahead).

India was on the amber list but our government was changing the list to either Red (Don’t go) or Open (go); would India go back onto the Red list?

To our joy India is now on the open list. Very excited at this point.

But then Ryan brought it to my attention that India was no longer issuing E-visas to UK citizens as a reciprocal reaction to the way it felt India citizens coming into the UK had been treated. So if visas were being issued again after 30th September we would need to attend the Indian Embassy in London with our paperwork to get a sticker on our passport. So getting a visa would be much more challenging.

But then the clearest indication so far that Goa is about to open up to us again. The Indian Consulate put a message on its UK visa page that E-visas were no longer being issued, followed by instruction on how to apply for a tourist visa the new way, via the Embassy (see above).

Why would they put that up if they were not going to start issuing visas again from 30th September??

Of course flights will need to start flying there again soon as well, but its all looking VERY EXCITING. Could Goa be a goa in 2021??!!

My immediate plan is to take on some seasonal temp work in the UK until I go, to top up my savings. I will book my flights to Goa as soon as the announcement is made on 30th September (fingers crossed). I will leave on the 15th December and stay for two months. I would love to stay longer but with all the festivals being cancelled this year my savings are diminished.

So I will return to the UK in mid February and really build up my business so that I can go to Goa for 6 months beginning from the 2022/2023 season.

Exciting if it all comes together; I’m personally very optimistic for 30th September’s decision.

In the meantime many of the Whirlys will be attending Ozora, One Day in London psytrance party.

Hope you can join us. If not, maybe see you on the beaches of Goa.

Things really are looking up.

Until next time, have a great month.

Next time: A better time behind the wheel? Watch out, there's a hippie behind the wheel!! Pt 3.

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