Wanderlust. The constant dream; the longing
December 3, 2018
“Today, I would never encourage anyone to travel around the world — alone or otherwise — because if you’re cut out for such a trip, you don’t need any spurs to your backside. There’s already a beast within you — your own tiki god clawing at the door to get out — a compulsion you can’t resist.”
PLANET BACKPAKER BY ROBERT DOWNES, WANDERING PRESS 2008
Travels over my lifetime
During my lifetime I have travelled widely, I have travelled across America by Greyhound bus, I have taken another bus from London to Morocco, I have taken long train rides all across Europe, gone horse trekking through the swamps and jungles of Brazil and even had a stint of teaching in a remote village in Africa.
After a difficult childhood I quickly found myself searching for more positive experiences. I used to fantasise about putting a backpack on and just going, just setting off to explore the world. I have since then travelled far and wide but even today I still have the wanderlust, I still dream of one day putting on a back pack and just going. I still have the constant dream; the longing but the call is the strongest it’s ever been.
The full stop period
After my crazy years of partying, travelling and living the lifestyle that best suited who I am, I grew older and settled into a rather conservative and safe routine. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this and many people end up becoming a bit boring as they get older; sometimes we just need a bit of a kick-start. Unfortunately this is often misconstrued as a mid-life-crisis but I think it is more of a re-awakening, a re-identification of the person we really are underneath. Generally family and responsibilities must have their time first before a new chapter can begin that frees you up to reorganise and re-focus on who you really are and where you want to be.
If we look at existentialism psychology and the many interesting books and papers written around this subject, (by people like Irvin Yalom), they often talk about life’s ‘CHAPTERS’. I totally get this concept and believe every chapter has its purpose and however difficult or dark some of those chapters may be, they serve to strengthen us and make us stronger and more resilient in the future.
There came the day when I woke up from what had become a full stop existence, a strange neutral chapter in my life, and the beginning of a whole new chapter began for me. This chapter in my life is still in its infancy but my hippie kushi period began when I first visited India.
“World travelers are driven by a spirit which the Greeks called daemon. Wanderlust, travelin’ bone, travelin’ Jones — call it what you like — but it’s something that beats at your breast from the inside. Your daemon demands that you slave joyfully at the altar of your passion, be it music, art, writing, hunting, running, cooking, or grafted to the joystick of a Playstation. Every hardcore traveler burns with this spirit — money doesn’t matter, and neither do the rough spots — it’s making the trip that counts.”
PLANET BACKPACKER 2008
What this blog is about and how it happened
Hippie Kushi waking up to Life is a blog that does what it says on the label. It is about waking up and remembering who you really are. Embracing life, peace, freedom and happiness and going for it. One great way to expand your mind is through travel.
“On the other hand, I kept imagining myself on my deathbed, thinking — Damn, I never did the one thing that I really wanted to do in my life…followed by a ghastly urk!
PLANET BACKPACKER 2008
Diary of the trip that changed my life
I woke up from my strange life slumber pretty much as soon as I arrived in India. I was in Goa and bouncing around in a taxi on my way to my hotel in Candolim, a typically touristy area of Goa. I was immediately struck by how different it was to anywhere else I have been. There were long haired and bearded swami’s (holy men) walking along the road with cows at their side that had been painted in bright colours and decorated with jewellery and bright cloth.
The place seemed full of thousands of Indian’s going about their business. Brightly coloured trucks beeped their horns as hundreds of scooters, heavily laden with all kinds of goods, moved back and forth across the road in all directions. In London this scene would have stressed me out but in India it seemed exciting and exotic.
My hotel room was basic but comfortable and the staff were very helpful and friendly. I decided to go out and buy a few essentials such as drinking water and as I walked the streets I started to see what can only be described as European ‘hippies’. Men and women in baggy Indian pyjama trousers, with long hair or dreadlocks in brightly coloured beads.
This blew my mind and took me back to my hippie days when I was the balloon man at Whirl-y-gig nightclub. I immediately homed in on a bar where a lot of these interesting chameleons were enjoying a drink. I thought, let’s have a drink and ask them where they think the best places to hang out are. I should point out that at this stage I was still in my boring ‘full stop life’ stage and was wearing a blue suit shirt, cream trousers and loafers. My hair was short and my goatee neatly trimmed.
I got a few strange looks when I asked my questions but it soon became evident that the best beaches for hippies were Anjuna and Arambol and that the best parties were the drum parties on Arambol beach, the Saturday night market, the Anjuna day market that then turned into the Anjuna day market after party.
So, after doing a few touristy things like visiting temples and a spice farm, I made my plans to attend these events.
The Saturday night market in Arpora came first (Arpora is a village close to the North Goa beach belt, in India’s tourism-destination state. Very famous for its night market, “The Saturday Night Market”. Open during the tourist season, it is a colourful vast market consisting of people from around the state selling and showcasing their goods. Be it the musical mouth harps or mouth-watering food, the variety is vast.) I was totally blown away; the sights, the smells, the incredible food, the exotic, colourful characters, the ageing hippies, the comradely, and friendship. People from all over the world were sitting, drinking and talking about life, spirituality and togetherness. And then the live music started and I was changed for life; I was in love with Goa from that moment. But it’s hard to really express how amazing the night market is, so here is a video that might give you an idea:
After the night market I took a tuk tuk to Arambol beach because I was told there was a drum party going on. The journey was hair raising as we narrowly missed speeding lorries coming the opposite way and weaving our way through jungle paths. Arambol beach is the home of the hippies in Goa and some nights they get together on the beach and have these parties. The one thing that stood out for me was how at home I felt in this environment but how my persona did not match. I looked like an American tourist in my chinos and this was the first step in my deciding to reclaim my old identity. Boring Steve was fired!!
Anjuna beach is another hippie beach and they often hold the famous Goa Trance parties there. I couldn’t get into this music on my first visit to Goa but in subsequent visits I have grown to like it.
THE DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
The day my life changed forever when the real epiphany came was the following Wednesday when I attended the day market in Anjuna and later the bars and clubs after this event.
This picture is my blogs header image and was taken at Anjuna day market.
Once again I arrived at Anjuna beach by tuk tuk and he dropped me off at the entrance to the beach. The ground was a red dust colour and the sun was not yet high in the sky which gave the place a spiritual feel. In order to walk down to the beach you travel through a smaller local market and it was here I bought some Ganesha wall hangings for my bedroom back in the UK. The day was very hot and when I reached the beach with its beach shacks playing trance music, I quickly headed for the surf and threw off my sandals to walk along the beach with my feet in the cooling water.
You could hear the market before you reached it, the place was packed and the music was loud.
I made my way up a steep slope and entered the market. It was full of colourful stalls and there were new age hippie types everywhere. The stalls sold jewellery and drapes and statues of Hindu gods and all kinds of clothes and bags. I bought a load of fantastic hippie and Indian outfits because I knew my current look was on its way out; I was embracing this world.
I heard that a lot of the older hippies who live in Goa make a living from selling clothes and jewellery at this market but are constantly keeping an eye out for the police as this is illegal for foreigners. There are rumours of hippies being beaten up and put in jail for this but they love the life so much they take the risk. For some, paying a bribe to the cops is sometimes enough.
I then came across a bar/club playing live music. I found a table by the stage and ordered a beer. Straight away a crazy drunk hippie lady from Brighton came and sat next to me and we made friends. We laughed and had a dance. Later more hippies arrived and sat with us and my life was changed forever; I wanted this.
Later on in the evening I came back and went to the same bar. It was now a full on night club and I danced all night with those crazy hippies. At least I had my hippie t-shirt to wear even if my hair was a bit square. I will never forget that day and when I came back to the UK I changed my outlook, started this blog and began the process of achieving my dreams.
The constant dream, the longing
“It was on that trip that I first became aware that there is an alternative world of gypsy travelers paralleling our own. You would seldom — if ever — meet them in the ordinary, workaday world, but as soon as you hit the road, the portals would open, revealing the oddest people, along with young adventurers heading for distant horizons.”
PLANET BACKPACKER 2008
So, needless to say the wanderlust has not gone away, it is stronger than ever. I am now looking at moving in with a community co-op of like minded people. I would like to spend longer and longer in Goa amongst my hippie friends and I will don that back pack one day and just travel the world. The constant dream, the longing is reaching its boiling point now; it must be fulfilled!