Inner engineering

An unforgettable ashram retreat that almost never was

After a chaotic Boxing Day in Kochi, where seemingly everyone in the city had come out shopping, I made my way to the Isha Ashram near Coimbatore, one of the largest and iconic ashrams in India. As a follower of Sadhguru’s teachings and having been dazzled by Mahashivratri celebrations in years prior, the ashram was at the top of my short list of places to…

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Indian Railways

The joys and horrors of train journeys in India

Six years have passed since my last overnight rail journey, but time hasn’t deterred my excitement for the chance to embark on several more. While all of my railway adventures in India barely lasted a single night, for some of those trips the end couldn’t come soon enough – but were an experience, nonetheless. Booking tickets Travelling via train in India is an experience unlike…

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Prayer flags

Studying Buddhism at a Tibetan monastery

Dharamsala, the co-capital of the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, was my base for a sizeable chunk of my trip. Dharamsala is notable for being the home of the Dalai Lama and where large numbers of Tibetans call home after sadly being exiled from their own country over the last half century.  A long twisty drive on a bus from Chandigarh through the smoggy fields…

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Comfortably uncomfortable

My latest adventure through India

Here we go again. I’ve been on another long adventure. It’s been a special journey that I feel incredibly fortunate to have undertaken. I told myself in the summer of 2022 that this was a winter I wasn’t to spend at home. The bleak lockdowns during the previous two winters and general robotic routine of working from home had caught up with me. I’d been…

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Samboja Lestari

Giving a helping hand to some friends in Borneo

Those who know me well often groan when I subject them to my frequent ramblings about orangutans. As I’ve remarked on this blog before, I’ve long had a fascination with the human like tendencies of these great apes. Back in October 2019, I embarked on a two-week volunteering experience in Borneo. It was an action-packed trip, so brace yourself, this post is a long one….

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Big Sur

A heavenly drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

The final destination on our road-trip was further up the Californian coast in the serene region of Big Sur. The Pacific Coast Highway was closed due to a major landslide in 2017 which buried part of the road, so the satnav suggested we stick to Highway 101 North for 100 miles which I wasn’t particularly excited about. After a brief visual inspection on Google maps,…

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Gaslamps and glitz

Exploring coastal cities in southern California

We set off from Stovepipe Wells early, bound for San Diego at the very southern tip of California near the Mexican border. We anticipated taking the same spectacular hillside road that originally brought us to Death Valley from Bakersfield, but instead the navigation system took us through the heart of the sister Panamint Valley. For 50 miles we drove without seeing the faintest sight of…

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Into the furnace

Deserted in Death Valley

We started our descent from the Sierra Nevada mountains in desperate need of fuel. A combination of our Mustang’s thirsty engine and the constant hilly terrain meant we were achieving truly horrendous fuel economy. We’d almost run the tank dry but luckily found a fuel station just in time. Reaching Death Valley involved a long ‘U’ route around the Sierra Nevada mountains, as the Tioga…

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Sierra Nevada

Trekking through Yosemite

I was immediately thrown into the deep-end as we departed SF airport. The early afternoon traffic was pilling up on Highway 101 as we slowly made our way south east through the Bay Area. Driving on the wrong side of the road wasn’t the challenge; I last drove in Iceland a few weeks prior which was also on the left side. The challenge on the…

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On the West Side

Kicking off an epic road-trip across California

Last month I was fortunate to cross the pond on a fortnight log road-trip across California, with my younger brother Nishay. Our trip would begin from one of the USA’s most iconic cities, San Francisco, where we would then head eastwards towards the wilderness of Yosemite National Park. A long desert drive would send us into the fiery warmth of Death Valley, followed by a…

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