Back in January, our lovely manager Sophie waved us goodbye and set off for a land far, far away…
Now back fresh-faced, sun-kissed and with a spring in her step, this week we thought we would hear a little bit more about her trip to India: the wonderful, diverse and enriching land of yoga, curry, colour and soooo much more.
Welcome back Sophie! We’ve missed you here in Brixton. It’s great to have you back.
Give us a little travel summary!
“In January, my boyfriend and I set off to India for 10 weeks. I’ve always been drawn to India. The brightly coloured fabrics, smell of spices and sound of sitars were calling me. We started in Kerala in the south and travelled north up the west coast, through Karnataka, Goa and Mumbai before looping round Rajasthan and flying home from Varanasi. This way we experienced a variety of cultures, and also followed the good weather (meaning it never got too hot, and by ‘too hot’ I mean even hotter than our very own hot room!)”
Where was your favourite place?
“A difficult question, as each place we went to seemed so different. One town that really stands out for me is Bundi in Rajasthan. I have never experienced a truer sense of community; everywhere we went we were treated like family. We could not walk down the street without being invited in for chai or without meeting and making new friends. A very shanti place.”
What were the highlights of the trip for you, Sophie?
“Apart from the fact that I got to eat curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner (perfect!) my highlight has to be Holi, the festival of colour, an indescribable sensory bombardment! The endless rhythm of drumming echoes in the air, whilst everyone plays with colour, painting EVERYTHING in sight all the colours of the rainbow… but mainly pink!”
What was your experience of yoga out there?
“It was very different to practising here. Western yoga seems to be but one small thread in a large complex tapestry.”
What are you impressions of India from your trip?
“Everything is more. The blue is more blue. The spice is spicier. The sun is sunnier. The smells are smellier. The diversity is more diverse. The good is better. But the bad is worse.”
What advice would you have for anyone looking to go?
“Try to remain as open to new experiences as possible. See every offer as an opportunity and every stranger as a friend.”
How did you find the people, the culture etc?
“The Indian people are warm, open, kind, generous and hilarious. They have an inspiring outlook on life and speak a lot of sense.”
What would you say is the most important lesson you learnt on your travels?
“I learned that positivity is a choice and that time is the most precious thing we have.”
What were you most looking forward to about coming back to London?
“Being around all the people I love again. Coming home, I am more appreciative than ever of the privileges in our lives: how free I am to choose what I do, where I go and, most importantly for me, who I want to be with.”
Lastly, Sophie, where is your next adventure to?
“India! I am in love with the country and all it contains. It’s so huge and diverse, I feel like I only scratched the surface. Many times I heard myself saying ‘next time’. We actually left with a longer ‘to do’ list than when we arrived!”
Om Shanti Om!
Sophie has also made a special India playlist on Spotify which you can listen to here. This is a range of India music, some very old, some very new, some pure Indian classical, some fusions and some with Indian influences or instruments. Enjoy!