By Sarah Carter
– The Mankayam Waterfalls
As some of you may know I went to Ghana last year volunteering. I really enjoyed the experience, especially learning about a new culture. With this in mind and a big birthday (30 not 40!) I decided to book a holiday which had a mix of culture and relaxation. (And preferably semi decent toilets!)
My search led me to Soul & Surf in Kerala, India. Their focus is on a healthy mind and body through surf, yoga and meditation. You had the option of doing one or the other, both or just lazing around in the beautiful grounds. I decided I would try both the yoga and surf even though I hadn’t done either.
My first day, I went out for a cup of Chai (local tea) and saw the local temple elephant having a bath and a snake charmer in the street!
My attempts at surfing were not great to say the least but when I finally caught my first (wobbly) wave I was happy. After a further 3 hours of battling with the sea’s strong current I managed to get another one. The hard work was definitely worth it when you got back to the massive breakfast that was provided every morning.
Before this holiday I never really bought into the yoga idea, I was always a massive gym bunny but I really enjoyed it. The teacher was amazing and the setting was magical. A rooftop terrace at sunset overlooking the grounds with the sounds of the Sanskrit from the local temple and a bat that always flew past to say hello.
Whilst I was in Kerala it would have been silly not to take a trip on the backwaters. These are canals that connect 5 large lakes, which were originally used for transportation. The scenery was breath taking and so serene, which is good as I risked my life in the taxi on the way there! We nearly crashed 3 times and very nearly mowed a lady down. Our guide told us ‘We make many rules, which we break’. How true!
I had such a fantastic holiday but now I need to try and implement the relaxing time I had at home and maybe at 10. I have a yoga mat on order….
– Kerala Backwaters
Sarah Carter, Assistant Account Executive, intrepid adventurer and junior journalist!