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A Perfect Travel Moment. Have You Ever Reached the Traveling Nirvana?

Visualize a particular moment in time, a place where you are young, carefree and without a worry in the world. Every single possession you own is encased in the canvas bag, that is strapped to your back. There are none of life’s burdens that seem to magically attach themselves to your body, weighing you down like the lead blocks of a divers belt. For once in your life you are free to swim with the current, instead of continually trying to swim against it.

The Auspicious Lord Shiva

The key elements required to finding you’re traveling nirvana are good company, and time. With time on your side you are granted that feeling of not needing to be anywhere else, but where you are for that exact moment. That feeling or sense, where the clock seems to slow down, and for what is only a nanosecond in terms of your life, you are completely engulfed in that moment, there is no tomorrow, only today.

Engulfed In The Moment – There Is No Tomorrow, Only Today!

I’ve had only but a few of these encounters whilst traveling, but the one that stands out amongst all others, was in India in 1996. Liza and I were making our way overland from Europe to Australia, and had traveled through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Nepal before heading south to India.

After five hard months on the road, we were tired and needed to chill, to recharge the battery’s before cranking the motor once again, and pushing on eastward towards home. We stopped at Goa for a month, and it was a memorable moment of the trip, but I didn’t reach that point of a traveling nirvana, until we headed a little further south, to the small seaside town of Gokarna.

Liza and Mick, kicking back in the chai hut after another beautiful sunset.

The name Gokarna literally translates to cow’s ear, and legend has it that the auspicious Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of the cow, right from this very place. The rendezvous, was arranged by George, a good friend of ours from London, who was on the inside when it came to travel in India.

I say this because Gokarna was a place little known to other travellers at the time, and was not mentioned in any guide book (I believe it has become allot more well known now).

After our time there, it appeared that the beaches of Gokarna where a place where India’s hard core travellers would congregate, after Goa was becoming more and more touristy as each year passed. We’d all arranged to meet in Gokarna on a set date, with people coming from all directions, and great distances to be here. Some of whom we already knew, and others we would meet for the first time.

Gokarna Was Where India’s Hard Core Travelers Would Congregate

Once we were all in town we spent the night sleeping on the roof of a local guest house, before rising early the next day and trekking the short distance over the hills to the South, and onto what would become our home for the next eight days, Kudle Beach.

The infamous chai hut, where we would spend many hours attempting to solve the worlds problems.Kundle Beach Was In No Way A Paradise Found

In relation to the view, Kudle beach was in no way a paradise found. With its non discrete sandy shores, and rocky headland’s to the north and south, it was no different than a thousand other beaches dotted around the world, but that didn’t matter.

There was no real infrastructure, except for a couple of chai huts and one or two very basic restaurants, all constructed from thatch, banana leafs and with compressed cow dung floors.

There were no roads leading in, so everything had to be carried on foot. We would spend long days, sitting in a chai hut perched on a large rock overlooking the water, or body surfing the small but plentiful waves that crashed into the shores.

Every evening at dusk would be a mad scramble to get everyone together, to sit and watch the sunset. Our bed for the next eight nights was the small grass covered dune that run the length of the beach, just above the high tide mark.

At Night We’d Sleep Under Clear Skies And Watch For Shooting Stars

Each night we would sleep under clear skies, having a chat and watching for shooting stars before falling asleep, then waking the next day to do it all again. One day led into the next, and it seemed that everyone was on the same wavelength and we could have stayed there for months. Come to think of it we didn’t achieve much during those eight days, but that’s what made it so great.

From this short but special time, we made many life long friends, and from time to time, often over a few drinks, we reminisce about that Indian summer and the laughs we had.

For those now on the road that find themselves in a similar scenario, don’t rush off to that next destination. Stop and savour the moment as long as possible, as experiences like this are rare. For others who have had similar times like these before, I would love to hear about them. Last but not least, to the Gokarna crew of 96, Lyz, George, Mick, Lach, Jane, Tim, Scott, Jill, Maryann, Murv and Sarah thanks for the memories.

A Little More About The Author

Jason has traveled the world extensively during the last 20 years, with overland journeys on six continents and across over 90 countries. This site serves as a chronicle of the images and tales from these journeys, as well as offering advice and general information for other like minded travelers.

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  1. Gokarna is my favorite as well…. been there during monsoon season when everything was washed out… 1996 would have been absolutely desolated…

  2. Yorgo says:

    Great to find your post.. I reached that nirvana moment in Kudle beach a year after you were there, in 1997. I actually stayed in the same chai shop on the rock. The feeling was so great that I ended up staying there 5 months that first time. And went back the next winter, and the next, and every single winter since then. I fell totally in love with Kudli beach and the people there, local and foreign. To update Kudli has certainly changed now.. there are many more rooms, restaurants and travellers now. There are internet cafes and fancy rooms with fans. There is even a road from town. These changes came gradually and more so in just the last 5 years. But Kudle has managed to keep that magic that you felt back then in 1996 and I’m hoping it will stay that way. Maybe you come by and visit again. That nirvana moment doesn’t necessarily have to be a short one. I’ve been living it in Kudle for 15 years now, its evolved and transformed over the years but its just as beautiful as the first time!

    • Jason says:

      Hey Yorgo, Well that comment was certainly a breath of fresh air. I certainly loved the whole atmosphere of the Kudle beach and I’m pleased to know that although it has had somewhat of a transformation over the years that it hasn’t changed to much. 15 years is a long time to live in a place like Kudle, so it must be as chilled out as ever. It was great to hear from someone who saw the early incarnation of Kudle as did I. Safe travels Yorgo, and thanks for stopping by….

  3. Nice post! For me it’s always a perfect moment to travel :)

  4. Jade says:

    Totally agree that travel nirvana depends on your time and the company you keep. Just did a RTW with my best friends and it was definitely travel nirvana! It’s almost the smaller moments that make it perfect. Like climbing Mt. Fuji was awesome… but eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches and telling jokes half way to the top is one of my favorite memories. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jason says:

      Thanks Jade. Sounds like you had some good times on your RTW trip. I’ve climbed a couple of mountains myself, and sometimes the laughing and joking around with friends is required, to allow you to relax a little before pushing on.

  5. Lovely post — wrote one on a similar topic, if you want to browse it — http://su.pr/1B02Qi — Being in “The Zone” on the Road

  6. Suzy says:

    Cool idea for a post. Your travel nirvana moment reminded me of stumbling upon this beach in Sardinia. It has since made its way into guidebooks but at the time, I felt like the only person to view such a spectacular sight. I took the time to turn down some nothing road to view one of the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen. If I hadn’t, my travel moment would have passed me by so agreed on slowing down on your travels.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for your input Suzy. In this modern world, sometimes it’s hard to slow down, but if you take a chance, you just never know whats waiting around the next corner. I’ve never been to Sardinia, and after a quick Google, I think it needs to go on the list of future travel destinations.

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