1579 Kilometers (981 miles) South

Gema Benavides Jimenez


January 14, 2019

Grains of sand between my toes, whistling waves that softly caress my legs
when hitting the shore, rays of sun that my cheeks and chest and the taste
of salt in my skin-small pleasures of life that I only came to truly
appreciate when I left my city in the coast of Spain 3 years ago.

Instead, sweet, freezing and transparent were the waters that accompanied
me for the past two years – Storytelling by the shore of the river or
watching it from the top of the Old Bridge with such a strong current,
became while in Mostar, the new pleasures in my life. Luckily this time, I
enjoyed and appreciated such pleasures before they were snatched away from
me.

Therefore, I started to realize that my steps have always been guided by
beautiful sources of water – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Neretva
River — Therefore, it is not too hard to tell how much I missed being a
natural source of water, where I could feel a little bit more like home.

Sadly, Pune’s highly polluted river was not exactly the views I was craving
for. Nevertheless, the South Indian state of Kerala had exactly the
landscapes and the space I was so desperately looking for.

Ready to embark on an adventure, I decided that I for 5 days of my
Independent travel I would head with my backpack, 1579 kilometers south of
Pune and hop from beach to beach and from hostel to hostel.

Started from the capital of the state of Kerala (which by the way, has an
unpronounceable name- Thiruvananthapuram) where I stayed with a friend from
a GCY host family and got to experience true Keralan cuisine. There, I went
to probably one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to – Kovalam
beach. No matter if I was wearing a long sleeve kurta (traditional Indian
wearing) and the levels of humidity, where the sky, but at the moment I
step to feet on the sand my soul was filled and my mind was clear.

Once revitalized, I left early in the morning of the next day on a train
with destination to Allepey– famous for its amazing and unique backwaters. Not
gonna lie, but I was a bit skeptical about how stunning this place was
really going to be since everyone around me had hyped it up so much.
Nevertheless,
all I have got to say is that my trip on the local ferry around Allepey’s
surrounding areas, where the best spent 3 hours of my life (and also the
best spent 80 rupees = 1 euro)

The views were just spectacular and the peace I felt was as if I was
already in Heaven – the only wish that I had been that I could have shared
such a beautiful moment with someone really meaningful to me, like a family
member or a close friend.

Nevertheless, as I was supposed to leave it, I also knew I would be back
again one day, so I took the train to my next and final destination with
determination.

Fort Kochi was a beautiful, calm and a kind place to be. Even though the
beach was not as graceful as the first one I visited, the colorful and
original clothes displayed all around the sidewalk near the beach and its
welcoming people made up for it.

Lastly, right before leaving, I met my Teach for India mentor’s parents
(basically, the parents of the woman I work with at my apprenticeship) who
are from there. And, what I better way to finish my adventure than on a
ferry ride to the other side of Kochi and tasting homemade south Indian
food?

Coming back to Pune after such a wonderful trip did not just recharged my
batteries for my time left in India. My trip also brought a lot of
positivity and a renewed sense of adventure to my life. Furthermore, it
reminded me of the importance of appreciating small details and random
gestures of kindness from strangers.
Trip rating: 100/10





Gema Benavides Jimenez