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Writer’s Notes From Agonda Beach, Goa

a person on agonda beach goa

A Writer’s Diary from Agonda Beach Goa (India)

 

It’s almost afternoon. We have taken a corner table in the restaurant of our Agonda beach (Goa) guesthouse. Sunlight is abundant but we aren’t under direct sunlight.

Indian ocean rush to the sandy shore. When the high waves crash against the beach, I get transported to the balcony of my parent’s home. I close my eyes. Standing in the verandah of my two-storey childhood home, I see our neighbor’s roof. Since I was little I have seen a mound of dry wooden logs and cow dung cakes kept under a blue plastic sheet on their cemented rooftop. In my lucid dream, I hear the sheet rattle in the wind. The covers writhe and clatter under the brittle branches and rusted metal junk but they can’t let loose. Soon my father calls me inside.

I open my eyes. The ocean is free.

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Cultural Differences, a Friend For Life, and Diwali in Chile

in chile in cauquenes with friends teaching english in chile

Covid-Related Travel Update, July 2022: Chile is open to international tourists. Visit the Chilean government’s official website for travel-related information and regulations. Don’t forget to read the government’s rules to be followed in public spaces here. My guide to Chile visa would be helpful for Indian citizens.

 

It is Diwali and I’m reminded of a Diwali I spent with three crazy Chilean sisters in a country home of Chile five years ago. Damn! It has been five years. The narrative tells just how different two cultures can be.

 

In 2016, I had been volunteering as an English teacher with the English Open Doors program in Chile. I was in the south of Chile on the Chiloé island in its capital city Castro. Like other volunteers I stayed in a Chilean home. The house had my bubbly host mother, other Chilean borders, and two more volunteers from England and the US.

It was Diwali and also an extended weekend in Chile. My host mother was visiting her relatives. Other housemates were traveling.

I had made many friends by then but Gabriela, another English teacher on the island, had become a special one. She invited me to a countryside family get-together with her two elder sisters. They were going to their parental home in Cauquenes, a small town in Southern Chile, to celebrate Gabby’s daughter Javiera’s eighteenth birthday.

Either I could’ve gone with Gabriela or traveled with an English volunteer best friend and housemate (and his other friends) to another cool place. (This things to do in Chile travel blog from my experiences will help you plan your trip.)

But spending Diwali with three crazy Chilean sisters sounded much more fun than talking about foreign things with other foreign travelers. So I packed my bags, took a bus to Gabby’s house, and together we took another bus to Cauquenes.

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The Pandemic, Start of Our Indefinite Nomadic Journey, Crossing Barricaded Indian State Borders, Collective Helplessness, and Fundraiser Campaigns

hiking in the himalayas

On Indian Roads Amidst the Second Wave of the Pandemic, Collective Feeling of Helplessness, Fundraisers, And Hope

Here in Himachal Pradesh.

I’ve finally ended up in the Himalayan mountains of Himachal Pradesh, and I would live here for the next few months. This mountain excursion was always the plan for the summer and now as my fingers freeze, I wonder why I chose Himachal. Because I love the mountains or because I’m familiar with the Himalayas from my last four-month trip to Dharamshala in 2019?

In the Shimla area of the mountains where I’m at, summer is not well-known. Locals talk about hailstorms and snowfall even during the months of May to July when the plains of India scorch. During the summers, rains in the lower part of India are scarce but right now heavy rain falls outside my one-bedroom-and-hall house. I have kept the netted house door open by sticking a thick foot mat between the door and its frame. The temperature is no more than 11 degrees outside but when all the doors and windows are closed I stifle, a claustrophobia I picked up, perhaps, by growing up in a very open garden-facing independent house of my parents.

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Highs and Lows of the Year 2020 – 2021 Plans Included

First of all, I thank my loyal and kind readers who return to On My Canvas time and again. Without you, this blog wouldn’t be this positive, experimental, and inspirational place it is becoming. I appreciate your company and promise to keep this platform as peaceful, honest, fun, and informative as I had intended on Day One. 

To stick around to see for yourself, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. There I send weekly updates, my writing, best thoughts of the week, things I have been reading, off the hook travel tips, stuff I’ve been watching, and my life updates, too. It is the best way to stay connected with me.

If you like the kind of ideas I share, you will find that newsletter informative, enjoyable, and compact. So go here and subscribe now, or use the subscription box below. Welcome along in this journey of travel, discovery, and personal growth 🙂

Now let us talk about 2020. 

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Three Thriving Years of On My Canvas – And Future Plans

priyanka gupta in dandeli

And just like that, On My Canvas completed three thriving years on the internet.

Congratulations to us all who have been part of this budding platform through which I want to spread love, life, and hope. I cannot thank my readers enough for sticking with me all the while, for sending me immensely inspirational messages day and night, and for asking me to write more and more. On some hard days, I could not have done it without your endless emails and witty comments.

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Chile Visa Fiasco – When I Was Stranded at the Bolivia-Chile Border

flags-in-the-salar-de-uyuni-tour-of-bolivias-salar-de-uyuni image used as feature image for bolivia and chile visa controversy for indians

Covid-Related Travel Update, July 2022: Chile is open to international tourists. Visit the Chilean government’s official website for travel-related information and regulations. Don’t forget to read the government’s rules to be followed in public spaces here. My guide to Chile visa would be helpful for Indian citizens.

 

When I Couldn’t Get a Chilean Visa at the Border and Bolivia Wouldn’t Take me Back.

My cheeky Canadian friend Alison walked towards me from the immigration counter at the Bolivia-Chile border in San Pedro de Atacama. Fanning herself with the green Chile tourist card that boasted her free entry into Chile for ninety-days, she smiled.

Now it was my turn. The young immigration officer looked at me and gestured me to come closer. I walked to his desk. He asked for my passport. I slid my blue passport through the gap under the glass that stood erect between us. 

Instead of handing me a green card as he issued to other tourists, the officer turned the pages of my passport and squinted to read the various visas and immigration stamps I had collected over the years. When he found my Chile temporary resident visa stamped on one of the passport pages, he asked for my RUT. 

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 Travel During Pandemic – Everything You Need to Know

driving solo is the best way to travel in pandemic

Coronavirus and Travel:

  1. All About International Travel and Coronavirus Travel Restrictions
  2. All About Domestic Travel and Coronavirus Travel Restrictions
  3. How to Move Around in India
  4. Ways to Travel in Your Country
  5. Things to do before traveling
  6. Safe Travel Practices
  7. Travel Resources

 

Traveling in a Pandemic

 

[Update – March 5, 2021 – Even if international travel has opened up, I don’t recommend it at all. I have cancelled all my international trips this year. And as I don’t recommend trips out of our home country, I’m not updating the inter-country travel information below.

I’m only planning to travel in India, wherever it seems the safest, in my own car, staying at isolated accommodations, avoiding sightseeing.]

 

When I made that one-day trip to Delhi for some essential work at the beginning of March, I didn’t know that that would be the only travel for months to come. Else I would have stuffed myself with the Bengaluru airport’s crispy masala dosas that I so love. 

Or if I had known that my two-day road trip to BR Hills in February was the only jungle vacation I would take in the many ensuing months, I would have extended it by a few days. Seeing those sloth bears sprint in front of our jeep and leopards hiding behind the thickets could never get tiring. 

But I’m not clairvoyant, not yet. 

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What Travel Has Taught Me – About the World and Myself

a park in basavanagudi bangalore as feature image for lessons from traveling article

I’m not here to quote Robert Frost (even though I took the road less traveled) and suggest you to leave everything and travel. Here we want to understand why so many people wander around the world in search of something bigger than themselves.

Why do so many people change their careers and lifestyles to travel? Sometimes even indefinitely?

Do they travel to see new places and eat different food? Or to fill their passports with stamps? Or to be able to say at their deathbed that they have seen the world?

Could be. But it is more than that.

Let me take you through what travel has taught me.

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