Namaskaram-Namaste from India!
I’ve had you in my thoughts ever since me and my team started to make our trek from the U.S. to Kerala, India! These days with technology and social media, it is almost harder to NOT stay connected, everyone is just a click away these days! I will do my best to send photos and post blogs, as many people have said they want to “vicariously live through my adventures”, so as long as there is internet access, which there is, we should be good to go!
My route to India didn’t begin with a direct flight out of Atlanta. After taking many big trips around the world, I decided to opt out of the direct flight approach and instead break up my trip with one-way tickets and brief stops in between so my body and mind could have moments of decompression. The stress of flying across the world can be hard on the body, so this time I was way more strategic with my itinerary then in the past.
I started my trek by flying from Atlanta into Minneapolis, Minnesota. My best friend and Yoga House Atlanta Assistant Director, Dr. Keme Hawkins was being honored by her undergraduate alum, Augsburg College, during their fall homecoming celebration. Keme received the alums’ annual “First Decade Award” for her accomplishments in academia and her contribution to the arts with the completion of her first screenplay.
From Minneapolis, we flew into Reykjavik, Iceland, which is only surprisingly five hours away from the Minnesota! It just so happened while we were at Augsburg College, one of Keme’s former classmates PJ, who is from Oslo, Norway. He told us while we are in Reykjavik for our layover, we should definitely visit Iceland’s “Blue Lagoon” hot springs.
One of my favorite singers growing up was Bjork, native Icelander whose songs perfectly described the unique landscapes and nature of Iceland from the hot springs, to the volcanoes and forests. I had always wanted to experience Iceland’s hot springs, but I never thought I’d get an opportunity to do it on a layover between flights!
We made sure to pack our bathing suits in our carry-on bags. The people we met in Iceland were so kind and warm, which has been my experience in other Nordic countries like Norway! Everyone was excited for us to get a taste of their country!
Next thing you know, there we were in Iceland at the Blue Lagoon, sipping on champagne in 30-degree weather inside the steaming hot! It was pretty surreal! I wish Chicago had something like this; it would really help with those long winters! It was the BEST cure for jet lag, I HIGHLY recommend this layover trip if you have to fly to Europe, especially from the Midwest! The salt water eased any aches and pains our muscles and joints accrued from our travels.
From Iceland, we headed to the UK! England was one of the first countries I ever visited outside of the Bahamas. I hadn’t visited London in over 10 years! I spent a summer in London back in 2003 taking international law courses through the University of Miami’s Law School and University College London. The summer of ‘03 is when I first officially caught the travel bug and the rest has been history!
It felt wonderful back in my old stompin grounds of Central London! I was surprised at how much the city had changed, it is extremely racially and ethnically diverse, much more than I remembered back in 2003. It really looked like everyone from every part of the world was represented as we walked through the Underground Tube catching trains around the city. I was also surprised with how many delicious vegetarian and vegan restaurant in central London!
Thankfully, we were able to catch a warm Vinyasa yoga class in at TriYoga-Soho in London. We met up with Julie Montagu, the future “Lady of Sandwich” and star of Bravo’s reality show “Ladies of London.”
(Forgive our sweaty shirts, we just finished a warm vinyasa yoga class in 90-degree heat!
I’m blaming my closed eyes in the photo on the post yoga bliss from Julie’s class!)
Taking time out for Julie’s class was another great jet lag saver! Even though Julie is now part of a British royal family, she couldn’t be anymore down to earth and kind! She’s a Midwest girl just like me, so we bonded about our Chicago ties and love for yoga! She was excited to hear we were traveling to India, so she gave us a few travel tips and well wishes!
We connected with Julie, who is one of my yoga students in Atlanta and the three of us took off for Mumbai, India! We had just enough time in the Mumbai airport to have our first Indian meal during the wee hours of the morning at a restaurant inside the Niranta Hotel.
Niranta is a transit hotel inside the airport, right outside of customs. It was the perfect respite between layovers. The Niranta employees made our transition into India nice and smooth! Thank you to Niranta Hotel, especially Rohan and his team for displaying such kindness and hospitality to us weary travelers.
What I loved about the Mumbai airport is their commitment to sharing art in public spaces! It is special little touches like this, which can completely transform a stressful airport travel experience into a culturally rich excursion!
After another few hours, we FINALLY made it to Kerala, known as “God’s Own Country”!
Employees of Manaltheeram Ayurveda & Beach Village
Our India adventure and Shakti retreat has officially begun!
(Robyn, Julie and Keme)
After our Welcoming Ceremony and Blessing with Shiva Rea and the Manaltheeram staff.
Thank you to my parents, family friends, loved ones on the other side, my angels, my supervisors, teachers and students who have supported me in this endeavor and encouraged me to keep following my heart and dreams. I wouldn’t be here without the support of everyone I mentioned! This trip has been years in the making and it is finally here! Lots of love and gratitude to everyone!
To follow the adventure, it is super easy! Just stop by the homepage and get on the list to receive my e-newsletter!
Thank you to my Yoga House ATL team, Keme and Julie who are here and helping to post different photos and experiences at the following Facebook and Instagram accounts: Robyn’s Healthy Living, The Yoga House Atlanta and Mawu Angels (Mawu Travel on Instagram).
Namaste, more to come…
“Its just a fantasy the only regret is permanence,
The life of a modern day gypsy, an unknown destination.
I wake up to new faces from past day’s bruises,
A long journey into some town, exploring the unknown.
Green sanctum reflecting the temple top,
Woken up by the gong of the ancient metals.
Treated like a royal guest, offered a lot of the harvest,
Walking down the symmetric coconut grooves.
I see vessels carrying newest of the goods,
But here they still stick to their roots.
True its a gods own country, abundant beauty,
I’m lost amidst the hills sipping the Malabar coffee.”
Poem by Amit Shroff from Hello Poetry (Bangalore, India)