By Nathalie M…

Does travelling to India on your own sound like bad idea?

In 1996, I travelled with my backpack for 2 1/2 months in amazing India.

It has taught me so much about going slowly and enjoying the moment but it was stressful, it’s so different and you never knew what is next.

When I decided to go to Kerala for a week it sounded crazy.  Kerala was on my “Bucket List” since a very long time. It is a south-west Indian State and is in the middle of the time difference between Australia & France, I thought, “Perfect for a stopover”.

Phil Feldman, of Above-Below & Beyond, helped me with the planning and execution of the adventure. I was asked by him, when there, to collect information, contacts and live the experience of a “middle age” woman, on her own, willing to travel in Kerala and then share about “God’s Own Country”.

This was so easy and so well organised. Just out of the plane, I was met and welcomed by the excellent staff of Pioneer Personalised Holidays. Phil organised them as the “ground crew” and made sure all went well. It’s so simple when someone takes care of you. No worries to find a taxi and a hotel in the middle of the night.

It was amazing for me, when I remembered how many hours I have been waiting for buses, taxis, or even an answer on my previous trips. To have a driver always on time waiting for me and ready to go is a blessing. The team at Pioneer did everything and made sure that all was ‘seamless” (at least it appeared so to me).

In one week, I visited Munnar, Thekkady, Vagamon, Lake Vembanadu, Fort Cochin and Cherai Beach. All those places are so clean, there are no beggars, no hassling. Kerala is not the same India as in Mumbai, Delhi, Agra. It’s not so busy and crowded. It’s peaceful, it’s green, poverty isn’t in your face.

The people of Kerala are proud and so they should be. The State boasts one of India’s highest literacy rates, highest life expectancy and lowest child mortality rates. The literacy rate for women is one of the highest in all of Asia.

The cuisine is so nice it is hard to try everything. The spices come from the garden.

All the hotels, I visited were so clean and mostly well organised. The internet and the mobile phone work! No queuing for hours to talk to your family overseas.

I visited some places so quiet you could stay there to practice yoga and write a book.

The 4 Ayurveda massages I enjoyed helped me with my backache and I felt so good after each one I would like to learn more about Ayurveda.

If you still don’t think Kerala is for you, let me tell you it is magic. I met a princess … and even Jude Law in Kerala.

Luckily, some fog blocked Abu Dhabi Airport causing a delay in my return so I could stay two more days in … Incredible Kerala!

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