The beginning of the beginning

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I’ve spent all morning sitting in our lovely little house in Goa, trying to think of something to write, extolling our latest adventures here at the beginning of our new beginning. But the truth is, we haven’t really done anything yet. I’m not even kidding. Over two weeks into our new life in Colomb Bay, we’ve only been in the sea twice. Twice.

I don’t know what I expected the start of our adventure to be like. Amongst all my dreaming, planning and saving, I’m not sure I ever really thought about that part.

As it turns out, our start has been slow and sweet, like wading through molasses. After the past two years of working incessantly to bring our dream to fruition, it has been the slow burner we really needed, perhaps more than we ever even realised, enabling us to relax and regroup and start again.

There is magic here in Goa, of the subtlest kind. The earth is alive, like a beating heart, pumping joy right into your veins. Richness abounds, but not in the material sense. The wealth comes from the gradual opening up of yourself that the land quietly instigates. That’s the gift India bestows upon you, and all you have to do is accept it graciously.

I feel like that is what I am doing right now, in the quiet stillness of our first few weeks; being grateful, and processing the emotions and heartache of leaving one life behind in blind pursuit of another. Because it isn’t easy, in fact I have never found anything more difficult. But it is also wonderful, and so I sit with that knowledge, and patiently let this new way of life trickle in.

I went for a walk along Patnem beach the other morning. It was early and I had the beach to myself, save for a herd of cows and a few stray dogs that happily trotted along the shore with me, each one vying for pride of place beside my hand, ready for a little scratch behind the ear.

When I reached the end of the beach I sat on a rock and watched the morning sun dance across the water. It reminded me of a beautiful quote I love by Harriet Tubman:

I looked at my hands, to see if I was the same person now that I was free. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven.”

I wondered if I was still the same person. I feel so different now, like a great weight has been lifted, and I can move freely again at last. Without that ever present longing that drove me here in the first place, I am left reeling, with a lightness that leaves me feeling bemused and unsteady. I don’t quite know what to do with this new found freedom, perhaps explaining why I have done so little since we first arrived… but it is glorious all the same.

puja

Puja offerings 

I truly love it here. I am more content than I can ever remember being, and take great pleasure in the simplest of things, like driving around on our moped, buying vegetables at the local market and cooking our own meals, lazing around with the cat, feeding the cows that wander through our backyard and getting to know our surroundings.

Our landlady laughs every time she greets us, her kind face expressing more than her limited English is able to. She has one eye that looks off to the side, so I am never quite sure which one to focus on as we talk.

She performs Puja every morning, a Hindu ceremony of thanks and worship. She rings a little bell and chants prayers under her breath as she draws beautiful flowers and symbols on the ground. She conjures up a different design every day, carefully created using a fine powder, then left unprotected to drift and scatter, and be created anew the following morning.

It inspires me to look at my own life in the same way. To create with a sense of freedom, and enjoy the beauty of each moment while it lasts.

So that is how life passes here now. I try to live each day with gratitude, make it as beautiful as I can, and then allow the winds of life to scatter it with all the days that went before, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

And tomorrow, I’m going for a swim in the sea. For the third time.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

claire October 17, 2012 at 15:40

Ahhh Hannah, this is such a beautiful post … and the way you have these incredible quotes to hand is just wonderful. xxxx

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Hannah October 17, 2012 at 15:42

I’m a total quote whore 🙂

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Victoria October 17, 2012 at 15:46

Beautifully described, Hannah. I’m so pleased it’s going well. I seem to have fallen into a bit of a rut of working more than I should. I’m still delighted to be on the road though, and, in 10 days, I’m doing a month-long yoga course – I think it’s exactly what I need to do to refresh and re-stock. I look forward to hearing more 🙂

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:33

Thank you Victoria. Your yoga course sounds wonderful – I would love to do something like that. I’m hoping to sign up to a class while I’m here, though I’ve never really done yoga before so we will see how it goes!

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Tiffany @ theUnimaginedLife October 17, 2012 at 15:50

Hannah,
You have a way with words that even the heavens are envious of….thank you so much for being dedicated and brave enough to accomplish your dream, so that the rest of us are able to read more of these beautiful compositions 🙂

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:39

Tiffany, thank you so much for your lovely comment, I really appreciate your kind words and support 🙂

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Ryan@asiarooms October 17, 2012 at 16:10

Great post Hannah,
Honest and from the heart. I absolutely LOVE your writing style. It’s warming and reassuring. It makes me want to read more.
You’re a real role model.
Continue to enjoy the freedom and the simplicity. You both deserve it.
Ryan

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:41

Wow, thank you so much Ryan, that means the world!

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Gregory October 17, 2012 at 20:31

I feel honored to be a witness to this very early, formative, amazing time in your lives. You inspire me; thank you.

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:42

Thank you Gregory, I’m so happy to have you following our journey 🙂

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Phillipa October 17, 2012 at 20:37

Absolutely beautifully written babe… So descriptive that I feel like I’m there with you. Both of you need to re-charge those batteries of yours before any major exploration or events take place as you’ve worked your ass off to get there. Relish in it…. enjoy it….
I love the Puja drawings… xxx

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:43

Thank you honey. I wish you were here with me xxx

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Rachel October 17, 2012 at 21:11

Another beautifully written offering, Hannah! Why rush to do anything after such a hectic 18months of planning when you have a lifetime to explore? Although, saying that, can’t beleive you’ve only been in the sea twice, especially as it’s literally on your doorstep!

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:48

Thanks Rach! We have been terrible at making the most of the sea, but absolutely brilliant at making the most of the house and the hammock 🙂

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Jeremy or IHeartTravel October 17, 2012 at 22:19

Seems as you’ve begun to just settle and bask in the glory that is your dream being realized. After all you’ve put in to make this a reality, you most definitely deserve it!
Have fun in the ocean !!

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:52

Thanks Jeremy!

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Kim October 17, 2012 at 23:34

Hannah, this post took me to India for a moment, though I have never been there myself. You are such a lovely writer. I can’t wait to continue to learn about India through your eyes.

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:58

Thank you Kim! That means so much, especially coming from such an amazing writer as yourself. It won’t be long before you can see India through your own eyes as well 🙂

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Lindsey October 17, 2012 at 23:35

Hannah! This post was so beautifully touching. It’s fantastic that you have been presented with this wonderful opportunity to relax into your new life. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all, just letting the awe of your situation sink in. I’m incredibly happy for you both that you have this chance to do so 🙂

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 06:59

Thank you Lindsey. It has been a long time coming, so I am definitely making the most of being able to take it slow 🙂

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Savvy Scot October 17, 2012 at 23:40

Your writing never fails to captivate me Hannah! The new life that you both have made for yourselves sounds perfect. 🙂

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 07:00

Thank you so much, what a lovely compliment 🙂

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Tyrhone October 17, 2012 at 23:56

3 times in two weeks! a bit of an over achiever then 🙂
Glad your enjoying it, it is such a strange feeling to suddenly be where you should, doing what you want, when you want it. It takes a bit of getting used to, but trust me, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 07:01

Ha! I know… it’s kind of embarrassing, but hey!

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Patti October 18, 2012 at 02:42

Your life will never again be the same and isn’t that an awesome thing?!

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 07:01

It certainly is, Patti!

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Stephen Schreck October 18, 2012 at 03:58

Hannah, that is one of the many things I like about traveling. Unlike the daily grind at home where you rush around gasping to take a breath, as your life pass you by. But when you are traveling each moment matter. You actually live in the moment whether you are walking the beach with a herd of cows or your land lady (who sounds awesome by the way) doing Puja every morning. These are the moments that are special and unique, where I find out more about myself in a day than I ever could at home. These are the moments I live for.
Keep enjoying life for those of us stuck at home until May 🙂

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 07:03

Well put Stephen, I’m so glad you feel the same way. And yes, our landlady is pretty awesome. Yesterday she had a cow half in and half out of her kitchen, while she gave it a blessing and fed it some corn!

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Danica October 18, 2012 at 13:11

Love, love, love the photos…its beautiful work.
How’s the cat? Where has the dog gone? Miss you x

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:14

The cat continues to meow constantly, but she is lovely! The dog still comes every day as well. He has some food and naps on the porch. It’s not a bad life 🙂

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Rika | Cubicle Throwdown October 18, 2012 at 14:48

A slow burning start is the best kind. When I arrived here, I had to jump right into a hectic schedule of courses. I am going to be finished tomorrow and after that, I’m taking my “slow burn” and going to enjoy my new home the way you are with yours 🙂

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:15

Good for you Rika. Congratulations on finishing your courses, enjoy your well earned rest!

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Hogga October 18, 2012 at 14:56

Wow you’re really living the good life… rock on! Also, jealous of your many swims in the sea. Not fair!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:17

Thanks Lindsay, it definitely is a good life so far 🙂

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Sarah Somewhere October 18, 2012 at 16:33

I love that you’ve done nothing! I think it’s an artform! And I love that you can write about ‘beautiful nothingness’ and make it a work of art too. When we started I was like a kid in a candy store, couldn’t stop moving, 3 days in a place felt like a week. That was not sustainable! Now, I love being settled in a place, balancing something with nothing (or at least trying!).

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:19

Thanks Sarah! Travelling slowly was definitely the right way to start, and besides, I’ll be making up for my lack of adventure when we get in that rickshaw 🙂

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Em October 18, 2012 at 16:37

Congratulations on beginning your journey! I remember that feeling so well when I began my trip of needing to be calm and quiet for a while before setting off on my adventures. Looking forward to following your travels.

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:19

Thanks Em, so glad to have you following along 🙂

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Ashley of Ashley Abroad October 18, 2012 at 17:09

Wow, what a beautifully written post! You are a fantastic writer. I will definitely be following along with your travels in India, and especially the Rickshaw Run Diaries!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:21

Thank you so much Ashley, that is such a lovely compliment! I’m so happy you will be following our journey 🙂

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Brendon Of Nerd Travels October 19, 2012 at 05:51

Amazing post, Very inspiring, I’m so happy for you. I think starting off slow is the perfect beginning :). I look forward to following you on your journey

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Hannah October 20, 2012 at 11:48

Thank you Brendon, I really appreciate that 🙂

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Toni October 19, 2012 at 11:44

I literally had tears in my eyes hearing how happy and free you are – so pleased for you sweet 🙂

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Hannah October 20, 2012 at 11:48

Ah honey, thank you xxx

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Amy October 19, 2012 at 12:47

Beautifully written post – it’s great to see you’re relaxing into your new lifestyle. You’ve made me wish I’d factored in a calming ‘adjustment’ period at the beginning of our trip too instead of scheduling a hectic month whizzing around New Zealand!

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Hannah October 20, 2012 at 11:49

Thank you so much Amy! And yes, the adjustment period was definitely a good idea. We always planned to come here first, back to a place we know and love, allowing us to recharge and prepare for the uncertainty of our future travels 🙂

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Patricia Sands October 20, 2012 at 18:41

I’ve found my way to your fabulous blog through that of my friend Torre De Roche. Way to go for taking on the true adventure of traveling the planet! I’m looking forward to following along.

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Hannah October 22, 2012 at 05:36

Hi Patricia, thank you so much for your kind words, and for taking the time to visit my blog – Torre is a wonderful writer and a huge inspiration. I’m so happy to have you following along 🙂

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Gennifer October 21, 2012 at 03:23

What a beautiful practice. Reminds me of the sand mandalas created by Buddhist monks. Once the mandala is complete, they dump the sand into the sea to symbolize the impermanence of life. Beautifully written post, Hannah!

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Hannah October 22, 2012 at 05:38

Thank you so much Gennifer! And yes, it is very similar in it’s beauty and purity. I look forward to seeing her new designs ever day 🙂

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OurLifeExperiments October 23, 2012 at 03:43

What a happy post! I’m excited to hear what an agreeable time you guys are having.
Maria

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Hannah October 23, 2012 at 12:26

Thank you Maria!

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Dayla October 23, 2012 at 17:08

WOW! I can just hear freedom & peace in your words. May your days be filled with lovely things. Your writing is such a gift.

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Hannah October 23, 2012 at 17:12

Thank you so much Dayla, what a wonderful compliment 🙂

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Hannah Tyler October 23, 2012 at 22:29

It’s Hannah Tyler – Ceri’s friend! Just wanted to say I am really enjoying your blog, very inspiring. Love and light H x

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Hannah October 24, 2012 at 06:54

Hi Hannah! That’s so sweet of you to read my blog and take the time to comment, thank you so much. I hope you are well and happy xxx

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Hannah Tyler October 24, 2012 at 22:31

My pleasure – keep up the good work, I am a fan! 🙂 x I’m great thanks for asking

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Hannah October 25, 2012 at 05:15

🙂

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Marisol October 25, 2012 at 02:49

Hi Hannah, you melted my heart again with your lyrical post. I’m truly so happy that you’re finally where you want to be. I can feel your contentment through your words. Your writing seems to vibrate some kind of serene, spiritual energy.
P.S. Love the photos of your landlady’s offerings to Lakshmi:)

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Hannah October 25, 2012 at 05:14

Wow, thank you Marisol, what a lovely comment. And the Puja offerings are so beautiful aren’t they?! Some of her more recent designs have been incredible. I’m looking forward to seeing how they decorate for Diwali next month 🙂

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Vacay Girl October 30, 2012 at 16:01

How long are you spending there? I wouldn’t worry about rushing to take a swim. When you are able to make time for it the time will present itself. I’m happy you’re happy.

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Hannah November 1, 2012 at 08:40

Thank you so much, what a lovely thing to say. We will be here for at least another couple of months, maybe more 🙂

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Charu November 4, 2012 at 05:49

How lovely that you are doing this! And in my homeland too. I’ve never been to Goa though, despite living in India for years. And now I want to go, and am inspired. Lovely to have “met” you.

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Hannah November 7, 2012 at 07:57

Thank you so much Charu, it’s lovely to meet you too! I hope you can make a trip down to Goa one day, as it really is such a special part of your incredible country 🙂

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