All my life I have dealt with loneliness. Ever since I was 10 years old and I had to move to the other side of the world from Korea to the United States, I felt so different from the rest. Even when I came back to Korea 5 years later, I was already too different from other Koreans. The experiences I had, the way that I understood and viewed things had changed too much from the rest of my peers. I became a perpetual alien with no real ties to any particular culture or ideology.
The older I grew, the less relatable my life became. I kept traveling, wandering, trying to find myself, each time absorbing a little bit of the cultures of the countries I lived in and visited – China, Kenya, Mexico, and many more.
I met many people in my life and most of them did not stay. Or rather, I never stayed long enough in one place for the connections to grow. I did meet many helpful and kind people who I was able to stay connected with over the years through school, work, or so-called fate. But still the loneliness was not resolved because these connections often were not deep enough to reach the soul-level of understanding and appreciation of one another.
It’s only when I met romantic partners that I could briefly dampen the feeling of loneliness for a short while. During these moments of euphoria I felt deeply understood and appreciated by another human being because their love for me allowed them to have the patience and acceptance that is otherwise impossible to expect from another person. And in return I also gave them love, understanding, and appreciation to the best of my abilities.
But alas, these euphoric moments did not last. There was a certain point in which our egos clashed and the conflict became too big to resolve and get over. We would keep having the same fights over and over on the same issue. Neither wanted to budge on their own perspective, each thinking they were in the right.
Usually when this happened, I was the one who wanted to call it quits. For me these blocks felt like an impossible wall to get over, and it was like I was banging my head over and over on hard concrete hoping that some day it would hurt less. For me, these blocks seemed to be created by their male ego not being able to see clearly, not wanting to admit where they’re wrong, and/or their desire to submit me into their way of doing/ thinking. For them, the problem was probably caused by my female ego wanting to change who they are and trying to submit them to my way of doing/ thinking.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think we can change people. People can only change when they want to, not for anyone else, but for themselves. And that’s why I often ended up leaving my partners. When we reach that point in which each person just cannot let go of their old ways of looking at things and they’d rather stick to the stories that they’ve told themselves for ages, that is when we have hit the limits of where our egos will allow for a shared universe for love to grow.
Sometimes there was simply a mismatch of what each person wanted out of the relationship. One person wanted something serious while the other was interested in something more casual. Sometimes the love just died a natural death having burned up all its passion for fuel. Otherwise life just led us in different directions. Either way things did not align for us and we had to go separate ways.
Today I realized that all these relationships that I had were not actually failures, but they simply were. A relationship does not have to last forever in order to have been a ‘successful’ one. There is actually no need to judge a relationship as good or bad, a success or failure, but simply to accept it for what it was. And to be thankful for these people that came into our lives to teach us something, to make us feel so intensely alive and to help us forget at least for a short while how truly alone we are in this big, wide universe. And in those moments when we find ourselves alone again, then at least we can write to our heart’s content so that we may share our thoughts with the world hoping that someone out there will empathize and perhaps we can feel just a little bit less alone.
I’ve never heard of Kasar Devi before I came to India. Looking back that’s probably the best sign that it’s the right place to go and get away from the crowd. It was about a 6-hour drive by taxi starting at 6:30 am from Rishikesh, not bad at all. The night bus was an option, but my travel buddy had a foot injury and the convenience of the cab ride was well worth the $100-something USD for the taxi fee.
Nearing the end of the ride, I could finally feel a cool breeze as we slowly ascended the Himalayas in the car to Kasar Devi. A bit further up, we began to see sparsely located shops and guesthouses of the hipster kind. I was happy to see nice cafes and organic goods stores dotting the road as well as a few local shops and restaurants. At some point, we reached Baba’s Cake, a German bakery, where our friend was waiting for us to lead us to our accommodation – Moonlight Hostel – where our friend was already staying.
We had to drive a bit down the hill from Baba’s but within a minute or two we saw the path leading away from the road and down the mountain to the left. We took our bags and made it to the cutest blue hostel surrounded by mountain forest. The first night was a bit chilly but so cozy.
Thus began our one-month-ish stay in Kasar Devi. The next day we moved to a bigger guesthouse nearby that has a gorgeous view from the front patio, for 20,000 rupees. The auntie who owns the house even said she could cook for us for 100 rupees per plate. It was perfect.
Every day we did a trek around finding new routes and gorgeous spots for sunrise. We met with Apurve from Yogic Trails once and did an epic trek towards the waterfall/ lagoon. The scenery was breathtaking.
Kasar Devi is supposed to be one of 3 places on Earth having high electromagnetic waves from solar rays which gives it high vibrational energy, along with Macchu Picchu and Stone Henge. Whether it was true or not, I certainly felt such positive energy from this place due to its peaceful and beautiful natural sights that I felt healed from the inside once my month was nearly over.
Unfortunately we had to leave sooner than expected due to unforseen family business in Mumbai, but the people I met there and the life that I had there was unforgettable. It’s easy to understand why there were so many hippies in the 60-70’s who came here for psychadelic voyages at the infamous Hippie Hill or Crankshaw Ridge.
Do visit the famous Kasar Devi temple where Swami Vivekananda did his meditation and upon completion, decided to go to the US to spread the knowledge of Yoga to the world.
Canacona can be found below Agonda, at the very south of Goa. It is home to Palolem Beach among other beaches and is a very cute, relaxed neighborhood that you could easily spend a few days to months if you wish to. I had the chance to stay with a friend about a month in this area and here are the 10 things that I would recommend you do if you happen to find yourself here.
- Go to the infamous Patnem chai shop
This is a very cute and famous chai shop in Patnem that you should go at least once if you’re in the area. Ask for a chai and the omelet which will come with an egg yolk in the middle. The local legend has it that a girl invented this style.
2. Learn some yoga
This is a great place if you wish to take a yoga class or two. Some places I can recommend are Bhakti Kutir and Anand Yoga Village. These are certainly not the only places you can find yoga classes, you can find plenty of information if you check around the sign boards around town for yoga classes among other activities.
3. Visit the beaches
There are plenty of pretty beaches you can go to such as Palolem, Patnem, Rajbag, Galgibag, Talpona, and Butterfly Beach. I liked Rajbag because you could see both the backwater and the beach on both sides, and Galgibagh is also called the Turtle Beach, and is a protected area with no shops/ restaurants which makes it the cleanest beach. If you are in Talpona beach you can try the two local restaurants for affordable and delicious local seafood dishes.
4. Bike Ride around
The best way to get around is by scootie. There are plenty of rental shops around, if you rent for a month it will be cheaper, but do ask around and bargain for cheaper deals, especially if you’re there during monsoon time as it’s off-season.
5. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
If you feel more adventurous for some jungle trekking and waterfall spotting, go to the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. The famous waterfall is the Mainapi Waterfall, but you need to do a 45 km trek so go in the morning, otherwise they won’t let you in after 2 pm.
6. Catch the Sunsets
Head out around 6 pm and find a nice spot to catch the sunset. Any beach area is an excellent spot, I like Talpona because you can also eat at the restaurants there. Take your bike and stop at any random spot where you can catch the golden sky, it will be even more magnificent if it’s a cloudy day.
7. Eat Around
There are many good restaurants around to eat nice veg/fish thalis, Indian, Goan, Western, vegan and seafood options. Some of my favorites are Cafe Kashish for north Indian food, Bibhitaki for healthy vegan food, Cafe Karma for nice smoothies and snacks, La Fetta for authentic pizza and pasta,
8. Party at Kala Bahia
If you want to party head to Kala Bahia during the weekend for a nice dance session with cool DJs. Some other cool spots for the nightlife are Piccolo Dream’s for some pool, and the Traveler’s Blue Bus for funky afro music nights.
9. Explore around
Rent a car or bike to explore around the area, and don’t hesitate to take unknown roads. You can visit Leopard Valley, hike to Butterfly Beach, go up to Agonda, or turn towards the jungle and explore there.
10. Hardcore Chilling
Don’t forget to hardcore chill in South Goa! Take in the nature that surrounds you in the roads, the houses, all the birds and wildlife you can see and the fresh air that you can breathe for free in this area.
Breakups are hard. Another human being that you were so emotionally and psychologically close to can become a stranger to you in just a matter of one day.
Even if the relationship was not ideal or you knew deep down that something was not quite right – still you let someone into your life and you shared your joys and troubles together. Now it’s no more and you feel the deep void that that person has left you.
But for me nothing is worth suppressing my soul’s call to search for my complete freedom and independence – not even love. I have made this decision countless times in my life and I know I will make it countless times more.
If there is a beginning, there is also always an end. I’m understanding that the end of a relationship is a necessary part of letting someone go. Missing them and wondering how they are, processing the anger and grief, is all part of the process. With time these feelings will subside and eventually you will be ready to meet someone new again.
There is a big old puppy at the hostel that I’m staying at currently. The way that he curls up right next to me and looks up at me with eyes of pure adoration is just too cute and makes my heart melt a little.
Wow it’s been a damn JOURNEY in India my friends.
I never in a million years expected to fall in love with an old friend while doing the yoga training.
And after two and a half months later I finally made the difficult decision to leave him so that I can dedicate myself to pursuing my dreams of becoming a self-employed creative/ artist.
This brief and intense relationship taught me so much about what my ego is like and who I am – what I like and don’t like, what kind of life do I want, what kind of partner and relationship do I want, etc. And just when I had confidently told myself that I was done with “finding myself in relationships”, life reminded me that maybe I’m not as sure as I think in the things that I want.
I do believe that self-discovery and self-realization is a life-long journey that never really ends, but each year I am at least becoming more and more sure that I want to be an independent, free-spirited, creative outlet for sharing my ideas, thoughts, and feelings. And I fully understand and accept that it will be quite challenging in the beginning before I am able to establish myself as a self-sufficient artist, but I am just not going to run away from or procrastinate on working towards my dreams because of this fear anymore.
I’m grateful for everything that happened since I came to India, I feel that now I have more courage, self-confidence, and discipline to actually achieve my goals in life. And a little bit less confused of what I want in life than before. Still confused as hell of course but hey at least it’s progress
I really hope to share more of my writing, art, music, etc. with you in the future. I choose to keep believing in myself and my creations, do whatever boring but necessary things I need to do in order to make my dreams a reality, and most of all, enjoy the ride and be patient with the process.
Wish me luck. Namaste everyone