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Why Do I Explore? Landscapes

My adventures normally take place amongst massive landscapes and impressive wild places. But not my walk across India, for example. This project was about normal-ness. I was not seeking out the Top Ten Tourist Highlights of India. I did not see the Taj Mahal. I was looking for ordinary India (what an oxymoron!). And I completely loved what I found. For landscapes and wonder and beauty can be found wherever you look. You’ve just gotta look…

I walked through everyday India but there were places of beauty too. They started with the sandy beach where I began the walk, on the Coromandel Coast. Waves rolled gently up the beach and the hot air smelled of the sea. It was a fine-looking setting to begin a journey and blissfully distant from the British winter. I lifted up my rucksack and began walking.

Then there was the hot scrub, the road shimmering ahead, the dusty earth and low trees. Everything motionless and silent except for the crunching excitement of a family of wild elephants walking by. And I’mm staring at them awestruck, afraid, as small as a world and as large as alone.

Hundreds of miles, hundreds of views later my route wiggles through hilltop coffee estates. I love the aroma of fresh cardamom, the hum of beehives and the teak trees hung with creepers and dripping with moisture. Birds screech and cicadas click feverishly. The river is small and boisterous now, bouncing down boulders and round bends. And I have all this to myself. Not bad, I reflect smugly, for an arbitrary, unheralded strip of India untouched by the Sunday newspapers’ Best of India Features.

So just find yourself a landscape for your own. Go find it. Go explore. Just Go.

This text is an extract from There Are Other Rivers, available as a giant mappazine or a free Kindle sample.

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  1. More wonderful writing from Alistair – my favourite blogger of all.

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