Day 10 - Arekadu to Sunkadahalli
There was an eerie morning mist as gunshots echoed through the valley of coffee plantations. Gunshots to scare off the elephants who had been sighted only a km away. I was warned to keep a look out through the forest I was crossing through.
Took me right back to the walking safaris in Africa - whilst you feel vulnerable - you feel alive as the adrenaline pumps! All my senses are hypersensitive to my surroundings as I am in the direct hands of nature.
Lucky for me - there was no elephant sightings - despite all the cars honking their horns and disturbing the quiet serenity. I did, however, have my closest call yet as a car overtook another on a blind corner only to miss me by a bee's dick.
Nothing I could really do but shake my fist. Started laughing with remembering the episode of the Simpsons - "Shake harder, boy!"
I had no plan of where I was going - decided to give my legs a real nudge and just push through until the sun starts to go down.
I walked alongside the Kaveri River and noticed a sweet looking bridge - was going with my gut feel as it indicated no roads on my GPS - it seemed like a good idea to get deeper into the villages. Every few kms I arrive at a new village - each having their own distinct characteristics.
I was guided to take a 'shortcut' through a farm - only to arrive at a Buddhist Monastery. Turns out it was Koppa, one of the largest settlements of Tibetan refugees in India.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a pack of street dogs. I tried to use the advice Ace Ventura gave me and to blend in with the locals but the dogs were clearly racist as they barked "White Devil." Whilst, I do have pepper spray, I couldn't think of a more inappropriate place to use it in a Buddhist community. Remain confident is my mantra - and they eventually go on their way.
I pulled up stumps 40kms from where I started. It was a day where I felt at my most vulnerable - physically pushed and my fate in control by outside means.
Feeling vulnerable and not showing emotion - especially as a male - is engrained in our macho Australian culture to hide - often due to its association with weakness. It can be a daunting prospect - as the fear of judgment, failure or feeling hurt becomes overwhelming.
That fear of failure and being hurt has certainly got me rattled at times. And in certain aspects still does.
Without getting all self helpy on you - in the back of my mind when I do have these feelings I try and remember that feeling vulnerable is one of the greatest 'risks' you may ever take to learn about yourself and what you can really achieve.
Sometimes you need to throw yourself in that fucking deep end to learn how to swim. It may be signing up to that course you've always wanted to do, travelling to a foreign destination or perhaps even starting a convo with a bunch of randoms. All these - and more - takes balls.
Be confident and trust yourself. Remember it's always okay to put your hand up and ask for help along the way.