Day 24: MM Hills to Kottaiyur
How small a part of the boundless and unfathomable time is assigned to every man? For it is very soon engulfed in the eternal." Marcus Aurelius
Not only have I conquered the challenge of MM Hills - I've hit the half way mark and walked my 500th km - achieving this feat 3 weeks ahead of schedule - and along the process I have raised over $10,000 for beyondblue. An effort I am extremely proud of.
As I walked down the hypnotic winding road - I took a moment to appreciate the beauty of where I was. I sat down on the edge of a cliff and just listened... listened to the calls of the birds echo through the hills - and that ever slight breeze that previously wasn't noticeable. There was no task that needed to be urgently completed - no worry about the future or past - just me relishing this moment.
Later that day I exited Karnataka and was entered into the state of Tamil Nadu. New culture, new language and all new experiences.
The sun began to set and still had to find a spot where I could set up safely to camp for the night. I was struggling to find anywhere suitable due to the privately owned property. Until that is - one of the many motorcycles that approach me snuck up by my side and asked the usual questions. Pravin said he would guide me to the best spot to camp.
Photos won't do it justice on how spectacular this was - right on the banks of the Kaveri River.
Sometimes I really do feel like I am the guy from An Idiot Abroad. The crowd formed around me as I fumbled my way to set up my Sea to Summit Tent - without the pegs that had done a Houdini and disappeared.
I was just about to pass out for the evening when Pravin and his mates arrived on their motorbikes and stood outside my tent and uttered 5 word of the same sentence I didn't think I would ever hear again after Big Brother.
"Its time to go... Tom"
I was super comfy and came out to quite the crowd - several farmers standing in the distance. It was like an angry mob was about to chase me out of town with their pitchforks.
Pravin laughed and apologised and said I was no longer welcome to camp here anymore as the villagers were scared for their safety. White Man! Whilst I thought it was hilarious, I could understand how I would appear to be an unknown in their territory.
As they always say - carry back up batteries for your torch as it will run out when you need it most. Yep it's true - as I packed up my tent and bag it ran out. I packed everything up in the pitch black and jumped onto the back of the motorbike with Colin and Backpack.. One thing Indians know how to do is load up a motorbike to full capacity.
Pravin took me back to his place where I slept on top of his roof - underneath the stars with the mountains in the foreground. I was back in that present moment where my day began.
Be Here Now. Live in the Present. How simple does that sound in theory yet so hard to put into practice. I frequently talk about this mindfulness practice as it is simething that I continually seek to improve myself.
Life sometimes feels as though we are in this dream - our body just going through the motions and our thoughts in a complete other place. A habit that keeps us away from fully engaging in the right now.
Rerunning events from the past; worrying about future possibilities that in most likelihood will never happen is how a lot of people suffering from anxiety and depression have conditioned their brain to think.
One of the best advice I received for the trip was to "try living the questions in your life, and waiting for the answer to reveal themselves."