I think the most relevant local phrase I learned in my 10 months of living in Kerala was Nyan Sandosha Vadiyaane – I am very happy. It was a feeling that stayed with me until the day I boarded the plane back home and said goodbye to one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced.
Starting this travel blog has been something I wanted to do for a very long time. I think it is suitable to dedicate one of my first posts to the place that gave me the push to start and gave me memories, pictures, people and places that will stay in my heart forever.
This isn’t really an informative travel post, nor is it some crazy travel story. It’s simply a post of appreciation towards Kerala and the Mallu community for making the past few months of my life, the best months of my life.
Kerala is a state in the southern part of India, and is a tropical heaven, filled with lush greenery and coconut trees. It is known for its beautiful tea plantations and its backwater experiences, as well as its delicious Malabar cuisine and gorgeous sand beaches, among many other things.
Kerala became home for me very quickly.
The people of southern India, and especially those in Calicut (or Kozhikode) where I was living, turned from strangers to friends to family. If I got lost, or needed help with directions, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask the uncle standing on the street side on his phone. Malayalee people (people from Kerala) are one of the kindest peoples I have come across to this day.
The most vivid thing I remember about Kerala are the coconut trees. I remember the plane descending onto the airport in Calicut and right before landing, seeing the entire city sprawled with coconut trees. They’re everywhere and they make everything beautiful. A simple drive on a local road became a journey through a tropical paradise.
My 10 months of living in Kerala mostly consisted of me working at CREST, with students from all over the state, while taking some days to explore the beauty of God’s Own Country.
I had the privelege to explore different districts such as Wayanad, Trivandrum, Thalissery, Kasaragod, Kochi, Palakkad and a few more that don’t come to mind right now. I was able to discover the absolute joy of riding on an open train, watching India blur past me, and fall in love with it, more and more everyday.
I got to meet all kinds of wonderful people, from the chechis who would feed me and give me chai at the local bakery, to the amazing students who became family, to the bikers who I met on travels, to the old couple who quite literally saved my life, to the girls who took me into their home for the night without knowing anything about me, to every single stranger who struck up conversation with me and left me in awe of the beauty of this land.
To think that a few months before living there, I hadn’t even heard about Kerala, and now, months later, I remember every moment of my time there so vividly, as if it had happened yesterday.
I miss the beaches, with the orange orb of the sun reflect on it every evening. I miss the street food, and the pineapples soaked in vinegar on the street stalls. I miss my friends who I would go out with, laugh with and make memories with. I miss my dance classes, where I finally got an opportunity to learn more about a hobby I’ve always loved. I miss the coconut trees that were everywhere, and gave me peace. I miss the train rides, the travels, the scenery. I miss Kerala.
Kerala becomes what you make of it, the arms of this state are open wide, and now I know why it is referred to as God’s own Country. It can be a honeymoon destination, a quick stop in a tropical paradise, a home to live in, a place to find good food, and for me, it became my home. I think perhaps in another life, I may have been a Mallu girl.
And someday, I’ll definitely be back!
Thank you Kerala, for being my sweet beginning to the world of travel, living abroad, and learning what it means to see the world in a genuine, real way. Thank you to each and every lovely person who I met in my 10 months there who showed me what humanity is, and gave me hope for the future of our world.
Thank you for guiding me towards myself, recognizing who I am and knowing where my passion and mission lays. I discovered more about myself while I lived in Kerala than I had in my entire life.
I may travel to all kinds of different places, and all the corners of the world, but Kerala, you will always have a sweet spot in my heart.
The world is a beautiful place and I’m so excited to explore the rest of it. Thank you Kerala for being my sweet beginning. I’ll be back soon ❤. Here’s to finding reasons to smile, dreaming big, and exploring the whole wide world 🌍