The solo traveller’s guide to glamping in Goa’s Elsewhere Resort(http://www.aseascape.com/).
I was never a natural-born traveler. I was always rather timorous, particularly when it came towandering off to foreign lands all on my own. Over the years however, I seem to have undergonesome type of metamorphosis: my butterfly wings are finally flapping, allowing this formerly shynymph to break through her cocoon and emerge a new brightly coloured, rather spiritedChrysalis(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupa). Thereafter, I found that I could no longer keep to the well-tread path, but longed for the exotic, the unknown and the new.
That being said, my tastes were still not those of your average, burgeoning backpacker. I was a truecreature of comfort and, although I enjoyed being in nature, I preferred to vacation in luxury, with allits’ given amenities. Well, the gods seemed to have finally heard and heeded my thoughts with theinvention of “glamping”: think camping without the pre-requisite pain and the labor, only all the perksand lux.
There’s Nowhere like Elsewhere
“An isle full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, That give delight and hurt not”- Shakespeare
This brings me to my most recent discovery the Elsewhere resort(http://www.aseascape.com/), anotherrough, uncut jewel hidden in the heart of a part of North Goa. To visit Elsewhere is to venture intosomewhere never envisaged. It is quite exquisite, to put it simply, “glamping” at its best.
I am a writer and to write, I need to research. I am also obsessive, which means that I will leave norock uncovered, no page unturned, until the point at which I feel that I have been apprised of and thuscan accurately appraise every aspect and facet of my most current obsession.
I never trust other travel writers. I have no faith in reviews. So I write to the hotel to ask aboutinformation I have read or they have given. I want to speak to someone ‘face-to-face’, as it is onlythrough their voice that I may achieve a veritable feel for a place. Are they abrupt, hurried, indifferentand uncaring or warm, welcoming and kind? It makes a difference, believe me.
Noreen and Barbara, the managers of the resort, were the latter. I have never felt put at ease soquickly and thoroughly by phone with someone before. The ‘spirit’ of Elsewhere, if one can call it that,
literally drifted through the line to reach out to me beneath the cold, grey skies of Geneva to the deskwhere I sat at that time at home. And, as soon as I hung, I booked my ticket and emailed theinformation at once to Noreen. She read it through and then wrote me back to tell me that I had madea mistake on the reservation, having forgotten I would arrive a day-later than I had reserved the hotelfor. As you can imagine, I was quite grateful to her for her thoroughness; if she had not warned me, Iwould have been forced to pay a huge fine for the change later on. This set the precedent and thusElsewhere has now become my chosen winter destination, a sanctuary to which I will always return.Why?
It is impossible to think of those who work at the resort as ‘staff’ since one is quickly embraced as partof the ‘family’ by Barbara and Mark, the managers, who have become long-lasting friends, to andother guests who had visited many times before.
Then there is the resort itself. How to describe its magic and beauty? Well, to put it quite simply, onemust go to know. However, here is a brief glimpse of some of the countless pleasures and glories youcan expect to find.
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
First of all, I should tell you probably tell you about the location. Unfortunately however, I cannot asthat is kept a great secret. Firstly, because it is one of the few true eco-resorts in the area, and keeping itprivate is one way to ensure it remains in such a pristine, virginal state.
Secondly, to avoid the arrival of the hordes of bohemians who descend each year on the north state ofGoa. The faint beat of their drums carried on the wind is however the only sign of their presence, asound as distant and as invisible as that of the call and flapping wings of Goa’s night owls. So whenyou arrive, you are given absolutely no indication as to where you will be taken. Instead, there is achauffer waiting with a sign that says “Take Me Elsewhere”, which is then precisely what they do.
The Savage Garden
I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life – Savage Garden
So once sang the Australian rock group Savage Garden and to me it is the perfect description of thefeeling one has upon arriving on the estate. To visit Elsewhere is to discover paradise. There are nophones, radios or TVs and there’s wi-fi only in the dining area.
You are completely disconnected, which allows one to finally find the time to do absolutely nothingexcept lie in a hammock between two swaying palms, at night listening to the sound of crickets thatsing one asleep and the rustle of birds, butterflies and other curious creatures which, like the otherresidents, one might hear though never sees. There are sea turtles, for instance, hatching in the whitesands once the ocean shores have emptied of people and butterflies of every hue making their roundsamong the coconut and bamboo groves, the tall sea grass, the slumbering foliage.
On Thatched Straw Roofs and Rose-Print Canopies
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
The resort itself is composed of four villas (the ‘Piggery’, ‘Priest’s House’, ‘Bakery’ and ‘Captain’s’ enclave)in addition to three tents, appropriately named ‘Otter Creek’ as they lay scattered along the verdantgreen, expansive banks of what at present shall remain an ‘unnamed’ river which flows directly intothe patiently waiting waters of the sun-kissed Arabian Sea.
The houses, like the tents, are brightly coloured and beautifully decorated, the former topped withstraw thatched roofs and the latter white canopies stained with pale pink rose prints. They come toowith all the required and necessary amenities, such as sumptuous bath and hair products, fluffy blueand white beach towels and a very-well stocked mini-bar. More important to know however, is thatthey provide absolute privacy, separated as they are by distance (the houses, for example, are spreadout on the kilo meter long stretch of land) and by the wild garden of plants and trees growing in suchabundance on the premises around each tent.
Other than that, there is the dining ‘shack’, a term to be used loosely as it is the genuine heart and soulof this haven. Being the sole communal area, it is there that one gets the chance during meals or at theend of the day to mingle with other guests at last and exchange one’s experiences. Otherwise, one canhappily while away the slowly passing time on one’s own.
The Noble Savage
“I am as free as Nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild inwoods the noble savage ran.” – John Dryden
“I am as free as Nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods thenoble savage ran.” – John Dryden
It is as if each guest undergoes metamorphoses and suddenly wakes up after the first night to glance inthe mirror to find, looking back at them, a new face: that of the noble savage, a transformation which I
Watches are left in the cupboard and wallets too, as there is no need to know the hour or shop; only torest and relax, finally let go of all the stress and worry of day-to-day living, observe the rise andsetting of the blood-orange sun, the waves as they waltz coyly in, flirtatiously dance away again.
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller
I went alone this time and I am thankful for it, and when I go back, I intend to go on my own again.It was the perfect place for an incumbent city-dweller like myself to de-stress, get back to her beachroots and loose herself somewhere elsewhere. And if you too are in need of a quiet, peaceful retreat, aplace to escape the demands of daily life and do nothing but relax, eat, sleep and read, then theElsewhere is definitely the place for you too.
B U Y I S S U E ( h t t p : / / o m i n i c o . c o m / s h o p / 1 0 -
p r a c t i c a l / )
S U B S C R I B E T O M A G A Z I N E
S U B S C R I B E ( H T T P : / / O U R S -M A G . C O M / 2 0 1 5 / 1 0 / 0 5 / L A G O S -
P H O T O - F E S T I V A L - 2 0 1 5 -I N T E R V I E W S - Z O H R A - O P O K U / )
S U B S C R I B E T O N E W S L E T T E R
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