Gokarna is almost a unknown twin of Goa. It’s a small religious town in Karnataka, located right on the beach and just below the state of Goa. My trip started off from Bangalore. There are quite a few different types of buses to go from Bangalore to Gokarna. I think there are trains from Bangalore as well but those usually take longer. On this trip we took a bus around 8PM in the evening and reached Gokarna around 6AM. The bus was a sleeper bus with A/C which meant I got some shut-eye during the night. However I strongly recommend to check the bus quality before going since buses can be really filthy. We had taken the KSRTC bus and seriously it was dirty, smelly and full of insects. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am hopeful that there are other cleaner buses as well.
Once we got to Gokarna town, we decided to wing it a bit in terms of where to stay. There are very few established places / hotels in the area. There are 3 major beaches with any kind of accommodation: Kudle, Om beach, Half moon beach. There is one more beach called Paradise beach but that doesn’t have any place to stay as such.
As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.
Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
If you haven’t already read the first part of us being in Liberia and Del Coco, I highly recommend reading it here.
We were on a week vacation to Costa Rica and spent the first few days basking in the sun and rolling in the beach. Our second leg was to go to Arenal Volcano region.
Initially we had planned to take a bus from Del coco to arenal volcano where we had planned to spend the last half of our trip. But when we did check out the bus situation it would take 6+ hours and need 3 bus changes to get to La Fortuna (which is the main town near Arenal volcano). Our hotel was about 10 KM from La Fortuna town so we would then have to take another taxi. We kind of decided at last-minute to get a rental car. If you book in advance you can get them for like $10-15 a day and ours was $25 a day. In hindsight, this was the best decision of our trip.
Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.
I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.
In my dreams I fly again
Over the mountains
there’s a patch of green
It reminds me of home
A place that I have only been
In my dreams
I push these thoughts away
The images of a home
I fly again over these dark fields
What am I looking to find?
At first I felt this title might be catchy like a clickbait. But then on pondering about it for a few minutes I realized that it is more truthful than catchy. The idea of leaving amazon is almost like the idea of embracing change. It makes me think about the transitions we make which are almost unbelievable before we do them and simplistic once we do. For example using Facebook in times of Orkut seemed pointless and my first year or so with FB account had no real activity but now I can’t imagine using Orkut 😛
The short story is that I decided to leave my current role without really knowing what I am going to do next. The long story follows below.
We live in troubled times. Maybe not all of us but most of us can sense the growing distrust among people. It may be Europe which has been devastated by multiple attacks recently or the war ravaged middle east. And more recently the feeling of distrust has been growing here at home in USA.
I am completely in agreement that these attacks and wars are devastating for everyone. I also believe that these attacks need to stop. I just don’t agree with the methodology we have started adopting around this. We are starting to close our doors (and our hearts) to people. We believe this will stop the next attack or the next war.
Let me give you a simple anecdote: Gun violence kills more than 100 times people as terrorism within US and against US citizens abroad kill. Have we banned the guns yet?
The last time I took a lesson in physics was probably way back in 2006 or 2007. It’s been almost a decade yet I consider myself an astrophysics enthusiast. There are various facets of physics that I really love. Every time I think about them I feel like I understand people and the world a little better. There are two ideas that I like to wonder about: Making sense of chaos and quantum entanglement.
It’s hard to imagine how physics can help us understand people. Physics usually describes properties of inanimate things and conscious decisions can seem inherently chaotic. Imagine for a moment that the gas inside a balloon is made up of millions of particles, which it is. Imagine now the movement of these particles. Their motion is inherently random and chaotic and it is unlikely to be predicted.
There are two things that I have become enchanted with over the last year or so: Meditation and Mindfulness. Both relate to your mind, one aims to train your mind while the other allows you to focus on now. In fact it is common to hear the term Mindfulness Meditation.
As I wrote in my previous post, I find it extremely important to meditate. I also have started believing that almost all of us need to meditate in today’s modern world just due to the immense amount of information flowing through. Meditation is the only effective tool to deal with this information and maintain a calm demeanor.
I have often thought about writing about Meditation. But the truth is that I barely understand the concept myself. For so long meditation used to bring images of monks seated in saffron robe who have given up on the luxuries of life. And I didn’t want to give up any luxuries, hence I couldn’t meditate. The logic seemed simple enough: to meditate you need to let go of all your Wifi and Kindle etc. But turns out that’s not the case.
So I started with wikipedia and asked it What is Meditation? Here is what I got: Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.