The honeymoon period is well and truly over. My Indian adventure started well, but I warn you now, I hold nothing back. So, if you’re squeamish you might want to stop reading at this point!
Create Your Own Adventure India.
Nothing was ever going to be straight forward, this is India after all. The country that can literally turn things upside down, at the blink of an eye. And, turn things upside down it has.
India You Never Disappoint
Inaccessible mountain passes, landslides, terrorist attacks, and the inevitable Delhi belly which left me pigeon stepping to the nearest bush. All within a fortnight.
This Sir, is the India I love, hate, love, hate, love, hate....love!
What about the challenge I have heaped upon myself? Walking up to 30 miles a day, basking in temperatures that have reached 48 degrees in the blistering heat of the Indian summer.
The damage incurred so far has been nothing short of horrific. My toes have become so bruised, blistered and damaged that I wonder if they’re beyond repair. Some have blistered so much that they have shed their skin completely, much like that of a snake, leaving raw, infection prone toes that sting at the slightest airing.
I’m averaging between nine and ten litres of water a day - even then my piss is the colour of honey. “You need to stay hydrated,” they keep saying. Yes, don’t you think I bloody know that! People mean well, and I'm grateful for everyone's advice and support, I just find myself being a bit of a miserable fucker at times.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve found it hard to bring myself to eat anything. “Energy, dear boy; one needs his energy!” But even that seems to be a waste of time, money and effort, because I’m lucky if I can actually keep anything down for longer than an hour, before I’m puking it back up. It’s voiding me of the essential fluids and minerals a person needs to survive in the harsh conditions of an Indian summer.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
So far, my route has seen me stick to the highways, as this is the quickest most direct route, but even that is fast becoming brain numbingly repetitive. Not to mention, playing havoc with my chest and breathing - the fumes, the near misses of car wing mirrors, motorbikes, and lorries that have clipped my arm on numerous occasions.
Sleep...oh, sleep! What fucking sleep I ask?
If I’m averaging more than four to five hours of sleep a night, I’d say that was an overestimate. In fact, after arriving at a shitty little guest house last night, I collapsed onto the bed and fell asleep straight away; only to be woken at what I thought must be the following morning, which actually turned out to be a mere half hour later. It wasn’t long before I was hit by a feeling of nausea and then, the inevitable happened.
I must press on, and press on I will.
And so, the journey continues. As I tape up my raw toes, ease the swelling of my left knee and try to hold down the water that I’ve just consumed. I realise the real challenge has only just begun.
I know the weather will continue to get hotter, the conditions harsher and the landscapes more challenging. My body will either learn to adapt or completely breakdown, I just hope it's not the latter. But, either way, it's an adventure that I will complete.
This may sound like it’s all just be terrible, that I’m enduring a kind of hell, but in reality that’s just not true.
I've met some amazing people; in particular the hospitality from the people of Jammu has been nothing short of amazing. Offers of accommodation, food, drink and even a visit by the local police offering their assistance for my onward journey. I nearly asked for a lift to Kanyakumari, but I thought better of it.
Damian King - Fearless or foolish?
As I trek through the harsh landscapes of Vijaypur, Kathua and make my way across eastern Punjab, I keep reminding myself that I'm in a very fortunate position. I have the freedom to travel, my health is intact (just), and then there is this amazing opportunity for personal growth.
I'm learning new things about myself each and every day. Stepping out of my comfort zone, shedding timber and, hopefully, inspiring people to set goals, take action and design their ideal lifestyle.