After having a good ole time at MTM2016 we were invited to the magical little place in the jungle known as Off the Grid. Located on the border of Goa and Karnataka and nestled deep in the restricted access jungle, we rode the 50 km or so with Perry and Ellen in their home on wheels after they kindly offered to accommodate us for the journey.
Climbing high into the mountains with spectacularly breathtaking views all around whilst sitting on a comfortable seat with a kitchenette to my right is not something I ever expected to be doing. And in fact, it so closely approximates what I hope for in my distant future that I had a quite a deep and surreal experience back there.
Mickey looked at me smiling and said “we made it”. Never has a truer word been uttered. As I looked down over the sun splitting mist which was smothering the verdant rain-forest treetops, marvelling at just how high we’d climbed, something clicked into place and I don’t think I’ve been quite the same since.
We reached the police check post and waited for a while to verify that we could enter. Whilst waiting another policeman turned up with ice-cream and offered it around before letting us go on. From there the roads began to narrow, until finally we reached a dirt track and a natural gateway formed by a tree that had arched over the road. It looked beautiful with creepers hanging down but it posed a problem for Perry in getting the truck down to the house. Not to be deterred, when asked why take the truck down he replied, why not? The next 15 minutes were spent marvelling as he climbed the banking a couple of times to perfect the angle and then slipped underneath with centimetres to spare in a feat of precision driving.
Arjun and Abijith rode on to check the rest of the way was clear and Ellen and I walked on ahead of the truck. As we climbed a hill and rounded the corner the forest opened up onto paddy fields, populated by two squatting women and an old man leaning on a stick by a farmstead shack. He impassively watched as the truck climbed the hill and then with a frown and a wave, declined Mickey’s request for a picture.
Crossing a small stream we walked down to the homestay marvelling at how we got so lucky.