If you are looking for a new definition of 'luxury,' and a truly memorable experience, consider floating all your worries away in Kerala. I grew up on the sea sailing, but this might be my best experience on water yet!
I grew up on boats. My family had various small sailboats, thanks to my father's interest in sailing and the sea.
I have sailed in lakes, oceans and at night. I have sailed in competitions and for leisure.
So I am at home on the sea. I miss the water when I am not near it.
It was an intriguing idea - hire a houseboat in the spectacularly beautiful state of Kerala, in India's south.
It was a great decision. You want to throw your phone in the water to escape the rat race!
You quickly begin to relish the unprecedented peace of floating slowly past life on the banks.
The holiday started with a rush. It was peak season. There appeared to be hundreds of boats heading in different directions on the large lake.
The first stop for us was a small island where we chose fresh produce for the onboard chef to prepare the meals for the first day.
Already a luxurious experience - a personal chef, fresh ingredients and cultural enlightenment.
We boarded the boat, and the captain skillfully navigated through the traffic on the lake.
The luxury is not so much the beautiful locally built boats but gaining access to a world that reminds you of what life can be.
In the evening, the chef cooked the seafood we had purchased at the island market.
He told us that he would be preparing local food for our group to sample.
He mentioned a cabbage and coconut dish. I was dubious.
As we sat down to enjoy someone else's hard work, I saw the bowl with the pale green and white mixture; cabbage and coconut.
It's okay Jen; give it a try.
The cabbage and coconut dish was the most surprising dish I had tried in Kerala.
It was simply amazing. I could not believe the taste the chef created from those two main ingredients.
The Keralan food prepared on the houseboat was fresh and equally traditional as it was innovative.
Again, the 'luxury of customisation' is on show in India!
We awoke in the morning and looked out the window.
It was a rare sight.
Water, nature, at your doorstep. The bed was in line with the water. The view of ordinary Indian life seemed extraordinary from this angle.
It's like a painting of a lake plus a village scene had come to life. The water rippled, the sunlight sparkled, and the villagers lived.
The only reason I moved from that scene was to enjoy another meal from the talented chef.
A Ride down a River
The houseboat silently moved its way through the lake system.
The scenery was hypnotising.
Despite being on a boat, we were above the level of the rice paddies on 'land.'
We floated past, elevated, watching the green fields on either side. It was surreal and enchanting.
Further down the river, we had an opportunity to disembark and take a canoe up some of the smaller tributaries.
It was an intimate experience. We were metres from the people's lives on the banks.
I admit I felt a little uncomfortable watching people prepare for their day.
They did not notice us. Perhaps people are accustomed to the tourists. Are they annoyed at the invasion of privacy?
The slow pace of the canoe, mixed with the gentle lapping sound of the paddle, was calming my nervous system down.
You have to relax in this kind of atmosphere.
Forever in Kerala
It was with sadness we ended our brief break from our lives.
Once we left the vicinity of the lake, the romantic scenes from the houseboat ever so slowly began to fade.
My phone buzzed. It's started again...
Let me know your experiences in Kerala. Comment below.