How slow travel and living on a farm in Rajasthan helped me embrace self-love and slowing down in life.

How slow travel and living on a farm in Rajasthan helped me embrace self-love and slowing down in life.

As I sit down wondering where to begin from to talk about my journey with embracing slowing down in a world obsessed with hustling, my Spotify playlist of lo-fi moodies plays a song that is called “slow down”. I take a pause, listen to the two-minute-long track with a radio voice saying, “Time won’t slow down because you chose to waste the day.” on repeat. I smile and surrender myself to the present moment yet again.

Before I begin to share my experience with slow travelling, let’s start by explaining the concept of Slow Travel. The basic definition of Slow Travel looks at it as a mindset that rejects traditional ideas of tourism and encourages you to soak in your environments and keep yourself open to new experiences.

Slow Travel for me is…

All about allowing oneself to experience and enjoy the everydayness of life in a new place at your own pace. An experience where the focus of travelling is not to about a list of things to do or places to see but instead is about being open to heading into a new day with no plans. Thus making you ready for new adventures, more authentic experiences and meaningful interactions as you learn to put yourself out there to interact with the local community, culture and their way of life.

I call this process as learning how to live like a temporary local wherever you go. Looking forward to travelling to a place like it was your home. Gaining insights on the place by talking to the locals around. Consuming local produce and helping the local community by buying from local grocery shops, local markets, small businesses, local cafes etc. All these reflect as important aspects of slow travelling as a way to promote and build a new global community of responsible travellers and a local community that grows stronger because of this conscious exchange of not just goods and services but also experiences, stories and mutual respect. Because haven’t we all travelled to some place and wondered what would the locals do, where would they go? The answer to that lies in making local connections while travelling and thus opening yourself to the secret life of the locals wherever you go.

Spending time at the Friday Mapusa Municipal Market in Goa days before Christmas gave me a chance to experience the goan christmas festive vibe that is entailed in the shopping spree.

My favourite part after having slow travelled for two years is how my emphasis when going to a new place is less on the maniac sightseeing or ticking off places on a list and more on taking in my surroundings at a relaxed pace. I have always found this way of travelling to be less stressful for me and more respectful to the locals while also being easier on the environment and the budget if I may add.

Why staying at a homestay is the best way to unplug and explore a new place at a slow pace

It was while I was looking for places that offered me the simple joy of lazing around, living like a local, getting some writing done while unplugging from the usual and diving into nature that I got to know from a friend about AmourCasa Homestay, a place run by her family at their home in Rajasthan’s countryside. Situated near the sleepy town of Bundi which lies in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan. A rocky parched landscape that turns lush green during rainy season. What I love about this part of Rajasthan is that till date it remains less explored by domestic tourists and travellers that flock year round to experience Rajasthan in all its shining glory of old Forts and Palaces of the living Royalty of India.

The 1km off-roading drive that takes you away from the Highway and into the country roads through green fields stretching as far as my digitally tired eyes could see was an experience in itself. It is true what they say in colour psychology about green being the colour of nature that affects our moods and emotions making us feel more restful, soothing and cheerful.  And to think I was already feeling restful when I was yet to reach my destination.

My hosts were this wonderful couple who lived with their two daughters and dogs on this six-acre farm spread across the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills. It was during a long conversation about the history of landlords in Post British India I found out that in 1953 Lt. Thakur Jasbeer Singh Khichi had left Sohangarh, Punjab looking to finding a new home for his family to settle down post the partition. He came across the land of Chambal river in the Hadoti region and loved it so much that he instantly bought farmland and settled down in the small village of Guda Nathawat 15 km away from Bundi, Rajasthan. 64 years later his youngest son Thakur Balwant Singh constructed this house that went on to see the birth of this homestay.

“It was my dream to build my very own farm one day and live the simple farm life and now that I have it. I am what you call content.” said my host Th. Balwant Chauhan.

AmourCasa is the story of this family’s deep love for their home. Nestled amidst the Aravalli hills and green meadows this is a countryside haven. A place to experience the old world charm of a farm stay and the enamour of Rajput tradition and culture. The perfect getaway for anyone looking to slow down in the serenity of nature, relax in style and unwind in the good old countryside. Being brought up in Rajasthan I can easily vouch that if you haven’t experienced the farm or village life in Rajasthan then you really need to ask yourself if you have indeed experienced Asli (Real) Rajasthan or not.

My days at AmourCasa would begin with waking up to the sound of music playing from the antique vintage radio in the lobby. This was usually followed by a lazy breakfast in the sunlit front porch. This was a spot where I would spend my mornings observing and learning to identify the calls of the various birds who would casually be flocking around waiting for the two dogs, Simba, the adorable big boxer and Bliss, the grumpy old dachshund to be done with their meals so that they could finish the leftovers for them. Slowly this became a daily ritual for me as I would watch those birds devour the dogs’ food while I devoured mine. Imagine spending time doing this over breakfast instead of the usual frantic morning scrolling on our phones. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? If you thought that was an experience worth coming here for then wait until you read about the rest of my day. I had never experienced the joy and satisfaction of picking out and eating guavas straight from the branch until one day my friend showed me the guava trees and then slowly our post-breakfast ritual would involve taking our own sweet time on deciding which guava to pluck and snack on while basking in the sweet bliss of Mother Nature.

The best part of my day would be watching the sunset every evening. On someday it would be from the terrace, on some days from the fields while helping on the farm. I really enjoyed watching kaki ji pluck carrots for our dinner while I just goofed around with them goats who for some reason always looked like they were up to some mischief or were sitting on a secret they couldn’t tell you hence explaining their poker faces and gangsta vibes. Apart from this surprisingly fun farm routine every once in a while I would take the bicycle out and just head out for a ride around the fields with fresh countryside air brushing against my cheeks, making my eyes water with a little bit of happiness from watching that sunset but mostly because of the wind velocity.

Though there are a lot of wonderful and offbeat places to visit in the nearby region. But since this is a blog about embracing slow travel I am going to just stick to sharing my experience of staying at the homestay in this blog and will be writing a separate blog on things to do and places to see in and around AmourCasa Homestay.

Now for those who know me well, know that I live for two things. Sunsets and food. Remember how I told you that watching the sunsets here made my eyes water with happiness well wait till I tell you how the food here made my mouth water every single time it was meal time in this place. And believe me, I am not teasing you when I say that.

Mealtime in my life never got me as excited as it would in this place. I am talking about fresh farm produce and organic meals curtesy living on a farm. Finger licking food was a myth for me until I came here and got a taste of the home cooked meals made by the lady of the house, Mrs Vandana Kumari who has magic in her hands. I come from a family of foodies who love to cook and I am not exaggerating when I say that it was a tough call for me when I had to decide who made better Rajasthani food between my father and my current host.

Here at AmourCasa, you can happily say goodbye to your diet and eating habits of a city dweller. Because in this home you will be eating some of the most authentic delicacies from the Rajasthani cuisine thanks to age-old family recipes passed down from one generation to the other. The traditional recipes which were always slow cooked for hours on an old-style chullah (earthen stove) adding the distinctive earthen and smoky flavour of the chullah to the food. But that’s not where this food journey ends. From dining under the clear night skies and stars while enjoying live folk music with comfort food and gourmet meals to heavenly baked items and quick to make puddings during evening tea I happily ate it all. Saying goodbye to the body I had acquired after living a healthy and fit life in the mountains this past year could not have felt better than this.

My journey with embracing self-love…

There was a time when it used to seem amusing to me how people in their pursuit of finding love and a real connection in life were always so willing to give love unconditionally to others but when asked to channel that love towards themselves and find a deep connection within were often left puzzled with a question of “how?” When did loving oneself become the hardest question to crack. How lost are we in our everyday hustled existence that we have no way of understanding how to give love to ourselves?

Before coming here, I had recently left my job in Himachal and was back home in Rajasthan for a short while trying to give myself time to finally embrace self-love and care. Something I had been ignoring for quite sometime now. What majorly helped me on this journey was my meditation that allowed me to be aware of the impermanence of every moment; spending time on my art journal expressing, acknowledging and breaking my emotional self-limiting barriers and last but not the least singing my lungs and guts out on the Karaoke mic every now and then (all thanks to my host at AmourCasa for organizing it for me).

Back in 2016 I remember telling everyone I want to travel for a while after finishing college because I want to give myself some time. People would in return ask me, “But time for what?” and I would reply saying, “Time to simply live”. And in my pursuit of simply living for the past two years, I feel extremely grateful for accidentally stumbling upon embracing how to slow down and learning to live in what I call as “The here and now of life”. It has showed me how to be mindful even if my mind is full. Discovering Joy of Missing Out way before it became a trend. This was all thanks to my life on the road slow travelling that has helped me discover and appreciate a wonderful way of living my life by slowing down and being self-aware of my lifestyle choices, eating habits, consuming patterns, travel philosophy that reflects a thoughtful and conscious approach towards it all in a world that runs on the idea that we have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Forgetting how important it is to embrace the concept of slowing down, to rest, recover and reflect as part of aligning towards our progress, success and ultimately a more content life.

Which is why I feel no guilt in admitting that I spent the whole month of Valentine on this self-loving, slow-routine living the lazy life that did end up adding a little extra weight on me but left me falling in love with this process of giving love and care to myself as I simply soaked in my environment and opened myself to enjoying the everydayness of living in the countryside on a farm doing nothing.

So if you too have been feeling a little out of sync with yourself for a while now and are trying to find an anecdote for the rat race that you are so busy running in the city, then you need to take some time off from this hustle my friend. And this time travel to go beyond the madness of weekend getaways and Instagram updates. Instead, spend time slowing down in a place like this to finally give yourself that unconditional self-love and care you deserve so deeply. Because if not now then when. And if you still aren’t convinced, then I will ask you to scroll up and read again what my Spotify playlist was trying to tell me when I sat down to write this blog about embracing slowing down in our lives.

Because in the rush of things you my friend have forgotten to do things that make you happy. So slow down, catch your breath and just be here and now.

5 Replies to “How slow travel and living on a farm in Rajasthan helped me embrace self-love and slowing down in life.”

  1. Wow! You captured the essence of Amourcasa perfectly. Your photography is stunning. Your words profound. I also fell in love with this home and the people in it. I am counting the days until I return next year. I’m so fortunate to have come across your beautiful writing and exquisite photos. Thank you. Leslie (Vancouver, Canada)

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