If I think about places that are magical for me, the top of the list has to be India. With cities filled with temples and gemstones, women draped in colour and jewellery, monkeys and peacocks roaming freely through the streets, mystic poets, water-palaces, festivals, markets filled with spices and flower garlands, rickshaws handpainted with fluorescent bollywood actors and porters with a dazzling capacity for balance, India is a place where everything is possible. Where there are no limits.
I remember dining in a forest hung with chandeliers, sitting on leopard print chairs, eating off mirrors that reflected the full moon. I remember sitting in a revolving restaurant in the Himalayas that was wound up by the people that worked there and watching the food vibrate across the table as we went round. I remember being on the back of a motorbike in a thunderstorm, twisting around winding mountain roads, past painted elephants in a national park. I remember finding streets full of ribbons in Mumbai.
Maybe magic is a particular combination of the unexpected that stimulates your senses?
Another thing I love about India is that you’re forced to relinquish control. Clinging to it will make you very unhappy. Buses and trains leave when they want, timetables shift, people make up the rules made as they go along, nothing works as you think it should. Life goes unfolds on its own terms. And there is beauty when you just surrender to it and stop trying to bend the world to your will and MAKE IT FIT! Because in the missed connection, in the room being given away, in the bureaucratic muddle and seeming chaos, an adventure opens up in a direction you hadn’t expected. You make a new friend, you stumble across a sight that stuns you, someone recommends a book that changes your life. You just have to let go and trust the current will take you somewhere good.