Travel Diary: 5 Lessons I Learnt From Life At A Plantation

Posted: April 16, 2015

Traveling can have many lessons for us, including the simplest one – of living in the moment. 5 lessons remembered from a holiday in verdant Coorg.

Every experience teaches us something new. Sometimes the same lessons we had forgotten come to the fore. Travel is a great mentor and coach – there is so much to learn from observing people and the ways of life around us when we travel that is one of the most important aspects of traveling for many travellers. Each new destination has a lesson as traveling changes our routines and the life we take for granted.

We got an opportunity to glimpse a different slice of life by staying at one of the Plantation Trails bungalows by Tata Coffee in Coorg. Life at a coffee plantation can be adventurous as well as relaxing. Coorg is one of my favourite places to visit with its plains of rolling paddy fields and coffee laden hills. Most coffee plantations are situated enveloped in nature with coffee shrubs interspersed with tall silver oak trees.

It is not unusual for the plantation to be visited by elephants, tigers and wild boars. A plantation is not just the coffee planter and family but it is a micro community of sorts with staff at the bungalow, workers at the plantation, stores, etc. and observing and interacting with the life that happens on this hillside reinforced some of the lessons life has always wanted me to learn.

Embrace silence

Living in the city we are continuously surrounded by blaring screens, traffic horns and noise. Escaping into a coffee plantation makes one realize the beauty of silence. It is in silence that one can really reconnect with some of the most important thoughts and feelings that have lost their voice in the humdrum of the city. Silence is an important ingredient for a healthy life and becoming increasingly rare to find. Silence also lets us introspect and come back renewed and refreshed.

Make walking your mode of transport

The further distances man has reached, the lesser we are walking towards it. With each generation the distances we walk have reduced drastically with today’s kids refusing to climb a flight of stairs if the elevator happens to be out of order. When forests look so alluring and the trails along the plantations wind up and down the mountain there is no other way than to walk. Walking across the plantation is what comes naturally to the people living a fulfilling life in this corner of the world. Maybe it is time to start walking to where we want to go and have a fun and inexpensive form of exercise.

Forest trails beckon @ Plantation Trails, Coorg

Forest trails beckon @ Plantation Trails, Coorg

 

Respect nature

Every new residential project, every new factory project means a death knell for a flourishing natural ecosystem. As cities get bigger and engulf whole countrysides, a lot of the plants and animals that we are familiar with and take for granted start disappearing. A stark example is the common sparrow which is no longer common in the cities. The other aspect of nature that city dwellers refuse to acknowledge is that nature needs to be respected. In most scenic tourist places it is usually urban visitors that destroy the fragile ecosystem.

Even innocuous gestures such as playing music from the car stereo in a forest area is detrimental to the animals in the area. Folks from the city who are used to seeing animals behind bars in the zoos sometimes forget that the animals in the wild are capable of hurting them if provoked.

Eat what you grow

The best meal I have eaten is a simple brinjal and green pea sabji. The brinjal (eggplant) had been freshly plucked and grown with love, water and a lot of sun. No Michelin star restaurant has even come close to the amazing taste of that dish. At the Plantation Trails, they grew their own vegetables and that brought out the best in all of the dishes that we wolfed down while staying in the plantation bungalow. Each meal was customized to the individual tastes of the guests and the cook seemed to know just what a young family like ours would enjoy.

From bean to coffee cup, it's s short haul here!

From bean to coffee cup, it’s s short haul here!

 

Rise with the sun

At a plantation, life starts with the sun and goes to rest with the sun and the same work ethic seems to be followed by the birds and animals who seem to know better about living a fulfilling life than humans. There is a lot of merit in rising at dawn and retiring at nightfall. Starting the day early and using sunlight to get the day’s work done is great in a lot of aspects. Instead, our mornings start late and evenings are prolonged so much so that the new ‘time for ghosts to haunt’ has been extended to 3 am as very few human beings sleep by 12 or the old ghost hour anymore!

Reserve evenings with your loved ones

Spending a relaxed evening with the family has become a dream for most working adults. Sharing a cup of coffee and biscuits and talking with loved ones is one of my most cherished moments in a day. But increasingly, these moments are hard to come by; it’s on getaways such as these that the whole family gets these stolen precious moments. Evenings should ideally be about relaxing but since this is not always practical in a busy family, these small getaways to the lap of nature are almost therapeutic.

This post was made possible with the support of Tata Coffee Plantation Trails. Plantation Trails’ is Tata Coffee’s Hospitality Brand, offering unique Heritage and Luxury Bungalows in the Coorg. Situated in the middle of picturesque tea and coffee plantations, these bungalows offer a true ‘Plantation Experience’ for guests. Owned and managed by Tata Coffee which has a history of over 85 years in the region, these spacious but cozy bungalows, offer personalized cook and butler service and are a perfect blend of an heritage building and comforts to make your stay enjoyable, thereby making them a perfect getaway from the harsh city life.

As part of the experience guests enjoy guided bird watching tours, nature walks, and a guided jeep drive through plantations. Guests also receive firsthand information on how coffee is processed from bean to cup. Other activities include a private 9-hole golf course, badminton, table-tennis, trekking, boating, and white water rafting during season only.

You can follow Plantation Trails at Facebook or Twitter too, to stay updated for the best offers for nature-loving travellers.

All images used belong to the author.

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