Journeys and destinations are inextricably linked. Every journey we believe has to have a destination, and every destination, it is accepted is attained only by traversing the complex paths of a journey. Modern journeys though have undergone certain transformations. The purpose, the takeaways, the understanding have all been enhanced by the use of technology and so we have journeys that are easier to envisage, plan and document. Every traveller today has a story to tell which they do in more and more innovative ways. And so were the travel-bloggers born…that group of inveterate travellers who make no bones about the fact that for them journeys and destinations merge to form experiences and memories. A relentless search for epiphany defines them.
What is Kerala Blog Express?
Wordsmiths, idea-peddlers – individuals with an eye to look beyond the apparent, and see lurking truths. In modern parlance they are the digital media influencers, travel bloggers, vloggers, photographers, and lifestyle-bloggers. The Kerala Blog Express offers them a unique opportunity to explore and experience Kerala, God’s Own Country as the department of tourism, Kerala organises an online blogging contest every year and 25-30 of the winners from across the word are then hosted by them for a period of two weeks.
The group is taken by bus through the length and breadth of Kerala and utmost care is taken to ensure that their experiences are organic and genuine in nature while guaranteeing safety throughout. The bloggers then share their real time experience with their followers through various social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
KBE season 6 in 2019 replicated the success of this venture that began 6 years ago. Past participants have attested to forming new BFFs and having epic experiences. KBE is and has always been a fantastic opportunity for the world to see Kerala as it really is and for Kerala to present itself in all its multifaceted splendour to the curious eyes of the world.
KBE and Kalypso – where do the twain meet?
Relationships are forged on trust and mutual respect. And so it was when Kalypso was handed over the steering wheel of the Kerala Blog Express mid-journey. Setting out from Kochi in this edition of the Blog Express, on the Trip of a Lifetime bus, the group of expert bloggers wrote about, photographed and video-shot their tour sharing their thoughts and experiences with the world. Kalypso introduced them to sides of adventure and responsible tourism, important aspects of Kerala’s State tourism policy.
The journey and the travellers
We began our stint with the Kerala Blog Express 2019 by taking this group of 30 cycling from Kainakary in the Kuttanad region which is the rice bowl of Kerala along village roads and rustic fishing villages, to Nazreth Church, 15 kms away. From there on the backwater magic held sway and the group was taken kayaking from Nazareth village which meant 5 kms of the surreal where only distant bird-calls or the quacking of a team of ducks broke the silence and a gentle breeze was a constant caress on the coconut palms. Kerala’s verdant beauty and its maze of waterways they found could be mesmerising.
The next leg of our journey with the bloggers saw the scene shift to the Western Ghats. Kalypso’s picturesque camp at Suryanelli played arena to their two day wonderful stay. Stiff backs and aching limbs notwithstanding, the bloggers were soon up to their active best upon reaching. The brisk mountain air, the lush green surroundings and nature at her wild best were all it took to rejuvenate tired bodies. The exotic appeal of the campfire too proved irresistible. The morning saw them scale the craggy Phantom Head Peak to soak in the magical sunrise over the butterfly forest and the afternoon saw them setting off on their Trip of a Lifetime to their next destination.
Playing host to this group of young travellers who have been everywhere and seen everything was besides being a privilege also an experience that we at Kalypso will remember and cherish for a long time to come. Memories we know will linger for quite some time…whether it is Alex Chacon that Travel Vlogger and motorbike adventurer playing mud football in a slushy village playground, or Alex Outhwaite falling in love with the tea plantations and the winding roads in between or Jonny Melon who expertly selfie-d even while kayaking or riding a bicycle on Kerala’s muddy village roads or Michael Gerber who fell in love with the sunsets and the tea plantations of Kerala or Nelson Mochilero, digital creator and compulsive traveller like all the rest of them, encountering for the first time the magic of Kerala’s backwaters and waterfalls…we could go on and on about each and every one of them…the passion with which they embrace travelling, the special place nature has in their itineraries, their totally open and honest outlook…like how Kerala sees herself –truly human by nature
What an incredible time we at Kalypso had! Being activity partners for Kerala Blog Express and Kerala Tourism has been a terrific experience in itself and each season fills us with a sense of achievement and pride.
Travel journalists of the past have evolved with the advent of modern technology and modern sensibilities to the travel bloggers of today. More authentic experiences, more innovative ways of sharing those experiences and more real-time story-telling! And all of this made more memorable due to the amazing palette that Kerala is! We salute the spirit of adventure!