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I’ve come to believe that the term vacation is used too lightly. I see people on “vacation” that are still nervously checking their email, fielding conference calls, and formatting documents while occasionally remembering to glance up at the beauty around them. I can’t judge, I’ve definitely been one of those people before. My recent three day getaway to Udupi, however, really brought home the value of having a real vacation. A real vacation is one where you’re falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves crashing in the ocean with no beeping interruption. It’s where your hardest decision of the day is what variety of mango to eat. And it’s where you have a chance to connect with your fellow travellers on a level that city life inhibits. A real vacation is one made up of splendour, reflection, peace, and most importantly, good food.

Lucky for us, Udupi is a rare gem that combines rich history, beautiful beaches, mouth watering cuisine, and warm people to guide you through it. This is all available to you without the usual trample of the tourist rush. We stayed in Hejmadi, a coastal village that became the accidental and unassuming host of a gorgeously isolated beach villa. The villa is bordered by an estuary on one side, and the beach on the other. Playing in the waves or boating in the estuary may actually be the second hardest decision on your agenda after the mangoes question. And lest I forget, the turtles, puppies, ducklings, and butterflies that accompany the villa staff in making your stay homely also further distract you from the calling of corporate civilization. Above all, the idea that there is no other tourist in at least a 15 mile radius is surprisingly refreshing, and contributes to a sense that this find is yours to keep….

Thankfully I’m not so selfish, and wanted to share this memorable find with others who seek a real vacation! Udupi is a whole-heartedly authentic, graciously inviting, and still an undiscovered speck on India’s gigantic coastline. If you’ve had your fill of raging parties in Goa and cookie-cutter temple tours further South, I suggest you plan yourself a trip to Udupi, but only if you’re willing to put that phone aside and leave that laptop at home. After all, I wouldn’t want to spoil the grandeur of its beauty with shiny metallic accoutrements.

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