grounded in goa: or, pilgrimage to galgibaga beach.
“The only people for me are the ones…who can go barefoot if they feel like it.”
– C. JoyBell C.
It starts, as all proper adventures in India should, with a tuk tuk, the kind with little side doors and round wing mirrors and just enough space on the back seat to fit four friends – as long as one of you doesn’t mind sitting on another’s lap.
It starts with a one-way bridge, the kind where you can’t help holding your breath as you cross, as though doing so will make the aforementioned tuk tuk itself contract in order to ensure safe passage.
It starts with a view from the aforementioned bridge, the kind you have to take a photo of, because you know there’s no way your mind will remember the shoals of dark golden sand, coconut trees and faint hills in the distance in exactly the same way.
It starts with getting grounded.
What starts, you ask? My pilgrimage to Galgibaga Beach in south Goa, otherwise known as Turtle Beach after the olive ridleys who come to lay their eggs on the nearly mile-long shoreline. With me in the rickshaw are Hannah, Monica, and Andreas – lovely friends I’ve only just met but connect with in such a way that it feels like much longer.
And what’s all this about getting grounded? It’s Hannah who introduces us to the concept (also known as Earthing) that morning at breakfast – that of grounding the positive free radical molecules in our body through going barefoot on sand or soil or grass or rock; anything, really, that’ll put us back in touch with the negative ions found in the earth’s surface.
“We never actually touch natural ground,” she says. “Go to the park, take your shoes off, just be there for twenty minutes. It’s like instantaneous grounding.”
Better yet, Hannah tells us, there’s scientific research to back the idea up, so it’s more than just the stuff of hippies and new-agey types – although there’s plenty of that, too. In a 2006 study called “The effect of earthing (grounding) on human physiology,” Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D., researcher and director of the Earthing Institute, writes:
“Until a few generations ago, most humans walked and slept in direct contact with the surface of the earth. Our modern life style involves wearing insulating shoes and sleeping in buildings that electrically isolate the body from the ground plane.
While some people intuitively sense that they feel better when they walk or even sleep directly on the earth (as on a camping trip), most of the population is more or less permanently isolated from the earth’s electrical influences.”
I’m a little skeptical at first, but being a don’t-knock-it-til-you-try-it kind of person, I decide to test out the theory. The first thing I do when we get to Galgibaga Beach is kick my flip-flops off – and I don’t put them back on for the rest of the day. With my shoes off and the sun on my skin, I revel in our day of simple pleasures, in our day of getting grounded.
It is a day of strawberry lassis and salt in our hair and starfish that need rescuing and returning to the sea.
It is a day of writing in the sand and lying belly-down on the beach, totally content with nothing more than a Tuborg and good friends.
It is a day of watching the sunset and waiting to see whether or not the great red disc of a sun will ‘touch down’ on the sea or merely evaporate into the haze that hovers over the horizon.
But what does touch down is us, all day, our feet never leaving the sand whether we’re on the shore or at Santosh’s Beach Restaurant, and when we get back into that same tiny tuk tuk at the end of the day and re-cross that nerve-wracking one-lane bridge, I can’t help thinking that maybe there’s something to this whole grounding thing after all.
For more juicy photos from our pilgrimage to Galgibaga Beach, go here…c’mon, you know you want to.
ever heard about grounding, or earthing? think there’s anything to the theory? here’s where to go if you want to read more:
- Earthing: Go Barefoot for Better Health?
- Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?
- 7 Health Benefits of Going Barefoot Outside