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Guest Stories: “My Other Trip of a Lifetime”. Robin Tama on her long-cherished dream trip to India.

Robin is among those trusting and excited travellers that  Savista has had the pleasure to host.   She made her booking a good year before her trip to India, and right from her very first enquiry regarding availability upto the letter she wrote us saying she was about to board her flight, she drew us into her excitement and anticipation. 

It was going to be her first trip to India, the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream.  We felt deeply touched when she told us that it was her discovery of Savista which gave her the confidence to take that final step to make the India trip happen.  For some magical reason, India had always been the only country to exert such a magnetic pull for her. And equally, it was the one country that she couldn’t bring herself to actually pick up the courage to visit…It was the farthest from her familiar world, just too different.  

In the intervening decades, Robin played out many of her other dreams…But India continued to elude her. Then, two years ago, she finally decided that she would come to India. Alone.

Seeing her set on making the trip, her husband Bill agreed to come with her. Not because he wanted to, but because he didn’t want to let her to go off into the unknown all by herself.  

Robin and Bill arrived at Savista straight from Delhi International Airport, and drove straight back to Delhi airport to connect to their flight home, spending ten days or so with us. Robin had already won us over with her unquestioning faith in us. Now, seeing her sparkling smile and musical voice, and their honest and open faces, we felt even more protective about them! 

During her time here, Robin did not run around frenetically.  She did not do as many of the activities she had been drawn towards and that she was keen to book herself into months before her arrival (they did manage a day trip to the Taj Mahal).  To her repeated excited enquiries during the period leading up to her trip about things to do and “words of wisdom” that we might have for her, we had simply kept advising her to tone down her expectations…to wait to arrive… to allow India to speak to her… and to take each day as a new one… 

Robin listened. And paced herself. And for her wonderfully supportive husband Bill, things couldn’t have been happier.  From starting out almost as a self-confessed martyr, he began to enjoy himself hugely too. And that, for Robin, was probably her greatest reward. 

At the end of every day of going out to meet India headlong, Robin would return to Savista with a long list of questions that had come to her in the course of the day.  What was most gratifying for us is that she left for home resolving to return.

Robin was our first guest who was a brewer – to us a fascinating profession, particularly since we had tried our hand at making a range of organic wines from our flowers and berries the summer before, an effort that had not exactly turned out to be a thumping success! We invited her to write a piece about her journey as a brewer for the Savista blog.  I am not a writer, she begged off. Then send us a bunch of pictures instead, we urged; we must see something of the Flying Fish Brewing Company.

A whole year later, Robin has written us this lovely letter with an accompanying eloquent post for the blog.  Both are full of her characteristic warmth and the golden glow of her beers. Thank you, Robin!        

________________________

“Dear Friends

It has been a year since our visit. I still talk about our stay with you and our travel in India with much joy. You asked me to write for your blog about Flying Fish Brewing Company. I procrastinated not knowing what to say that will be of interest to your readers.  Then life got in the way and time dragged on.  I started my entry maybe a dozen times and then finally wrote this. I am not concerned with you posting it as I am not a particularly good writer. However what I wrote is from the heart. I again want to thank you for one of the best experiences of my life.  I hope to visit again.

Best,

Robin (and Bill)”

________________________

 “I always thought that I had a sense of adventure. I was always the one that took any dare from my brother. I moved 2500 miles from home at the age of 19. I went to Russia in the ‘70s. I tried bungee jumping, high water rafting, and boxing. But for me the ultimate adventure—India. Long on my list of places to visit, it was too exotic and out of comfort zone for many of my friends. So I was on my own. Finally my husband said though he had no interest in India he would go with me to see my dream through. (His interest changed quickly)

I was on my way–we were on our way. Rajasthan.

Savista Retreat was our home away from home as we ventured out to see the wonders of India. Our stay was lovely and our hosts were kind and generous. But this is not a testimonial entry. As we left Savista I was asked to write about my business as it fascinated our hosts. 

It is a brewery.  A craft brewery in the United States. We make wonderful, award winning beers. We have a creative and dedicated staff. And as far as I was concerned a pretty typical story. So what was I to write about. A friend suggested that I write about the adventure. The exhilaration, the fear, the anticipation and the joy of starting the brewery. Not unlike the lead up to my trip to India.

25 years ago my partner and I were traveling back home from a camping trip in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. Long tired of the trappings of the corporate world we joked that we should open a brewery.  Well the joke was on us. We did it.

The road was long. The wait for approvals and capital endless.  Searching for the building and the equipment frightening. Finding brewers and designing recipes exciting. We are now a successful brewery, expanding our repertoire of beer styles, winning awards, educating and adding new brewers. We make IPAs and Belgian styles, sours and lagers. We age beer in wine and whiskey barrels.  Beers that were not thought of 25-30 years ago. The ingredients we use are sourced from the finest sources available. Sustainability is our company credo.  We have installed solar panels, solar light tubes, and rain gardens. We condense our steam back into water and give our spent grain to local farmers to mix into their livestock feed.  Brewing is not work it is a lifestyle, it is a passion.

The trip has been 25 years and still going but we have arrived at this point in what seems like a flash. It has been my “other” trip of a lifetime.”

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