Is This The Hardest Job In The World? #KeralaBlogExpress

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Posted March 12, 2014 by Shawn Coomer in Memories
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FIsherman pull in their nets on the beach across from the Estuary Island Resort in Poovar, India.

Note: I am currently traveling through Kerala, India on a press trip sponsored by the state’s tourism bureau.  Anything that I post or write has been written at my own decision. The words are my own.  I have not been asked to write about any specific topic. For up to the minute updates please follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram!

After arriving in Trivandrum the other morning, I was taken to a beautiful resort named Estuary Island outside the city in an area named Poovar.  This resort is surrounded by an estuary where the Neyyar River meets the Arabian Sea. Accessible only by boat, the resort is both isolated and beautiful.

While I will have a full review of Estuary Island at a later time, I just wanted to share with you the small glimpse into Indian life that I was treated to during an early morning walk on the beach.  On my second morning, just after sunrise, a few other bloggers and I took a boat across the estuary to a beach where the local fisherman were already hard at work in the already sweltering heat.

The fisherman use these shelters to keep the fish from spoiling in the sun and for shade when the sun becomes too much.

The fisherman use these shelters to keep the fish from spoiling in the sun and for shade when the sun becomes too much.

At nighttime, these fisherman take their boats and stretch out long nets out into the water in a semi-circle formation.  Early the next morning they line up in an almost tug of war style formation to slowly drag the incredibly heavy net in.  Two lines of about 8 men tug each side of the net until it is completely ashore along with their catch.

I was taken aback at how backbreaking and strenuous their job is, but also how amazing their group’s spirit was.  They work in a very systematic fashion. Every few minutes the man in the back of the line shifts to the front with everyone else falling back one position.  This all happens as the group’s leader shouts out chants which the men respond to in unison. While the sound is not quite musical, it is most definitely enchanting.

A fisherman at the front of the line pulls the net from the ocean.

A fisherman at the front of the line pulls the net from the ocean.

Traveling is about finding observations and experiences that make for long lasting memories. Experiences that are more than the cheap recreation of local culture that so many tourists see. I am truly grateful to have seen these fishermen in an unaltered and real environment.  Their life is no doubt difficult, but their spirit is both amazing and inspiring.  I have seen such a spirit in the eyes of so many people who suffer through difficult lives, yet somehow find a happiness that eludes so many who live in a more modern way.

To get back to the title of this post, maybe these fisherman have the most difficult job in the world and maybe they do not. The judgement is so arbitrary that the answer is not of any importance. While I would not want to do the job myself, I do have an awareness that there is not a thing wrong with their lives or their existence.

We are not hear to judge or compare ourselves or our lives with those of others, but simply to observe, grow and learn. Although my time on the beach with the fishermen was short, they did inspire me.  Looking back I am a little disappointed that I did not take them up on their offer to try pulling in the net myself.  Live and learn I guess.


About the Author

Shawn Coomer

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade traveling around the world with his wife and son. Today he uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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