Sunday, February 1, 2015

iJourney | How Travel Made Me Quit My Job

(A continuation of sorts from my previous post)

In hindsight I'd say that there comes a point when you decide to throw caution to the winds and instead let them just carry you. 
That’s possibly the only way I can explain how I am putting these thoughts to (digital) paper all the way from Bihar far away from everything that was once familiar. It’s still all a little too premature but one thing’s for certain: I am a fledgling in motion.

Quick rewind: If there’s anything that remained consistently true of my travels (in what could now be termed as the pilot phase) it’s been the nameless Samaritans I’ve encountered along my journeys.
“Take a seat here. Be comfortable”
“Here’s my number. Don’t hesitate to give me a call the next time you’re here”
“I can help you chalk out an itinerary”
“If you give them my reference they’ll provide you with a 20% discount”
…I could never tire from recounting these experiences. This is what I have come to call ‘experiencing humanity’.

I was growing tired of reading the headlines – even the news app on my phone began reminding me that it’d been over two days since I last read the news; I almost deleted the app just as I’d almost stopped reading the newspaper. Why tell me that there’s been an increase in the ‘incidence of rape’ when it’s possibly an increase in the ‘incidence of rapes reported’.
One word.
Just one word makes that difference – it makes me as a reader believe that more people are standing up and demanding for justice. It makes another reader somewhere else want to take a stand on an issue (not necessarily rape) they may not have had the courage for.

Those 15 months made one thing clear - Every sliver of hope I needed I would find on the road; in exchange I’d have to leave behind the comforts of my familiar environs. The multi-tasking sceptic with her 9 – 6 job had to be replaced. With what though? And even more importantly how?

All the reason and logic, I otherwise found myself digging out from wherever and emphasizing on, seemed to vanish simply because ‘replacement’ felt like the right thing to do. Period. Then began the slow but steady process of laying it all out. What did I want to achieve by taking this step? The answers I came up with made valuing all the risks involved relative to the reality I was basing it in.
I was already traveling enough, whether solo or not. I was blogging consistently and it was being received well. I wanted to spread the let’s-experience-humanity vibe beyond my own circle and beyond my own experiences too. I wasn’t going to focus on the must-sees and must-go-tos of the world. It wasn't my niche (just like clicking photographs of food isn't either). 


If you haven’t realised it already, I was convincing myself first that I was ready for this – ready to take up travel beyond a 24*7 preoccupation to a 24*7 activity! There would be no comfort zone. And then I started looking around for inspiration and ideas to give my seemingly crazy notion better shape and direction. I began to understand I wouldn’t have all the answers all at once and definitely not right at the beginning. What I did receive was unconditional non-judgmental support from family, friends and even acquaintances (and occasionally strangers too) – my emphasis of course is on the word ‘non-judgmental’. No one ever denied the risk involved – in just the same way no one denied that the only way to know better was to undertake that risk.

I also started looking around for opportunities I could latch myself on to.
Could I bag a free holiday (and save on my already modest savings)?
Would I design travel itineraries (that let people ‘experience humanity’)?
Did I want to take on purely travel writing assignments (that may not always involve the travel part)?
Would I find something at the confluence of my academic background + work ex in the development sector along with travel (if such a thing existed that is)?

Of the lot, option 1 was most preferable but then I factored in Murphy’s love for me and the odds of ever getting that lucky!

Everything came down to what I wanted. And at the same time I fully acknowledged that all I could do was to be open and keep trying. It’s a crazy balance you have to strike (and keep striking). And if you truly let the winds carry you, what you seek comes seeking you… That’s when an opportunity of a Fellowship came through – to travel through India and meet NGOs with the aim of taking technology to the grassroots. I still haven’t figured whether I ticked my fourth checkbox or whether it checked me.

Before I had any time to fully absorb what it entailed I was packing my bags to move base from Mumbai (read: comfort zone of the multi-tasking sceptic) to really not having a base per se. That explains why my current location reads as Bihar. 

Needless to say that experiencing humanity is the mainstay!



Ever let the winds carry you too? Do share your experience as comments below. 

7 comments:

  1. Looked up the last post; plenty of dots on the map in a year. Welcome to the breed of people who quit day jobs for something more, and good luck to you.

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    1. Yeah, well, it has been something of a journey getting to this point. And thank you this is something Iook forward to on a daily basis now. Wish you safe and happy travels too, Arun!

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  2. I see some real passion in you. Its a great inspiration for people like me who love to travel :)

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    1. Geee! Thanks Anusha. I'm glad that's how you feel. Thank you for stopping by.

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  3. I see some real passion in you. Its a great inspiration for people like me who love to travel :)

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