iNarrate | The Backstory of #BeYouForYou and #HaveFeetWillTravel

QUESTION: What do you think is common between:
a 15 year old with a journal,
a 22 year old tired about being body-shamed for being ‘thin’,
a 24 year old who’s travelled solo for the first time,
a 26 year old who quit her illusion of control (aka a full-time job) and
a 28 year old galvanising people to explore and express themselves?

ANSWER: The redemptive power of words and stories.

P.S.: I am that girl; a girl who now sees the wisdom in this Steve Jobs quote: “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

And this is my story…
About a month ago, while chatting with a friend about Be You For You – my venture through which I facilitate expressive writing workshops for students as well as working professionals – it struck me how until now, I hadn’t shared the backstory.

What was someone who fit the mould of I-quit-my-job-to-travel now doing by facilitating workshops on expressive writing? Not travel writing. Not creative writing. But expressive writing.

I did not quit my job to travel. 
I did quit a desk-bound existence.
I quit the un-examined life (which according to Socrates wasn’t worth living anyway).
Read: How Travel Made Me Quit My Job

I find words flow more easily whenever I'm on the road. Travel is my muse | Karnataka (India) -- January 2016
It took me a year of examining - that were coupled with a few meltdowns – to realise that more than writing for myself and for an audience; whether through my blog-posts or through the projects I was undertaking, I wanted to take writing to more people.
Not writing as a skill, but writing as an experience.

I had found solace in the pages of my journal ever since I was a teenager.
I had been able to deflect the brickbats flung at me for being thin when I began a blog titled: Not So Ample. I gradually learnt to be unaffected by snide remarks.
I began to hear myself through the words my keyboard imprinted on my screen when I gushed about the magic of travelling. I found a sense of community when people I had never met stumbled upon my blog and expressed how a post struck a chord with them.
It was true that I had not only experienced my world but also myself differently because I wrote. I got over being body-shamed by embedding humour when I wrote. It’s helped vocalise myself every time I pick my backpack in spite of what the headlines scream.

This has been redemptive power of words and stories.
This was the experience of writing that I wanted to offer.

I can literally just squat anywhere and get writing. Including in a moving train | Arunachal Pradesh (India) -- February 2017
I conceptualised Be You For You realising how distant and disconnected we were becoming as a generation. Our distractions are often found at the end of our own hands: our gadgets. We awkwardly joke about ‘feeling’ disconnected in spite of ‘being’ connected.
Such irony!
Read: My Eureka Moment = Be You For You

Was it any wonder that a majority of us have been more hurt, confused and angry than we remember being a few years ago – let alone a generation earlier? Both children and adults are an afflicted lot. Stress related health ailments, malfunctioning immune systems, depressive and mood disorders that result in absenteeism, poor performance and dysfunctional relationships are becoming visibly evident.
And we have concealed our helplessness by staying more distracted which only fuels the hurt further.

What would begin happening if we found a medium to express our inner worlds?
To ourselves first?

And thus was born Be You For You!

Glimpses of Be You For You workshops from July 2016 

My belief has been that: If people are able to explore and use writing as a form of expression (i.e. have a cathartic experience), they can become aware about their thoughts and feelings.
In turn, that awareness can induce their ability to respond proactively (and not reactively) - to life’s many circumstances.

What’s even better is that attendees needn’t have to have excellent English language skills or even writing skills. Participants have used their mother-tongue and even created words to express themselves.
And just that act has been such a transformative experience to witness.

It was this time last year that I'd officially launched Be You For You.

A year later, I couldn't be any more grateful that I took that leap of faith.
Not without the support of friends who've been my sounding board since the inception of the idea!
Below is a thought I shared on Facebook --

This is the story of how I joined the dots.

And for all the times I've been asked what does Nomadic Thunker mean, here's the answer!
This is the story of the Nomadic Thunker; the story of how I discovered a way of combining forces with what I have been interested in; between writing and expression.
After all, what has Have Feet Will Travel been if not for an expression of my own experiences from the road!
And as before, the roads continue to beckon me...

P.S. 1:: This is also why my blog has undergone a much deserved overhaul. Do take a look at the home page. I would love to hear feedback!
P.S.2:: In continuing with taking leaps of faith, I do want to plan non-Mumbai based workshops. Hyderabad last December was a fantastic experience. If you can help me plan, please get in touch. 

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