Life isn’t always about planning something, finding something, being something. Sometimes we just drift along and see where it takes us. And so it was with my 23-year-old self, working in a cushy cubicle-bound corporate job in Singapore that indulged me but didn’t necessarily fulfill me.
Against all odds
In my restless state of mind, I found inspiration in the journeys of travel bloggers from around the world (Dave and Deb’s included!), and dreamed of trading my corporate life for one on the road – who doesn’t? Alas, looming above my head like little warning clouds were my student debt, the complete lack of social security in my home country India, a passport that makes visas painfully difficult, and a protective family back in my small town home at the base of the Himalayas. Truth is, there was little precedence in India for a person – forget a single girl of 23 years – to leave behind the security of a stable paycheck for an uncertain, seemingly impractical, life of travel.
But that’s exactly what I did
Small steps for a long journey
Before I took the plunge however, I tried to understand my wanderlust and know if long-term travel was really for me.
Clubbing annual leaves and long weekends, my trips across Southeast Asia unveiled my curiosity to go off the beaten path and find experiences travel guides could tell me little about – like living with the White Thai tribe deep in the interiors of Northwest Vietnam, climbing an active volcano on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, and discovering pristine islands along Malaysia’s east coast.
On a two-month sabbatical from my job, I flash-packed across Western Europe with a friend, and volunteered by myself in the highest villages of the Indian Himalayas. Instead of feeling worn-out and craving a familiar bed after 60 days on the road, I felt alive with a newfound zest to explore the world, one that left me no doubt that my ‘stable’ job had nothing more to offer me. So I quit and moved back to India – with a big student debt and bigger dreams.
Believing in the road
Thanks to the low cost of living in India, my savings were enough to see me through 6 months of wandering. Using Delhi as a base (away from the constant nagging of my family to get my act together), I picked up work with NGOs and travel enterprises that let me feed my wanderlust in remote parts of the country, started writing for national and international travel publications, and gradually entered the realm of professional travel blogging, with my blog the-shooting-star.com
Two years and many adventures later, in another leap of faith, I gave up my rented apartment and sold most of my belongings to go location independent – an idea that still leaves most people in India boggled.