Last week, I took a wee trip to Rishikesh – the land of sadhus and of many people’s spiritual rebirth. I have a personal affection, some attachment to this place. This is where I once spent two months, practising meditation and taking spiritual lessons.
But this time, my arrival was accompanied by a sense of unexpected realization. I wondered, as I grabbed myself walking along its frenzied, confused walkways, that how lucky I am to experience places like Rishikesh again and again. And yet, it is never the climax of my journey. It is always the beginning.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls” Anais Nin
It has been a few years now since I have been travelling full time, or I should perhaps say a few years since I’ve made travelling my life, and my source of income, yet I never shared here why and how it all happened. It would be nice to say that I wanted to understand myself and find my inner consciousness, but frankly speaking, it’s not true.
The only part which is true is that was bored of the monotonous 9 to 5 corporate job and I didn’t want to keep continue doing it until I turn 60, ready to be retired. I wanted something more than that. I wanted to see the world. Meet new people. Learn better ideas. Find out what’s wrong with this system of corporate culture, that it never made anyone happy – no matter what they achieved in their life. Simply put, I wanted to educate myself in a way that no school, no job ever did before. And I wanted to do that by breaking free.
But one thing is saying that I want to do this and the other thing is realizing I am actually doing it.
Travelling is no less than a pursuit of happiness for me. Yet, throughout this time, I’ve often stumbled upon questions like “Why I quit my job to travel” or “How did I manage to make such a decision” or “What’s next”. And I think with all these questions, what people actually wanted to ask me was why did I not go for a two-week calculated holiday (or a couple of month’s sabbatical, if I am being pretentiously brazen about it) to quench my thirst of travel, as an averagely sane person would otherwise do.
The truth is, there is no fun in that. I have taken enough of those recreational holidays – as people often term them – in my life. When I was working I found myself escaping the boundaries of New Delhi almost every weekend, with a couple of friends, drinking a bunch of beers and returning with an unsatisfied soul. And I remember, the minute I entered the premises of my office, after completing that sweet, sally trip, it always felt as if it actually never happened.
So I realised that I wanted something more than that. Something bigger. Something permanent. I wanted a life of uninterrupted travelling, of permanent movement.
Further Reading: 6 Reasons To Start Travelling Today
Discontentment Is Good
Discontentment is the very first step to a new beginning. My discontentment towards my job forced me to quit my job and start travelling. I had always loved India, but I never loved my life in India. I always loved my profession (of writing), but I never loved my job. It seemed I was just accepting things as they came because everyone around me told me “this is life and you got to learn to deal with it.”
But I think I wasn’t good at it. Though I tried to suppress my unsatisfied soul the traditional way, by changing jobs and running after money, it was just not enough. My audacious, fertile mind – discontented and grumbling – kept pushing me until I shifted focus.
The Journey That Changed It All
I took my first solo trip back in 2014 (you can read about it all here), while I was still working, and it was a life-changing experience. Though there was nothing extraordinarily great about the journey, the freedom in travelling solo was, in fact, most addictive. And that was it. I spent the next few months, saving as much money possible from the job I was doing, having a very clear focus in my mind – to leave this lifestyle behind and travel the world.
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” Mary Anne Radmacher
Though it is true, when I quit my job in 2015, I had no idea that I will soon start blogging, but I had a belief that something good will follow. I remember during the initial few months of travelling and searching for a better life, I tried seeking a way to become a community journalist (I even wrote a few articles addressing social issues but couldn’t find the courage to get them published somewhere) and make it my permanent career, but I couldn’t. And I think it was because I tried and failed that in the end I decided to be a little easy on me, and chose a more freestyle kind of writing – travel blogging.
So the point here is, if you’re discontent, wanting a little shift in your life, there is no harm in quitting what you’re doing and trying to change the present. Because if nothing else, you can always return to the same present and say to yourself “I at least tried!”
Three Years Later Since I Became A Full-Time Blogger In 2016
Update: It has been nearly two years since I wrote this blog (and three years since I have been travel blogging) and I am fortunate to still be able to travel full-time and make money from it. Though my journey as a full-time traveller has had many highs and lows when I look back and think of what travelling has given me during all this time, there’s just one thing that comes to my mind, and it is – the satisfaction and the thrill in waking up every day!
And speaking of what’s next, I think now that I’ve got good riddance of my corporate career and have attained the financial stability, I’ll continue travelling for as long as my heart will desire, and if I ever wanted some stillness in life, I can always go back and resume what I was doing. But this time, I will only do it a little better!