Golden Highlights of 2018 – A Year of Writing, Love, and Nomadness.

The whistles of a black kite which is hovering above me in the light blue sky are the only sounds that break my attention now and then. In front of me, a green parrot just flew by; I see more of them in the morning, when one after another they go, searching for grains and guavas and water and, maybe, more parrots. The coffee cuckoo, similar to the one that used to visit me in the earlier place where I stayed, also showed herself to me by flying from one tree to another in the jungle of the army campus, in front of which this rooftop one bedroom house of my partner is located.

I have stationed myself in one corner of this terrace on a chatayi or as we say a mat nowadays, and from here I write my heart out. In this nomadic life, you can find me on and off in Bangalore, for I always come here to be with my partner, and thus I pen down many pieces from his vicinity with a temporary feeling of home.

Having spent more than four months now as a nomad, I have realized that you don’t have to own or rent an apartment to be at home. Neither are you always on the go even if you are a nomad. At the end of the day when I think about getting back to home, I imagine a quiet place, where the bathroom taps do not drip and where I cannot hear the screeching tires or intruding honks, but I can only tune into the crickets singing songs to each other. Where I can lay on a bed or in a sleeping bag in a tent, preferably tucked away in the midst of trees, with a warm cup of tea and a book to read. From where I can make a phone call to my parents and family for they worry if I disappear for even a day. I imagine a home that is a window into the world, or it has a window from where I can see the world, which I like to have at a distance. And that is all.

Such are my preferences these days. I started penning down this article to tell you about how my priorities shaped up the year 2018, and so on I go.

Also Read: 30 Life Lessons I Learned in My 20’s

 

Golden Highlights of 2018 —

1. I found the love of my life —

Though our romance kindled in 2017 when I returned from South America and became his temporary neighbor, we formally committed to each other at the beginning of the last year. I had just returned from a month-long backpacking trip through India with another friend when I realized that this guy and I could keep each other happy. Our supporting nature and our inherent love for peace form the backbone of our relationship, and together these two provide me with all the strength that I need at this nascent stage of my writing career.

While he stays put in Bangalore to code, I come and go and spent time with him and away from him, and this is the lifestyle that would continue for a while. Though we both struggle, at times, to maintain a relationship while I am on the go, our connection always seems to have enough signal strength. And since I have been in a stable relationship, I have a lot of mental bandwidth to focus on productive activities (such as improving grammar and reading instead of looking out for men who could walk along with me.)

He and his rooftop den overlooking a forest infuse all the creative energy that I need.

Also Read: Why Do We Need a Life Partner and Where to Find One

 

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2. I started earning money with writing — 

As many of you know, I started writing full-time in 2017, launched OnMyCanvas, and initiated many other adventurous writing projects. In 2018, I made money while working as a freelance writer. The amount wasn’t huge, but I earned enough to even out the basic living expenses.

Out of the few articles that I sent to magazines and online publications, a few were selected and published as featured articles. The rest of the editors didn’t even reply. But the rejections don’t mean that I shouldn’t send my work; they imply that I have to write better and submit more pieces.

Making a living as a freelance writer is not easy, especially in India, but I have understood that to survive as a writer you need patience and endurance.

Also Read: How to Write Every Day – My Journey As a Writer

 

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3. I became a nomad —

I have been living on the go for four months now, out of which I traveled for about twelve weeks, and the rest, I spent in Bangalore. Throughout these four months, I have lived without a place to call my home, or whose address I can fill in forms or visa applications or on the client invoices. But every day I have felt that I am at home, for I just keep my rug sack in a room, put my towel in the bathroom, put on my slippers, wear my shorts, and start typing on my Mac to make the place my home. Of course, the view matters. When I have written enough, I talk to the family I stay with or go out to see the world and meet new people.

I have adopted a traveling lifestyle not just to become a travel blogger. But I travel to understand life and all the forms in which it presents itself to the people around the world. This nomad-ness has allowed me to do the same as I move freely, at a slow pace, without worrying about returning home to work and earn money. I would continue to travel slow while coming back to Bangalore in between until my partner finds a job which lets him move around with me.

Also Read: I Am Going Nomadic.

 

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4. Becoming a nomad implies I worked while I traveled for the first time —

2018 was the first time when I worked while being on the road. Though I still need to balance my time between working and traveling and writing and living, I am enjoying the freedom to move around with a choice and working on the go.

Also Read: 100 Days of My Nomadic Life – Highs and Lows of Living While Traveling

 

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5. I traveled to Indonesia and Malaysia —

I spent a month in each country. While Bali was cosmopolitan, gorgeous Malaysia seemed like a tourist-virgin country as sometimes I was the only one in the hostels, hotels, and landscapes. If you want to soothe your eyes and heart with greenery and fresh air, you should visit both the countries. Wildlife is present in ample on both the lands. The surrounding waters of the states are perfect for underwater activities.

But what fascinated me the most was the contrasting cultures, which also had glimpses of India, of the neighbors. While Indonesian Hindus sacrificed baby pigs to their Hindu gods in magnificent temples and choreographed and presented Ramayana tales around a fire, Tamils of Malaysia who were of Indian origin invited me into their homes and cooked wholesome meals, asked me to take drinks for free from their roadside stalls, and chirped every time they heard I was from India.

I have written a lot about Bali, but I still have to narrate my Malaysia stories (coming up in February this year.)

Also Read: My Bali Travel Guide – Some of the Best Things To Do in Bali and Beyond.

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6. I traveled a lot in India —

Even though many readers think that I haven’t explored much of India, I love traveling across India. And instead of flying, I mostly opt for the longer rustic bus rides and the scenic train journeys so that I can see more of the Indian landscape.

This year I went to Goa – (for the nth time) Every time I go there I have a different experience, and this time I drove around Goa, wrote at a beach, and gorged on fish thalis with fenny and sprite.

Coorg – (for the second time) I stayed in an estate which turned out to be almost a forest, and I even got to know that Coorgy people still hunt wild pigs sometimes.

Karnataka – Horsley Hills, a few falls and dams, and Sharvathi valley – Some of the places were far from Bangalore, and some were a few hours drive away. The more I travel in Karnataka, the more I realize that the state is extremely rich in natural resources and has many forests and rivers to be explored.

Hyderabad- I went there twice, and though I could never live there or travel at leisure again, I now know that Hyderabad is an old style city that has a lot of ancient architectural beauty.

Rajasthan- (for the nth time) This time I visited Pushkar mela and stayed in a tent in a village near Pushkar.

Pune and Muzaffarnagar (family calling).

The experiences were special this year, as instead of just engaging culturally with the locals and understanding their lifestyle, I tried my hands at photography and also wrote and worked while traveling.

Also Read: My Love and Hate Relationship With the Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards

 

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7. I focused on travel blogging(towards the end of the year) —

I have traveled and camped alone in remote jungles, have lived on islands with South American people who only spoke Spanish, taught English to their kids, and so many other adventurous things that I had to write about them. This year, I penned down many travel blogs on Bali, Chile, Peru, Southeast Asia, and India.

Within a few months of travel writing, tourism boards have invited me on trips, travel platforms have asked me to write permanently on their websites, and friends and readers have enjoyed my travel writing while finding it extremely useful.

Though I love travel blogging, I also want to continue writing about philosophy and psychology, developing habits, improving communication skills, and other life lessons that I have been writing since the day I launched this blog. And in spite of everyone telling me that I shouldn’t mix niches, I will take the risk and will continue to write about the things that add value to my life and can help others live better, too.

All my writings are honest and have takeaways, so I hope to find an audience that makes peace with what I write.

Also Read: Let Your Life Flow Freely – She Knows Her Course Better than You Do.

 

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8. I did diving —

I dived at the Liberty Shipwreck in the Indian ocean in Bali. As I dived for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as we went deep under the water, hoards of golden, silver, blue, green, orange, yellow fishes swam to us from all directions. There, in the middle of the fathomless ocean, I could hear nothing, and my mind was devoid of thoughts. Throughout the entire dive, I enjoyed the peace and just watched the wobbling fishes while making my way through the water.

For the coming year, I want to get better at swimming and dive more often.

Also Read: What is Mindfulness and How to Achieve it?

 

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9. I read non-fiction books —

In 2018, I read psychology, philosophy, and (auto)biographies for the first time, and I loved the books. I not only do focused writing on these topics, but I add ideas from these books and their concepts in my writing throughout. Thus I amalgamated science, philosophy, and travel to create my pieces.

Also Read: Relearning The Most Important Principles of Life– With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

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These were the few activities that filled the canvas of my 2018. As I have written all the things that I could do in 2018, let me also tell you some things that I couldn’t do or failed at.

I couldn’t focus on yoga for I was running and swimming more, I couldn’t read much which traveling, I didn’t send out my work to as many publications as I would have liked to, I didn’t reach out to travel and non travel) companies and brands to work with, and the list can go on and on, so let me stop now.  

Even though I have a list of pending things to do, I am happy with how the year 2018 went by and excited for 2019 and the many endeavors that it would bring along. Above all, I am living day by day and learning the art of perseverance as writing and blogging are the games of patience. 

Also Read: How to Achieve Your Goals – 12 Principles That I Have Stuck to Since I Was Fifteen Years Old

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What about you? Tell me the highlights of your 2018.

 

6 Comments

  1. Vanessa Carreon Ochoa January 14, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I enjoyed reading this summary of your 2018 adventures . I am glad we connected in 2018, amiga. And your stories about your adventures and life in general continue to inspire me. I admire your brave take on life. It’s one of the things that inspired me on my own adventures for 2018.

    I loved your section about your new relationship. I wish the best for you both. I enjoy reading how you both make it work and how it’s provided a better “mental bandwidth” for you while having a “strong signal” while you are away.

    “And in spite of everyone telling me that I shouldn’t mix niches, I will take the risk and will continue to write about the things that add value to my life and can help others live better, too.” – and this sums up why your work shines. You write with your heart not on what “works” or “doesn’t work”. Sometimes, our best work and life passions are those that go against the norms .

    I enjoy 😊 reading your stories. I hope to work with you one day (I love to write stories too!) but most importantly , meet with you amiga! Keep shining . 2019 will be even greater!

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta January 14, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Wow, I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much for this comment. You have always appreciated me, and I cannot be more thankful. I am glad to have met you, too, and would love to see you one day in person. Yes, the relationship is a strong pillar of my life for I never imagined that I would ever get such a compassionate partner. I do write with my heart, which can mean a lot of things but never that I am not honest about what I write or I share what I don’t care about. I have been following your journey, and you are on a go. Keep shining. Keep smiling. Hope to work with you, too. Thank you. Good luck for this 2019.

      Reply
  2. Harsh Tripathy January 12, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Many congratulations for your achievements Priyanka. You are already an inspiration for me and I always look forward to your posts. Wish you all the best for 2019. Keep rocking

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta January 14, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Thank you so much, Harsh. I look forward to the comments from my readers. You don’t know how thankful I am for every bit of appreciation for it keeps me going on the harder days. Please keep reading. Wish you the best for 2019.

      Reply
  3. pranita January 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Very nice post with images.

    Reply
    1. Priyanka Gupta January 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂

      Reply

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