Browsing Category travel inspiration

My Chilean Host Mother Took Her Broken Heart and Said to Life Vamos (Let’s Go).

We were in September, and the sun had been hiding away for many days from Chiloé, a southern island of petite Chile. Rain thudded the brick-tiled roof unabashedly. I shivered after a shower on a cold evening in Castro. To avoid getting scolded by my host mother for not drying my hair well, I walked down to warm my head near the kitchen fire.

My host mother, who was already sitting at the round, wooden dining and sipping mate from her cup, called me to join her while patting the thick sofa cushion on her left. Perched on her right, the British volunteer, who was also teaching English to Chilean students with English Open Doors, rolled his eyes as he saw me accepting her invitation and approaching them. Respecting our usual friendly banter and rekindling the Indo-British feud, I threw some bad words in his direction. 

Then as the three of us huddled at the dining and sipped tea in the cozy kitchen of our uninsulated home, my host mother told us that her brother had just come home to request some wine, and then she warned us not to trust him as he was an alcoholic. 

Though I had seen her brother visit us every day, eat bread and cheese at the dining, drink wine, of which she kept a big bottle in her kitchen especially for him, I never realized that he was an alcoholic. Maybe I was focusing on cracking the heavy Spanish that darted to and fro between the siblings.

But his alcoholism was not the devastating part of the story. 

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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 living a nomadic life. 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.

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

I haven’t gone out of my partner’s home, where I sit and write here in Bangalore, for three days, apart from a small walk that I did to the grocery store because I wanted to eat something better than lifeless noodles with invisible vegetables. Ironically, today I am writing about my 100 days of nomadic life.

I thought that being nomadic means staying on the road 24×7, and maybe, you feel that way, too. I will get to that, but first, let us go back in time a little bit to understand how my digital nomad journey started.

I chose this life for I wanted to be location independent. I wanted to be able to travel whenever I yearned to see a new place or live in a jungle where I could only hear the crickets whistle and the leaves rustle instead of the incessant blasting traffic of Bangalore or any other metropolitan. But having a rented apartment was sort of becoming a hindrance to free movement and adding up costs without adding any value, apart from providing me with a quiet writing space with a balcony.

I thought that I better spend the money which I paid for the apartment where people shut doors on each other as if they were enemies on gorgeous Airbnb’s or friendly homestays or rustic hotels in the hidden corners of the world. At least I would explore, meet interesting people and have some meaningful conversations, and live life at my own pace.

So I gave up my room in the Bangalore flat and packed my bags to wander freely while working online. The whole idea was to move slowly; I have never found any joy in visiting a place for a weekend or two days and then leaving it, while I didn’t even know what lay in my backyard though I saw all the famous attractions of that destination. And while exploring the world one place at a time, I could afford the lifestyle of a digital nomad because of my writing portfolio.

But I have come to realize that not having a permanent location is not about traveling all the time. It is about moving with a choice.

This nomadic life has put up all sorts of choices in front of me and let me be honest with how I feel about them.

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When Spanish Hit Me – My Heartfelt Tale of Learning Spanish in South America

I went to Chile in July 2016 to teach English in a state school. All my friends, family, relatives, acquaintances, and social connections asked what made me go to Chile; I said I didn’t think much. They asked me if I could speak Spanish; I replied that I would learn Spanish in South America.

My family concluded that going to Chile was an immature escape as at the end I would be alone and financially unstable. I was sucked down into the whirlpool of emotional hurdles that my family stirred in my career and personal life while being assertive that they cared.

I was fired. I had just ended a two-year live-in relationship which I believed would turn into the long-lasting love of my life. The Titanic sank. I was going to be twenty-nine soon. Friends were getting married. Babies were being born. I did not know anyone in Chile. I did not speak Spanish.

Before I left, an uneasy feeling of forgetting something lingered. Like the one that makes you shuffle through your pockets every time you walk out of your home. I understood later that I was scared: of being alone, of unknowns, and of not knowing Spanish.

I did not know then that in a couple of months I would be able to speak the language fluently.

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I Am Going Nomadic.

I have given up my apartment, packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and off I go with my backpack, a pen and a notebook, and a one-way ticket to the world.

I have been in namma Bengaluru for a year now. Before that, I was in South America(SA), teaching, living, and traveling. After having been nagged by my family to return, I came back last year.

During my nine-months-long adventure in the passionate continent, I did more than I could have done in a few years. I hiked active volcanos, made friends from all over the world, learned Spanish, taught English in Chile and realized that I might have a few traits of a good teacher, stayed in a treehouse in a Bolivian village, stayed with local Quechua communities on the remote islands of Lake Titicaca in Peru, got mugged in Santiago, held monkeys and sloths in the Amazon, night trekked to stumble into the deadliest frogs and snakes, lost myself in the Machu Picchu Inca ruins, wandered in the fathomlessness of the Atacama desert, and struggled to get job interviews and tried to prolong my stay in South America.

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What Travel Has Taught Me – About the World and Myself

This is not one of those articles where I suggest you leave everything and travel and quote Robert Frost that the road less traveled is the one I took.

Why do so many people change their careers and lifestyles to travel? Sometimes even indefinitely?

Do they travel to see new places and eat different food? Or to fill their passports with stamps? Or to be able to say at their deathbed that they have seen the world?

Could be. But it is more than that.

Let me take you through what travel has taught me.

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How to Learn a Language By Yourself – 24 FailProof Tips

Are you wondering how to learn a language by yourself? Or finding the best way to learn a language?

Then you have come to the right place.

First, let me tell you my story about learning Spanish so that you know that you can learn a language on your own.

Before traveling to Chile, I couldn’t speak Spanish and wondered how I was going to survive in a predominantly Spanish continent. I assumed that Latin Americans would make my life easy by talking with me in English.

But neither the Latinos nor the foreigners living in Chile spoke English, at least not as much as I expected. That is when I realized that I had to learn Spanish. Reality hit me hard, and I prayed for survival.

Learning Spanish in Chile, a country notorious for bad Spanish, wasn’t easy. I struggled to make my way around Chile from morning until night. I couldn’t understand the conversations on the dining table and longed to participate. I missed cracking jokes. I wanted to cry.

Words fell on my ears, but my brain couldn’t comprehend them.

Rather than pitying myself, I decided that I had to learn enough Spanish so that I can understand the people around me and reply. And that is what I did. From speaking incorrect Spanish unabashedly to practicing Spanish grammar with workbooks, I tried all ways to learn a language.

Fast forwards a few weeks, I started speaking Spanish fluently. I was still a foreigner in Chile, but as I began to understand more Spanish, I became a part of the Chilean host family. We woke up, greeted each other by kissing both cheeks, ate toast with avocados and Nescafe coffee, and talked about life at supper or the evening Once.

I had a second home now just because I could converse in Spanish.

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My Poem Was Published in Alone Together — Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America

Going to Latin America was one of the best decisions that I ever took. And the nine months I spent there is the shining skyline of my chaotic life.

As I returned back and tried to stand straight on Indian grounds again, someone told me about a writing competition which was looking for entries from women who had traveled solo to South America.

Yes, I was one of those women.

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Why Do I Travel and Live a Nomadic Life

Since I started traveling relentlessly for the past few years, my friends, family, and everyone else started asking me that why do people travel so much, what did I do for six months in Chile traveling alone, what did I see, how did I feel in a country where I couldn’t even speak the language, how did I manage to travel for so long, and how did my family react?

They say that I am lucky that I get to travel so much.

I smile. I lecture everybody that they can travel, too. I ask them why don’t they take a sabbatical and go? I elaborate on why traveling is important even though no one might be listening.

People laugh. They shake their heads as if I had asked them to do the impossible. They say it is not easy. What would their parents say? Their boss won’t allow. They are settled with their partners. Traveling would be too expensive.

They think these are unique problems. And they don’t get that why do people travel so much.

As I travel a lot myself, I understand why people leave their homes and travel around the world. In this poetic essay, I will tell you why do I travel and why traveling is important.

Recommended Read: Backpacking through South America – Epic memories from a trip of 9 Months and 3 Countries.

 


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