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 my previous apartment, also flew from one tree to another in the park in front of my writing studio.
I have stationed myself in one corner of this studio 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 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 Took From My 20’s
Golden Highlights of 2018 —
1. I found the love of my life —
After coming back from a nine-month solo trip in South America, I accidentally met my partner who lived in my neighborhood apartment then.
Soon we realized that we 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, I keep this city as my base for all my travel plans. 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. 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 finding a suitable partner.)
His positivity infuses all the creative energy that I need.
Also Read: A science-backed guide on why do we need a life partner & where to find one.
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: 27 Writing tips for novice writers
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.
Also Read: I am hitting the road, indefinitely
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 living like a digital nomad – Highs and Lows
5. I traveled to Indonesia and Malaysia —
I spent a month in each country. While the island of 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.
Also Read: Cruising the Kinabatangan River, Borneo, Malaysia
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 went on a road trip from Bangalore to Coorg and stayed in an estate which turned out to be almost a forest. Do you know that Coorgi people still hunt wild pigs sometimes? My linked guide to Coorg would tell you all about the Kodava culture.
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. Read my list of the best places to visit in Hyderabad in three days for some Nawabi adventures.
Rajasthan- (for the nth time) This time I visited Pushkar mela and stayed in a tent in the Chawandiya 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: Pushkar and Pushkar Camel Festival – In Photos and Stories
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: My best blogging tips for beginners: From two years of blogging.
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: Learning Mindfulness – With Buddha and Osho
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: Getting back to the basics of Life – With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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: Succeed in Life – With 12 principles that have helped me achieve my goals
Follow Up Read: My story as an Indian girl in Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards
What about you? Tell me the highlights of your 2018.
If you liked my story, please pin it and share with the world!
Note: This post contains affiliate links; if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will earn a little bit at no extra cost to you. It is entirely up to you if you decide to buy. Thank you.
Want similar inspiration and ideas in your inbox? Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter "Looking Inwards"!