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.
Then I boarded the forty-three-hour-long connecting flight back to India. As I took my seat in the Ethiopian flight, I pushed back my tears. I rehearsed rebellious speeches to deliver to my parents. I prepared answers to their questions that they had collected in the last nine months. I promised myself that I would go back to SA.
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I went home, stayed with my parents for a month, spent some good time with my brother, and reflected on what I wanted to do next. I didn’t want to go back to a corporate job, and I was sure that I wanted to write and travel more.
So I flew to Bangalore, slept on a foldable sofa in a friend’s room, and tried to settle into a routine life again. After sleeping on the couch for a few weeks, I moved into my current apartment which I could leave at a month’s notice. And that is when I started setting up my blog.
I would get up, go for a run, get ready, have breakfast, write for a few hours, eat lunch, finish an article or save the draft for later, prepare and eat dinner, go for a walk, read, and sleep.
That was what I did for 7-8 months. In between, I traveled within India for six weeks, visited home for Diwali, caught dengue — twice, and renewed my passport.
Everything was fine. Writing had started shaping up, my blog was getting responses, and my personal relationships seemed to be on track. But something was missing.
On the usual weekend trips, I was disappointed to leave a place in two days. I felt that I wasn’t really experiencing the places I was visiting or getting to know the people I was meeting. Everything felt rushed. I craved for longer adventures.
And then I went to Goa for ten days. Where I tried bringing a middle-class girl’s character to life while listening to the Indian Ocean rush to the shore, wrote freelance articles through the day in a beach shack and slowed down with live music on the sandy beaches at night, biked throughout Goa and its many islands, and hiked to hidden beaches to watch the sun breaking out of the stark sky.
When I came back, I realized what I was missing. I had restricted myself to a room and to a schedule to write and edit and freelance, but I had forgotten that what had inspired me to write in the first place.
It was the people I had met on the road.
It was the surreal landscapes that had ran past me on speeding trains.
It was the desire to tell stories that were waiting to be told.
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So I thought and thought and thought and then decided to leave the stability of a home in the chaotic Bengaluru and its imposing concrete. I decided to write and work on the go. I gave up my everyday stuff, stored the important things with a friend, and booked a one-way ticket to Indonesia.
The plan is to be there for at least a month or two, and then I travel to Malaysia.
I would be traveling slow, staying at a place for a few days, writing, engaging with local communities, exploring cities on my feet, bicycles, and scooters, finding offbeat places and experiences, and sharing these stories along with the lessons learned with all of you.
I might be back around December. And then I plan to travel within India, extensively.
Also Read: Golden Highlights of 2018 – A Year of Writing, Love, and Nomadness.
Am I scared?
Of course, I am. I have not just given up my apartment, but I am also leaving the people who matter behind.
At the end of each day, in whose face would I find solace?
How would I manage writing, marketing, publishing, pitching, traveling, living on the go?
What if the lack of a schedule or a fixed working place makes me reckless?
What if the nuisances of being on the road distract me from writing?
I am not sure.
But my idea of living was never to stay in one place. My idea of travel was never to touch and go.
And wouldn’t the directionless-ness push me to find my way?
Wouldn’t the experiences on the road inspire me to write?
And for the people that matter, I would carry them in my heart.
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And, of course, I have my readers 🙂
Though there is a lot more that I want to say, I have to close this post as a taxi awaits me at the gate.
Follow up Read: An honest account of living on the road for 100 Days