There comes a time in life when you feel a halt amidst your potential richness, and you being to fail yourself. You end up producing under-expected results. Regardless of how hard you worked to be there, your conscience forces you to take a final decision.
I moved to Ahmedabad in the month of August, because I was always fascinated by the idea of living on my own. The city is 150 miles away from my hometown, so I didn’t frequently visit my parents. After learning many things at my job, I resigned in the month of January. Knowing that a work experience of 4 months wouldn’t look good on my resume, I still quit.
Soon I called my mother and told her, “I’m coming home!” and informed her the rest. To her surprise, this was unexpected because a week ago I was promoted to the position of Travel Writer. It was my dream job, in fact, it’s for many.
Puzzled she asked, “Are you sure?”
Was I? Yes. Did I have any other backup? No.
I answered, “I can’t live a mediocre life. I want to do something worthy.”
That was 100% true. I knew it, I could feel it. Out of all the lies which were forced on me, this one was the truth. I wanted to write. I wanted to travel. But I wanted to do it at my own pace. I wanted to write about the things I cared about, and which would make me happy.
What most people doesn’t know about a travel writing job is that the working hours aren’t fixed. You’ve to move as per the schedule given. You need to visit places and collect information on their behalf. If you’re sent to Agra, you can’t necessarily visit Taj Mahal. At last, once the tour is over and your travel expenses are covered, you’ve to submit the work ASAP. You can’t procrastinate an extra day, excusing yourself because you’re tired.
I’m not inactive or sluggish, but I’ve a writer’s soul. I like to carry a book when the trip commences, and to write down my thoughts when I witness something that touches my chord. And after a pleasant trip, I like to take rest for a day before getting back on track.
When I resigned, my Boss asked me, “Did you get another job?”
I simply said, “No. I want to write a novel. I don’t get enough time for myself, to read and learn, while I’m working here.”
She wished me Good luck and I moved back home.
I won’t deny that I had to give up on a number of entities, and a part of me was disappointed. Excitement of living in a new city, first job, new friends and colleagues – everything. But my inner Goddess was dancing in joy, she was breathing in the vibes of freedom and relief. Because in that moment, I had given up on the conception of stability and I wanted to walk on the path of potency.
After coming back to Surat (my hometown), I spent quality time with my friends and family. I contacted one of my high-school friends, and checked on her availability. I ended up booking a flight to Hyderabad (where she was working), it was my first pleasurable non-sponsored solo-trip.
I’ve always been a detached person, so when I travel, I don’t feel homesick. Being passionate about traveling, I decided to get inked. ‘Wanderlust’ along with three flying birds, tattooed on my left shoulder when I was working in Ahmedabad. It was the kind of commitment, I was ready to make to myself.
Well, I had most fun in Hyderabad. It was my first flight, ever. Jet Airways, Mumbai to Hyderabad, January 26, at the age of 21 – unforgettable. I stayed in my friend’s rented flat, to save on hotel bills. During the daytime, she used to go to work and I used to book a cab and explore the city on my own. Other firsts included – clubbing, visiting FRIENDS (TV series) themed café and the overrated Burger King.
(Read my reviews of Hyderabad cafes on my Zomato handle )
My visit to the famous Golconda Fort was rather enlightening. The entrance was to close at 5.30 PM and I entered around 5 PM. I was rushing to reach to the top for the view, but I was out of breathe soon. I got slowed and later, was followed by two young boys, who kept staring at me while walking past me. It went on for a while, and I got scared because it was near to sunset and the people around, were mostly walking down. Being a single female traveler in a male dominant society is tough. Firstly, you’ve to push yourself to the maximum of your abilities.
(Read my experience on my Instagram page)
Secondly, you’ve to prove yourself that you’re now ready to execute. At last, once you’re out in the world, you’ve to keep fighting to continue your journey.
There were two options in front of me: walk down and save myself from the trouble (if any), or climb up and see what I came for. I had quit my job to be able to walk where I was, I had my self-grown determination and poise. There was no way on earth, I’d have allowed two strange creepy boys frighten me off. I reached to the nearest security guard, so they went away. I continued my trail and witnessed the desirable.
My flight back home was on February 7. But after exploring one city for a week, I wanted a change. So, the first thing I did after waking up on February 2, was search for the Top Hippie Destinations of India. I found Hampi and that was it. I checked for trains and booked the one departing on the same night. I looked for safe home-stay on the travel apps, and I called Murli Guest House Hampi (which had the best reviews on Tripadvisor App) and booked a room for the next day.
After 11 hours of train journey, I reached Hospet (which was the nearest railway station). It took me 20 minutes via local bus to reach Hampi (which was 12 kilometers away).
Hospet is a regular Indian town, but Hampi is like a whole another space. The entire village is surrounded by rock-mountains and coconut trees. A very few locals could speak English, rest of them knew only Kannada (the local language). Also, I think the foreigners outnumbered the locals there.
Murli, the owner of the guest house, drew a map on my notepad and instructed me the sequence to follow while visiting the landmarks. I was supposed to explore one side of the Tungabhadra River on Day One, and the other on Day Two.
I had an incredible experience driving a rented moped on the roads of Hampi, exploring the caves and the ruins. Also, even being in my own country, I had troubles while communicating to the local people. It was like I was in Spain and couldn’t speak to the natives.
On my first day, I drove to many hills and even took a boat ride in a lake. At last, I climbed the doable 575 stairs of Anjanadri Hill and reached the sunset point. It had the most breathtaking view. Only rock-mountains and fields, as far as your bare eyes can see. And in the horizon, the Sun slowly touching the mountain and fading away. I sat there for an hour, consuming the eternal beauty, before I told a guy to click my nice picture with the exceptional background – on the top of Hampi.
I thanked him for the click and got in a short conversation. His name was Nick Mutch. An Oxford University Graduate from New Zealand, working as a journalist in London. He was accompanied by a Swiss guy, named Diego, who was pursuing PhD in Physics from the same world renowned university. Previously I had thought of applying to UK Universities after going back home, so I decided to stick with them a bit longer. While we were walking down the stairs, we spoke about the life of international students in the UK.
Later that night, we had dinner together. Two other Londoners joined us – Sania and Adam. We spoke about world leaders, consequences of BREXIT, and emerging opportunities for international students, amongst other things. It was a pleasant encounter for me. I became confident about pursuing my further education in the UK.
The clock hit 8, and I knew there were no street lights. Travelers were advised to not roam after sunset, because of the theft committed in dark. I had to drive back 7 kilometers to reach my place, so I spoke to two locals who ran a shop near our small diner. They lived in the same village, where I was staying. Hence, I trusted them on my way back, and reached safely. I thanked them for their kind gesture, but most importantly, I thanked my instincts.
Next morning, I handed over the rented moped and checked out. After crossing the river, I visited the famous Virupraksha Temple, followed by aarti. Later, I hired an auto-rickshaw, and it showed me around the other important landmarks of Hampi – the historical ruins. At evening, I took a bus back to Hospet, followed by a train back to Hyderabad.
I grew up in a family, where outings meant visiting grandparents. We never had family trips. Maybe that makes me crave more for traveling. After my solo-trip, I knew somewhere deep down that I grew as a person. I always wanted to go abroad, so that I could say that even I’ve seen the world and brag about it. Such an immature thing! My own country has so much to offer, that people around the globe comes to see it.
When I was climbing to the sunset point, I asked an Australian fellow traveler, “What is the duration of your trip?”
She said, “6 months.”
Amazed, I asked, “That long?” with noticeable surprise in my voice.
Laughingly, she said, “Yeah. India is an incredible country, there’s so much to see.”
I felt so little in that second, I’d never forget her words. I never stepped out of my home till date, because I didn’t think I had enough money to travel. In a way, that word is so overrated. Because during my trip, my friends used to check on me and tell me, “I envy you, you’re traveling so much.” I did take a break of a fortnight and visited four amazing places. When I told them that they could do this too. They didn’t agree.
I feel bad about this misconception that people carry, which stops them from going to the most amazing places. Only once you step out, you’ll know that the world isn’t a scary place. When you’re taking proper precautions and trusting your instincts, things don’t go wrong.
When I quit my job, I didn’t know what would happen to me next. I was looking for something enormous. But matter-of-factually, I went to the considerable and a little out of my comfort zone, and truce found me. How lucky am I?