“Inner freedom, self-identity and peace are important concepts that are often overlooked. Growing up, I was also a victim of the ‘societal acknowledgement’ syndrome, so to speak. I studied in a good college, worked at a big corporate and had ticked all the boxes that a girl my age is conventionally expected to. I did find it initially rewarding, until I discovered a huge void in my life. I felt I had no identity apart from the work I did, despite being interested and talented at a lot of other things. That phase made me understand how one’s work is usually not acknowledged unless it produces material gains. This awakening completely changed my outlook towards life and money and ignited enormous changes.
I had previously visited Meghalaya and Thailand with my friends, which were a ton of fun. As I had not toured much as a kid, these trips helped me discover a newfound love for travelling. It led me to contemplate for a few months until I decided to quit my job. To top it, one fine night, I spontaneously boarded a transit flight to Kolkata. I loved the peace that the Meghalayan mountains encompassed and wanted to explore it further. But to my surprise, I ended up going northwards from Sikkim all the way till Ladakh. This exploration went on for a month where I was completely on my own. It was exhilarating, to say the least and thus began my solo-travelling adventures.
Since then, I started working in new industries, to save up for my next big venture. Even while travelling, I tried my hands at different jobs which helped me pick up an array of skills. Right from volunteering in a new location, organizing photo walks to even managing events- I have done it all! Every job helped me discover a new aspect of my personality, and I thoroughly enjoyed the introspection that came with it.
On the personal front, however, my choices had resulted in colossal repercussions. First, my family was taken aback by my decision to quit a well-paying job. Everyone in my milieu except a few close friends thought I was wasting my life and would regret my choices later. Moreover, the idea of a girl leaving everything behind to suddenly pursue her passion for travelling raised a lot of eyebrows, especially on the security aspect. People also wondered what significance the decision would make and dissed my journey as futile.
In our country, the concepts of self-discovery and mental health are not well appreciated and given enough importance. Aberrations to an existing framework are usually unwelcome and differences aren’t celebrated. Even in my case, my journey wasn’t well-received until I got the opportunity to give my first ever TED Talk. I received a standing ovation after my speech and the overwhelming appreciation astounded all my circles, who finally felt that I was, in fact, doing something right. Today, they are much more open and understanding of my preferences.
Lastly, the profession of travel blogging is usually awed at, with people dreaming to live our lives. The reality, however, is that it is an incredibly difficult career path with obstacles throughout. My decision to choose this life was a conscious one, that I fully embrace, despite the hurdles. My voyages do come with a lot of risks but have also helped me in restoring my mental wellbeing and gaining more clarity. I live by the day, with a lot of hope that I will eventually find whatever I am seeking. After all, I took the road less travelled and that has made all the difference till date, hasn’t it?”
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