The Stories of 14 Inspired Young Indians Who Quit their City Lives To Travel [Vol. II] - Homegrown

The Stories of 14 Inspired Young Indians Who Quit their City Lives To Travel [Vol. II]

 Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

– Jack Kerouac

If you’re going to quote Kerouac or Twain (read: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”) right at the get go, you’d better have good reason and even better stories from the road to back it up. Naturally, we have both. In the rat race that is life in the 21st century, it takes more than a little bit of courage to leave everything behind, and it made us think about the few we knew who had. Quitting jobs, and leaving families and stability behind, all in the pursuit of travel is the stuff most people’s dreams are made of—and the ones who cut off those strings usually find there’s more to learn than they had ever imagined.

We’ve always had immense respect for those who dare to pursue their passions, regardless of how impractical it might initially seem. Whether it’s our three (see here, here and here) volumes showcasing individuals who are juggling dual professions in one lifetime, or those who’ve straight-up made their choice (and how) by choosing their dreams over stability–we’re out to find more of these people and make their stories known. Today, in Vol. II of this series (see Vol. I here), we take a turn towards those afflicted with wanderlust in this compilation—to explore the story of young people who decided to take to the road and stick to it, quitting their jobs to follow their hearts. Until you can do the same, here are their tales to tide you over…

[Note to readers: these stories are in no particular order of preference.]

I. Aditi Venkateshwaran | Performer. Resilient. Student.

Who:
30-year-old Aditi Venkateshwaran is a dance artist—dancer plus choreographer—and an actor with a keen interest in writing and travel. She started her career as a Radio Jockey in 2006 with Radio Mirchi as their primetime breakfast show host. She has been engaged in artistic work as a performer, creator, and teacher since year 2003.


Travel can cure a really messed up brain and clean the dirt in our minds.

The big trip:
“For eight long years, I worked as a Radio Jockey with Radio Mirchi while simultaneously being a dancer. It was like doing two full-time jobs—working 18-hour days 365 days a year. Of course, I danced for myself more than anyone else and I loved radio but it was still exhausting. My body started giving up and I was losing my mind. I knew I had to do something drastically different to get my sanity back. Even though there was a lot of money, recognition and fame, something was not quite right. One day, two years ago, I decided to walk away from my job with really nothing in my hand.”
“I discovered the joy of nothingness—sleeping in trains and on platforms became a normal part of my life. I travelled alone, mostly and sometimes with people I was in awe of. I walked around the streets Kolkata alone during Durga Puja and saw the city glow like a beautiful young bride, I travelled to Sri Lanka for a dance theatre festival and fell in love with the country, and I brought in New Year’s Eve in golden silence during my vipassana in Jaipur.
On choosing travel over her job:
“Not many people approved of my decision, but that’s okay. I nosedived my way into theatre. I did a few more dances than usual. I travelled to many new places and made a whole bunch of mad, beautiful friends. I made no money and I spent everything that I had saved and was back to being what I was when I was 19. Except, I’m not 19 anymore. Hopefully, a little wiser and a little stronger than before.”
On what she gained:
“Mostly, an obscene amount of joy. Add to this, a different perspective to life, and many beautiful stories for my future grandkids,” she shares.
On what she lost:
“I don’t know. Of course, there’s money, but it feels really petty and insignificant compared to what I’ve gained from life.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Galle, Sri Lanka. Or maybe Leh.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“I’ve got three: an unread book, a pen and a diary.”

You can follow Aditi and her adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

II. Amrita Das | Love my life.

Who:
29-year-old Amrita Das is a freelance travel writer and blogger. She shares her travel experiences on her website, Travelling Ides of March. She also works with a number of publications and travel websites such as the The Hindu, National Geographic Traveller India and Mint, to name a few.

Travel can cure the disbeliever.

The big trip:
“Travel was never optional for me, but my job was. I was working with one of India’s leading women’s magazines in Mumbai before I quit so that I could take up this location-independent work life. There really was no specific day when I threw everything away for travel. It gradually took a solid and more tangible shape in my life,” she shares.
After wrapping up her life in Mumbai in April 2014, she took up her first seasonal job, which had her move to Goa. Since then, she has travelled not only within India, but also to Singapore, Mauritius and Spain. “Fulfilling as it has been, it is also very demanding. It has completely overthrown the work-life-travel balance, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I realised that I could have my cake and eat it too, it didn’t make sense to waste more time,” she adds.
On choosing travel over her job:
“I don’t think this choice has defined my life. Of course, it is an important phase of my life but it isn’t permanent or all-encompassing. I think it’s important to be alive to enjoy every moment in life, whether it is raising a family, committing to a job, keeping real relationships or travelling to an unexplored place. It’s the smaller things we do every day that define our lives as opposed to that one big decision we make in a year.”
On what she gained from it:
“Compassion, for one. I have definitely become a kinder person. Travelling full-time has also made me re-evaluate my relationships. The best ones always stay. I have understood much more of world history and realised that swooning over non-living objects or architectural structures is real. I have also gained a few extra kilos from all the melt-in-the-mouth desserts from across the world.”
On what she lost:
“Time, stability, money and patience for righteous and insensitive people.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Antarctica, via Iceland.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“Headphones and my phone—music is essential for me.”

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. You can also read her blog, here.

III. Anahita Sriprasad | Adventurous. Motivated. Strong-willed.

Who:

21-year-old Anahita Sriprasad is a visual communication design and filmmaking graduate who likes to spend her time doing outdoor activities and adventure sports.

Travel can cure anything.

The big trip:
Before she made the decision to travel, she was working as a freelance designer and home-baker. “I made a solo backpacking trip across parts of India. And everywhere, there would be wide-eyed people asking me one question: ‘You are a woman, why are you travelling alone?’ It annoyed me and made me want to do something bolder. So, I set out on a solo, self-supported cycling journey from Leh to Kanyakumari over two months and four days in order to promote women’s safety and empowerment in the country.”
On choosing travel over her job:
“This decision has helped me see quite an extent of the country in a whole new perspective. It has made me appreciative of the smaller things in life.”
On what she gained:
“Experiences, memories for a lifetime and oodles of confidence. It also helped me improve my cycling.”
On what she lost:
“I don’t feel like I have lost much, honestly.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“I’d go to the farthest place from here, with my cycle, and slowly make my way back home—maybe”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“A book.”

You can follow Anahita and her journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

IV. Ankit Rawat

Who:
26-year-old Ankit Rawat, who hails from Dehradun is an engineer by degree and a photographer by passion. “I love to travel, explore and photograph places and people. I am a food lover and also a fitness fanatic,” he states.

Travel can cure almost anything that you are suffering from, be it depression, relationship issues or lack of clarity on what you want to do in life. It sure does make you a better person.

The big trip:
“I was working in Dubai when I decided that I had to try and travel full-time till I could. I was fed up with the monotony of following the same routine day in and day out and I had gotten over the whole ‘I want to make a lot of money’ phase. So I quit my job, sold my car, cancelled the lease to my apartment and invested in travelling. I travelled for almost 10 months till I ran out of money and realised that I needed some stability in my life.”
Rawat travelled to Vietnam where he spent five months, followed by a month each in Cambodia, Thailand, Cyprus, Indonesia and India. “I visited Vietnam because of the food and it is here that I realised that not everything revolves around money. I went to Cambodia because I had read and seen a lot of pictures of the Angkor complex in Siem Reap and was very enthused by it. While I was there, I fell in love with the food and the people,” he shares.
He visited some of the remote islands of Thailand. Here, he spent most of his time in Koh Lanta. “It was quiet and not touristy at all. I met some really nice people, had some amazing food, and witnessed one of the most stunning sunsets ever. In Cyprus, I explored the mosaics in Paphos. I had a great time eating some of the local souvla and the mezzes. And in India, I spent my time travelling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. I visited Jaipur and Udaipur as well.”
On choosing travel over his job:
“Travel made me realise that money is not everything, but at the same time, having money is important. It made me focus completely on my photography and give it more time.”
On what he gained:
“I gained a lot of invaluable life experiences. It made me a better person. I also gained a lot from a photographic perspective.”
On what he lost:
“Nothing, honestly.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“I would love to go to South America. It’s always been a dream.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?  
“My phone.”

Follow Ankit’s work on his website and Instagram page. 

V. Elita | Sarcastic. Observant. Walker.

Who:
27-year-old Elita is a “thoroughbred Indian, stoked by all that there is to explore and experience here in this country”.

Travel can cure anything except wanderlust itself!

The big trip:
“I’ve been travelling since I’ve been a kid, so it was only natural that I’d take it up independently. I spent the initial two years juggling travel with a full-time job, but soon enough, my travel bug developed tentacles of its own. It could no longer be my paramour to indulge in on weekends, or even once every two months. So, I quit the sedentary desk life in December 2014,” she shares.
She had been working as a development sector professional and had worked with NGOs in functional areas of project management and impact measurement with a focus on tuberculosis, reproductive health and the adolescent girl child, before she decided to call quits.
“Travel has always been my muse when it comes to writing. That’s how my blog evolved into a travel blog over time. For me, blogging about my travel experiences is not only an opportunity to relive my travels once more, albeit through words but also a form of expression that can be shared with everybody. It’s a way of experiencing and sharing those experiences with an ever-growing circle of strangers-turned-acquaintances and acquaintances-turned-friends,” she adds.
On choosing travel over her job:
“It has been a year of searching (sometimes scavenging) for work, only without the comforts of any guarantees: neither of the paycheque at the end of a month, nor the job. It has definitely not been easy quitting the concept of certainty. We’re made to aspire for certainty as we’re growing up. That’s why we study and acquire our degrees. It was hard unlearning some of that conditioning. It was just as difficult to not be consumed by self-doubt.I was travelling regularly and my blog was being received well. I wanted to spread the let’s-experience-humanity vibe beyond my own circle and experiences. I didn’t want to focus on the must-sees and must-go-tos of the world. I spent a lot of time convincing myself first that I was ready to take up travel beyond a 24x7 preoccupation to a 24x7 activity. I started looking around for inspiration and ideas to give my seemingly crazy notion better shape and direction. I began to understand I wouldn’t have all the answers all at once and definitely not right at the beginning,” she shares.
“Quitting my job wasn’t based on a whim—I needed to quit the desk-bound life so that I could travel. I had travelled enough while at my job and I wasn’t letting my leave lapse any more—not even for a single day.”
On what she gained from it:
“Long-term travel is an experience unparalleled. There were trying and testing times—from Delhi’s winter, to misconceptions about places like Bihar and Chhattisgarh, and the everyday struggles of managing my travel logistics while dealing with the pangs of sticking it out on my own as homesickness crept in. It took something from very deep inside of me to not want to call it quits and find the resolve to roll myself out of bed on the mornings I felt overcome by a sudden sense of powerlessness,” she confides.
For her, the validation came from knowing that in six months she had taken 17 trains across six states. Not having a defined salary helped her realise that she could travel frugally without compromising on her safety or her itinerary. “The past year has been an intensive course on adapting, belonging, learning to be calm and collected, feeling disconnected, easing in and figuring things out on-the-go,” she adds.
On what she lost:
“I’ve lost my preconceived notions and prejudices about myself as well as people and places—and to some extent my pessimism and laziness. I have lost routine’s stronghold over me just as much as I lost the impulse to spend my money inconsiderately. Of all the things I have lost these are the ones I choose to be fixated by.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Iceland,” she says without a moment of hesitation.
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“Diary and a pen.”

Follow Elita on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. You can also follow her blog to stay updated about her adventures.

VI. Kunj Sanghvi | Curious. Erratic. Storyteller.

Who:
29-year-old Kunj Sanghvi worked in in marketing and brand solutions for reputed media companies like NDTV, Hindustan Times and CNBC TV18 for several years after completing his communications MBA from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad.
One day, he quit his job and began his journey. Over a period of six months, he covered the length and breadth of the country while on a strict budget of Rs. 1,000 per day. “I travelled by sleeper-class compartments in trains and rickety state transport buses. While on this adventure, I put together my first book,” he shares. Sanghvi is an author with two published books under his belt: Side Upper and Pehla Kadam. He also writes and produces a TV show, Pehla Kadam for CNBC AWAAZ which goes to small towns in Hindi-speaking India in order to spread financial education to a diverse group of people, from the boatmen of Varanasi’s Ghats to the marble artisans of Udaipur, and army officers in Faridabad to school children in Dharamshala.

 Travel can cure restlessness and the idea that there may be a better place for you somewhere. Because the best place is in the train, on the side upper berth, en route to a new adventure.

The big trip:
“Before deciding to travel, I was handling brand solutions at Hindustan Times. The thing about a corporate job is you have to be convinced that it is a big deal—that meeting targets, making revenue, selling that extra ad makes a difference to this world. When you aren’t convinced about it, you stop excelling at your job and that’s the time to quit. I decided one night that I had had enough and my friend challenged me to put in my papers the very next day. That night I stayed up staring at India’s map and the next morning I put in my papers with a plan in my mind,” he shares.
He visited 23 different cities in India and wrote a fictional short story set in each of them while on the road. “ I always wanted to write and travel. My English professor back in college was convinced I was meant to be something other than a corporate slave. I finally paid heed to her exhortations,” he muses.
On choosing travel over his job:
“It changed me in many ways. The most significant was that I stopped living in my past. I realised that I have to work towards finding newer, richer experiences along the way and not live with a pessimistic idea that my best time is  past—in the hallways of my college and the playgrounds of my business school. I am now confident that whatever happens, something more exciting and enriching awaits me on the road ahead.”
On what he gained:
“The comfort of being alone. Now I am able to go for lunches alone, watch movies and even go on solo trips. This has given a new dimension to my relationships as well— I am not nurturing them because I am scared of being alone anymore. They come from a happier place and not from a place of insecurity.”
On what he lost:
“I lost any perspective I had on what constitutes a career. I lost ambition, at least the way we define the term today. I realised that there was no need for so many things in life. You look at people in McLeodganj or Gangtok, you will see that they lead a very happy, simple life. They are not driven by the need to be somewhere else or something more. I think, in the process I lost that restlessness that usually drives people up the ladder in their careers. I do miss it sometimes, though—that killer instinct I once had.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“I’d go to Berlin, Germany. The five days I was there, I fell in love with the city. Its not a city that pretends or puts on a show. It is so confident and secure in what it is—it’s wonderful. I also like how across the city there is an unabashed admission of guilt for its bloody past and yet an open mind for the future. I like the voice of its bars and its gardens. I like how dilapidated buildings there are taken over by squatters to make art and make love. I like how they judge you there if you dress up for a night out.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“The song by SD Burman from Dev Anand’s Guide ‘Wahan Kaun Hai Tera, Musafir Jayega Kahan?’ I listen to it at every railway station I’m at before I depart for a new destination.”

 Follow Kunj and his work on Facebook and Goodreads. 

VII. Mukul Bhatia | Charismatic. Ambitious. Adamant.

Who:
26-year-old Mukul Bhatia lives between Delhi and Goa and is an internationally published and exhibited photographer whose work lies in between documentary and fine art. Born of a migrant mother from Pakistan, Bhatia is the youngest of seven children. He graduated with an arts degree from Delhi University and further studied photo journalism at MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia. In 2014 he received the MATTER Singapore Art grant, which enabled him to travel to over 20 countries under the premise of documenting a visual anthropology of a Modern Nomad. His practice is centred on people focused on celebrating, exposing and providing alternative narratives aside from mainstream ideas about certain spaces and subgroups within society. His oeuvre includes works based on transsexual communities living in Pune, portraits of orphaned children from war-torn Kashmir, and most recently, has focused on researching the circumstances and livelihoods of the contemporary Hmong tribal community across southeast Asia.

Travel can cure a lot! It cures a passionless existence, gives you strength to quit that mediocre job and that loveless relationship for the life you really deserve. It gives you a sense of individualism, perspective and an urgency, that pushes you back to the minimals that truly matter. It teaches you the need for human sharing, and exposes the possibilities and strengths in you never thought existed in you , and thus allow you to redesign your life the way you want it to be.

The big trip:
“I started at 17, while I was still studying. I’ve worked as an art director and copywriter in an ad agency, a business developer for a bank, and my last job in 2012 was as an editor in a media house,” he shares.
“My upbringing has been a very safe, domesticated one. When I took my first legendary trip across the length of India for over seven months, I had some wild experiences in spaces that don’t confine to mainstream society’s way of existence. I lived for months and documented the war orphans of Kashmir, the transsexual sex-workers of Pune, the cannibal Aghori Babas at the Maha Kumbh and the last hippies of Goa—and immersed myself completely in their lives. It was a lot to take in and learn in just seven months. It gave my life a certain sense of inspiration, compassion, and urgency...a greed to see more, do more, and live more in the now and not in the future.”
On what he gained:
“Work—the photographs produced by my unconventional travels have been exhibited in galleries around the world and my compositions have brought me some prominent international clients that have allowed me to travel to over 23 countries till date—and I want to keep doing the same. But there is more. This life has helped me learn a lot. For my upcoming book, I stayed with strangers across the world: in chateaux with affluent artists in Paris to punk squats in Rotterdam with Romanian gypsies; with shamanist tribals in Vietnam, and Syrian migrants in Greece, and documented their everyday pleasures and pains for my book. When you live with strangers—especially the ones with diverse life realities—you absorb a lot of their space—the good and bad. I try to grasp the best in most individuals I meet in my journey and it has been something.”
On what he lost:
“My lack of availability and shift in worldviews affected few very close friends and loved ones. But in the end, you attract new, brighter people who are more alike and life moves on for the better.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Bogota, Colombia.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“My iPhone.”

Follow Mukul on his website and Instagram. 

VIII. Neeraj Narayan | Passionate. Happy. Intriguing.

Who:
32-year-old Neeraj Narayan grew up playing cricket and dreaming of a day when he could walk in to bat with Sachin Tendulkar. As he grew up, his dancing became much better than his skills on the pitch, and all hopes of an Indian team’s cap went up in smoke. An MBA grad from MICA, he worked as a Communication Consultant to the Govt. of Gujarat and as content head of a travel website. In 2013, he gave all of it up, and since then, has been to 32 countries, climbed an active volcano, dived off a mountain in the middle of an ocean and seen at least fifty shooting stars. In 2014, he started his own travel company On His Own Trip and now leads group tours for young adults all around the world.

Travel can cure the feeling that you are important in the larger scheme of things. None of us are. The mountains and rivers were there before us and will stay for many more years after we are gone.

The big trip:
“I used to work for a travel website. Two years later, I had had enough of sitting in an office. I yearned for more from life. So I quit my job in June 2013 and went backpacking across Europe. I headed to Spain first, to run with the bulls—and learned what it felt like to literally run for your life. I fell metres before the finish line and the bull spent a good minute on top of me, probably wondering if I’d taste good.  Three weeks later, I got chased by a bear in a forest in Croatia. That one month, I couch surfed all over Spain, Italy and Croatia, danced in bars and taverns, spent some nights with gypsies in a cave and mostly woke up late every day. I haven’t returned to the corporate world since.”
On choosing travel over his job:
“That first trip changed a lot of things. I realised how much I loved being outdoors, especially lost in nature. Travelling through other countries, I met a lot of backpackers and strangers, and realised that meeting new people, initiating conversations, and living in those moments was what travel meant to me. The more I travelled, the more I trusted the environment to take care of me. Once in northern Thailand, I got lost in a forest for three days. Where I was, there was just a hut and five wild elephants. The first evening, I went up to one and touched him. Over three days I learnt how to mount them and ride them through the jungle. Travel made me more aware of who I was and what I liked.”
On what he gained:
“Travelling solo, being out of my comfort zone and stretching myself instilled a quiet sense of confidence in me. The more I travelled, I more I began to understand that I could handle any situation. The stories on my blog gained attention and a lot of people wrote in saying they wanted to travel similarly. So I started my own group trips with the aim of making people see the world differently. We have a lot of fun on these trips. Initially, I had quit my job to travel. Now, I earn from travelling.”
On what he lost:
“A regular paycheque, office IDs and a conditioned life.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Well I want to be everywhere, not just one place. But if I had to choose, I’d probably go to a country in the very north of South America and ride my way down through the entire continent on an old secondhand bike, encountering bustling towns and villages, jungles, mafia lords, pretty women good friends, taverns and inns, animals and whatnot.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“Phones and technology I can easily do without. I wore a bandana on that first solo trip to Spain and a pretty girl told me it looked nice. It hasn’t come off since. Maybe that one did, but bandanas became an essential part of my travels. She was also probably the last person to say it looked nice.”

Follow Neeraj on Facebook, Twitter and his blog. 

IX.  Pooja Kochar | Ambitious. Inquisitive. Fearless.

Who:
32-year-old Pooja Kochar decided to quit her job and live fearlessly, which she believes has set her free. “Everyone has an inner guidance system. We need to hold our energy and trust our instincts. Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend, obviously never experienced the joy of exploring the unknown. Travelling inspired me to bet on myself, and start blogging about all the destinations I visited. The depth of human emotions guided me towards stories that needed to be shared with the world and I stay true to my passion by blogging about them.”

Travel can cure the fear of the unknown.

The big trip:
“I worked with India’s top IT giant for almost a decade. Everyone around me believed that I was living the perfect life, but I was chasing something I did not believe in. Ultimately I decided to give up my safe cubicle to be a nomad. I was very tough on myself in terms of physical and mental expectations, and that is exactly when I moved towards my aspiration and started connecting with readers across the globe through my travel stories,” she shares.
“I have travelled to Australia, China, US, UAE and various gorgeous locations within India in the last 15 months. Each of these places bedazzled me with their uniqueness. Each country will give you countless lessons. I replaced my MBA with Master in Bag-pack Administration,” she quips.
On choosing travel over her job:
“The only thing you possess your entire life is yourself, so fly free. Everything that happens in life is an indication to something bigger, and that thought can change your perspective. I was so focused on being perfect that I lost the charm of careless imperfections. Travelling gives me the liberty to experience myself without inhibitions.”
On what she gained:
“Invest in experiences and not things, it’s much more comforting. I learnt to be absolutely unapologetic about my decisions. It gives me my space to dream big and look beyond the obvious.”
On what she lost:
“I lost my desire to lead a complicated life. Replaced my Louis Vuittons with travel stories that made me smile and love with all my heart.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“The world is too beautiful to pick one place but if I had to, then I would go back to South Africa where I got the first stamp on my passport and complete the circle of my travel journey.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?  
“I always experience a new place through photography, so, my camera is an absolute must.”

You can follow Pooja’s website and blog

X. Prakhar Joshi | Curious. Patient. Adaptive

Who:
26-year-old Prakhar Joshi has been on the road since 2013. “With lots of travel tales to share from India and abroad, I am always thinking about new cultures to explore and learn from. At present, I manage the South Asia operations of a global non-profit called The 1947 Partition Archive, which also kindles my want to travel, record stories, and meet new people. At present, I am working on building my own firm with some friends and also looking for publishers for my first photo book about my travels to places that are not on tourist radars. When I’m not working, I delve into reading and writing. Some of my stuff can be checked out on Instagram,” he shares.

Travel can cure, as said by a Nepali elder, our haste to live through our life, to get done with the 12 months on the calendar; it teaches us to pause and live at a pace that allows us to at least take note of our life passing by.

The big trip:
“I worked for a global non-profit, The 1947 Partition Archive, that records, preserves and shares people’s history of the partition of South Asia, through memories of people who witnessed it themselves. My work allowed me to travel a lot, mostly to places that otherwise one would never plan to visit,” he says.
In 2014, having been with the Archive for over a year already, he decided to quit. Along with two of his friends, he set out to travel along the entire coastline of India in November. They traced the 7,500-km-long coast of the Indian peninsula, starting at the Sunderbans in the East, down the east coast, turning at the southern tip of Kanyakumari and moving up the west coast to finish at the end point of Indian territory at Koteshwar in Kutch. They covered the entire trip using public transportation and travelling with locals whenever they could.
“The idea behind this trip was essentially to travel without the motive of doing it for others. We did try to fabricate a cause around it, but then just gave up on that facade. At that point in 2014, I was looking for clarity on various issues, and not wanting to let my life set into certain patterns and routines. This trip, with my best friends, was the answer. The other major feature of this trip was that it was completely unplanned. Our only motive was to stick to the coast. Even with my co-travellers, I didn’t talk about the journey much before it began. The trip was planned as we were on it,” he shares.
On choosing travel over his job:
“Travelling has been a very important part of my life since my childhood. It is something my parents inculcated in me, unknowingly. After university, I travelled extensively, never putting up in one place for more than a fortnight. I didn’t really realise the changes it brought to my personality until people around me started pointing them out. I think traveling is a hard-to-satiate thirst—the more you travel, the more you desire it.”
On what he gained:
“It’s hard to articulate it in words. I think it taught me the difference between what all is absolutely essential for my existence and what all I can do without. It allowed me to differentiate between needs and luxuries.”
On what he lost:
“Everyone around me seems judgemental on some level. They’d try to compartmentalise everything and limit things into boxes of their understanding. I was like that too. Still am, but I think that has been undone to a vast extent.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“South America or Central Asia.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“Nothing. I have learnt to not tie myself down with—or depend too much on—inanimate objects.”

You can follow Prakhar on Instagram and Facebook. 

 XI. Rohith Ashok | Restless. Curious. Fluid.

Who:
27-year-old Rohith spent over four years working in corporate law in Mumbai after his graduation.“I was working in one of India’s leading law firms, where I was exposed to, and mentored by, some of the most impressive legal minds in the country,” he shares. But he had other plans for himself.

Travel can cure inertia and complacency.

The big trip:
When the itch to explore other interests set in, he spent a lot of time contemplating his decision before acting on it. “It struck me that I was actually still quite young—a perspective that got lost while I focused far too much on being ‘successful’. Thankfully, I saved up a little and wasn’t caught in an unmanageable EMI web. That, along with bosses, colleagues and loved ones who were supportive and encouraging of my aspirations to pursue my passions, allowed me to finally take the leap to prioritise life over livelihood.”
He started the trip with a journey home to Chennai from Mumbai on his Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500. He returned once again to wind up his life in his old rented house. “I packed and loaded my saddlebags onto my motorcycle and set off on what I had initially planned as a seven-day solo ride down the coast of Maharashtra and Goa followed by a quick jaunt across Karnataka as I made my way to Tamil Nadu. What followed was nearly 20 days on the road, when I covered almost three times the distance that I had originally intended to ride, dotted with visits to places whose names I would have never known how to pronounce and experiences (adventures and misadventures alike) I could never have imagined. With a tummy full of coastal food and a mind that now saw the open road even while I was asleep, I knew that my journey wasn’t really going to end at home, even if it meant that at times, my only companion would be my now battered saddlebags.”
While plans to ride the length and breadth of India on a motorcycle are being hatched, he is currently caught up with a plan to do a 1,400-odd kilometre bicycle tour from Raipur to Chennai through Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
On choosing travel over his job:
“This move has had a significant impact on me in terms of the way I think and approach things. From being afraid of unpredictability and uncertainty, I’ve moved to embracing and enjoying it. I avoid being rigid about the things I do, and prefer to let things play themselves out. While this means I end up hitting a few bumps along the way, I find that some of my misadventures define my travel more than the adventures. In fact, I’m often just as curious about what will come next, as the people who ask me about my plans,” he shares.
“This transition has also helped me rediscover many things that I actually like about travel. Previously, it served one purpose—unwind and seek creature comforts. While I would still enjoy that, now it is the journey that grabs the spotlight.  Also, given that my work now no longer travels with me, it isn’t only my inbox that feels constantly refreshed. Being on the road has altered my idea of basic necessities. When you stay in one place for long enough, you tend to accumulate a whole lot more than you need. It is only when you’re on the move that you see the redundancy in what may have once felt indispensable. Nearly five months on, I seldom miss anything that doesn’t fit into my saddlebags,” he muses.
On what he gained:
“Time, plenty of optimism, new interests, skills and passions, a renewed belief in the kindness of people, flexibility and an abundance of excitement.”
On what he lost:
“My comfort zone. I also lost a whole lot of excuses, scepticism, hesitation and a few kilos.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“The idea of buying a ‘one-way ticket to anywhere’ makes me think of travel overseas. Since I’m currently enticed by the road, I wouldn’t want to buy a ticket to anywhere. I am very excited about the idea of touring India before I head off to any other part of the world.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“I can’t choose just one. I’d take a portable speaker, my phone (primarily for the camera) and my motorcycle wherever I go.”

Follow Rohith on Instagram

XII. Savi (Unconventional. Bohemian. Literature geek) and Vid (Restless. Urban gypsy. Coffee geek.)

Who:
31-year-old Savi and 33-year-old Vid form the writer-photographer duo behind the bohemian travel and fashion blog Bruised Passports. They love going off the beaten path, making friends around the world, and discovering hidden gems in cities around the world. They’ve been to over 65 countries in the past 10 years. In 2015, they quit their jobs in London to embark on an indefinite trip to see even more of the world.

Travel can cure ignorance

The big trip:
“We’ve driven with zebras in South Africa, been caving in Austria, cavorted with Bedouins in the Sahara, befriended soldiers in Israel, and partied in a nuclear bunker in the Czech Republic. ‘A trip every month’ was our motto for 8 years. Be it a short weekend away in Brussels or three weeks driving across South Africa, we made sure we satiated our travel bug as frequently as we could.”
While Vid juggled his full-time job as a Business Analyst at University College London with part-time photography assignments, Savi dabbled in academia as she completed her PhD in English Literature. Their passion for travelling, writing, and photography drove them. While most of their friends were saving up money to buy houses and cars, they were spending it on gaining experiences all around the world.
On choosing travel over their job:
“Quitting our jobs and embarking on this journey around the world has made us appreciate the little things in life. We constantly learn to live in the present and not dwell in the past or worry about the future. We want to celebrate every second of life, explore places, understand new cultures, meeting likeminded crazies across the world, and document our journey to inspire others to travel more.”
On what they gained:
“We have learnt innumerable life lessons from travelling. Travel teaches you how to put things into perspective, respect nature and humanity, and understand the world outside your little cubicle.”
On what they lost:
“Stability and a place to call home. Most days we love absorbing the romance of new places, but there are days when we miss basic things, like a place to call home, a wardrobe to dump all our things, or a phone number that doesn’t change every month.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“Croatia. We love its coastal drives and laid back pace of life.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“Our Nutribullet (go green smoothies!) and Vid’s camera.”

Follow the duo’s travel adventures on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Do check out their blog as well. 

 XIII. Tanveer Taj | Dreamer. Explorer. Biker.

Who:
25-year-old Tanveer Taj likes to describe himself as a “travel enthusiast, motorcycle admirer, biker, dog-lover and day dreamer.”

Travel can cure a restless soul

The big trip:
“The love for the road and the fascination for motorcycles always existed in me. I used to explore places around Pune and found myself getting out of the city every chance I got. After graduation, I started working with an advertising agency and the job was great. A colleague of mine and I used to daydream about leaving chaotic city life and never looking back. One fine day, we actually did it. We quit our jobs and decided to explore India on two wheels. We went for a 40-day-long trip covering Delhi, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu,” he recollects.
After getting back from the trip, he knew that he had to turn his love for the road into something more substantial. That is how he decided to start his own website and social channels under the name of RoadShaman. “I started traveling more, documenting my journeys and sharing my story in the form of blogs, videos and pictures,” he adds.
On choosing travel over his job:
“I was broke and jobless when I got back. There was no plan and it wasn’t easy at all. But travelling opened up many doors that I didn’t know existed. My head was clearer. And although I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was sure of the things I didn’t want to do. It gave me a sense of direction and that’s when I decided to open my website and work towards it.”
On what he gained:
“I became more patient. In times of crisis, I always look for a solution and try not to crib about it. More importantly, I have become modest. I have begun to appreciate the beauty around me”.
On what he lost:
“Stability, in my personal and professional life,” he shares. “And a steady paycheque!” he adds quickly.
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“I have made up my mind to cover every state in India before travelling abroad because there’s so much to see here! However, if I were getting a ticket, I’d go to Australia and/or New Zealand.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“My travel journal and a pen.”

Follow Tanveer on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

IX. Vir Nakai | Honest. Laid back. Hilarious

Who:
36-year-old Vir Nakai is a blogger and the co-owner of an adventure travel motorcycle company, along with his friend Harsh Man Rai, called Helmet Stories. “We are vastly experienced travellers and motorcyclists who met while being filmed in Ladakh for The Road Trip, a 10-part television serial on what compels different people to get on a motorcycle and ride off into the blue yonder. We felt an instant kinship, perhaps kindled initially by our inordinate love for red meat and dark rum that was further cemented by our decision to ride countless miles over hills and down valleys together.”
It was from here that both, Helmet Stories the store, and the blog, was born. “Here, we share our rides through professional grade photography and writing. Over the last couple of years the blog has become du jour reading for adventure travel aficionados. We have also caught the eye of some of the best magazines both nationally and internationally.”
Through their store, they provide premium guided motorcycle adventure tours in India characterised by premium-level accommodations and meals, impeccable motorcycles, a superior support team, and exciting off-bike activities designed to maximise riders’ appreciation and enjoyment of the unique local culture in the areas in which they travel to. “These backroads have been our personal playground for years, and we’ve plotted out the best riding experiences in India. We want to show people the places and roads that could be easily missed and passed over by the crowd along with the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts, and the experience of truly enjoying the culture and cuisine of a place,” he adds.



Travel can cure the worst day and make a good day even better.

The big trip:
“I have done a lot of things, from working for an IT firm to a gig in publishing. Right before I called quits, I was working for an advertising agency as an art director. I used to ride all over the country whenever I could get the chance, but since college, it became harder to do so. As a child, my parents and I spent a good amount of time driving into the mountains and travelling wherever we could in their old ambassador. When I got my first bike in college, I started doing quick trips into the mountains and they just got longer and longer and to increasingly remote and phenomenal places. One day, I just had enough with my work and decided to follow my gut.”
On choosing travel over his job:
“I had reached a point where I was just going to work for the salary and nothing else. I was not happy and it was driving me up the wall. Even my wife encouraged me to follow my heart and I decided to heed her advice. Days after I quit I took off into the mountains to Spiti and Ladakh and since then there has been no turning back.”
On what he gained:
“Freedom, sanity, time to spend with the wife and daughter and hours of riding around the nooks and crannies of India.”
On what he lost:
“Nothing of importance.”
If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
“This is a tough one, but, I know where ever it is there will be a motorcycle waiting for me.”
One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?
“I would say my riding kit, but if we have to break it down even further, it would be my helmet.”

Follow Vir on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, follow Helmet Stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Compiled by Sanyukta Shetty


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