Stories Of 8 Inspired Young Indians Who Quit Their City Lives To Travel

Stories Of 8 Inspired Young Indians Who Quit Their City Lives To Travel

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 multiple (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. III of this series (see Vol. I here and Vol. II 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. Niraj Raviya | Wanderer. Impulsive. Badass baba

When he’s not monkeying around during travels across the country, you’ll find 30-year-old Niraj Raviya chasing greatness from his home on the outskirts of Mumbai city working towards being a future motivational speaker and Ironman Triathlete.

The Big Trip

“It was in the 7th grade that my school took us to a jungle camp which is when the travel bug bit me (It was a rat actually). I use to be an Interior designer before I joined an outdoor adventure travel company only to realise you don’t really get to travel much in a travel company, you manage other people’s travel.

In regards to travel, I have biked the length of India, rode a Yamaha FZ from Delhi to Chennai, in 2014. Cycled the distance from Panvel (Mumbai) to Delhi in protest of the so-called development of the Panvel Airport which was a threat to a bird sanctuary called Karnala. In 2015, I cycled to the highest motorable road in the world Khardungla Pass, to Manali. It was a mad challenge. Reason - I was getting my knee surgery done this year and I knew I won’t be involved in any action for a long time post-surgery.

Climbed an ‘all walk no flights’ trek to Everest base camp, from Salleri to EBC and back.

Besides these endurance and will-testing journeys, I have backpacked across a few other parts of the country for the sake of experience, like for Holi in Brindavan, exploring Rishikesh for its yoga and Beatles ashram, Trek in Gangotri region. The ‘to do’ list is never-ending.

Now I have a small startup in Adventure tourism called Thrillsafari wherein I organise lifetime experience for people who love the outdoors but in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Niraj Raviya

“Travel can cure, that in itself is a sentence. Travel can cure practically everything.”

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

“It was purely impulsive, It has always been like that. I got a chance to ride through the entire country on the back of a motorcycle cycle, it was a ‘take it all or leave it’ moment. I had a job in an MNC and a boss who didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, I had to go.

There is some charm about travel that makes you leave all the ease and comforts of being in your home city and switch to this uneasy yet happy life. At times venturing into the unknown and not using Google at all has its rush.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

“The very typical answer, but the truth would be the happiness of the heart. And of course, the experience of taking a dive into an ocean of self, emotion and the amazing people I’ve come across.

Losses... nothing actually. At first, I missed the fat paycheque but I knew that it wouldn’t matter, being from the creative field I knew Machines wouldn’t take my demands away.”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

“Somewhere I can stare at the Northern Lights for hours, Iceland.”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

“Backpack (mine is called the Freedom). But also a Swiss knife, phone, earphones and a paperback.”

You can follow his travels on Facebook and Instagram.

II. Sayali Goyal | Independent. Creative. Free-spirited.

A travel storyteller and visual artist, 27-year-old Sayali Goyal graduated in 2011 from the University of Arts, London, and worked full-time in the fashion and travel marketing industry till 2016. It was earlier that year that she decided she wanted a life that was more creative and fulfilling, and she hasn’t looked back since.

The Big Trip

“In the last 3 years, I have travelled for more than 100 days each year (until now 14 countries). In 2016 I travelled across 3 states ( Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) for 3 weeks on a bike. After being inspired from scents of the cocoa fields in Coonoor and jasmine fields in Madurai, I launched my magazine last year called Cocoa and Jasmine. This venture allows me to travel and connect with the local community. Last year I co-worked and volunteered with an artist residency in Berlin to help the Syrian community of artists to grow and this year I worked out of Leh in the summers.”

Sayali Goyal

“Travel can cure a broken soul.”

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

“Well now that travel is also my work, I feel It’s my source of inspiration and my canvas. I try to involve travel in every project I do.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

“I gained a sense of control and I feel I can learn every day. I can choose the people around me (wasn’t the case with my job) and really experiment with my venture. It feels like an artist making a painting. I create what I like.

I did lose a regular income which means I can’t always splurge, but that’s a trade-off.”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

“Morocco (for my love for textiles, history, food and everything culture).”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

“My journal to take notes.”

Follow Sayali’s adventures on Instagram and check out her website here.

III. Anshul Akhoury | Random & Confused

Anshul Akhoury is a freelance content writer with an immense love for travel. He’s been travelling solo for the past 9 years and has explored a major part of the country in that time. Leaving his Engineering studies in 2010, he has since worked at travel companies, fast food restaurants, beach shacks in Goa and as a travel manager in Delhi. He left his last job in 2017 and found his calling. He now works with multiple clients, such as travel companies, real estate, female wellness and health clinic, and fashion accessories, among others, providing them with content for their websites. He says he loves travelling, is a horrible pun-maker and loves eating local food despite regularly complaining about his weight.

The Big Trip

“Till June 2017, I was working with WATConsult as a content writer and social media executive. Living in Delhi was not doing well for my mental health or wallet so I decided to take a break and work with an NGO in Dharamshala.

Recently, I have found a huge love for festivals in India. I believe that this is the best way to understand the people of India. As a migrant Bihari, I find that people are not that hateful (in South India and Maharashtra) as media projects them to be. I have taken part in Gudi Padwa, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Kila Raipur festival and many more festivals. These events made me fall in love with travel a lot more than it was in past.

Till last week, I was stuck in Kerala due to rain and floods. My flight got cancelled due to Cochin Airport’s water-logging and then I travelled on a car with a stranger who dropped me in Bangalore. This experience was something that I had never expected and the way strangers were kind and helpful, it just gave me a broader perspective of life.”

Anshul Akhoury

“Travel can cure bigotry.”

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

“The initial plan was to work for a month or two and then get another desk job but somehow I kept getting work from the word of mouth and my assignments kept increasing. In this time, I worked with a Snow leopard conservation NGO in Ladakh, rural development NGO in Rishikesh and so on. A year has been passed and my freelance career has set off in a way that I am free to work from anywhere.

I realised that being on your own gives you certain survival instincts that make you work harder and perform better. I am an introvert who has trouble connecting with strangers. But somehow, I find myself talking my way through every situation now that I am left on my own.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

“I think, a little bit of confidence, a lot more respect towards nature and certain survival instincts. I make a lot of bad decisions when on the road so I am trying to trust my gut feeling more than I am used to.

My parents disliked what I was doing but slowly they accepted my lifestyle. I think, being on road has made me lose my dating chances because I am never in one city! This has been the biggest reason for getting a ‘no’ whenever I ask someone out. But I have no regrets because my dating life was already non-existent in Delhi.”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

“There are a lot of places on my list. Maybe I’ll go to Bhutan or hide in some village of Ladakh where I’d keep myself busy teaching little kids.”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

“All my earnings while travelling comes from content writing so off-course, it will be my laptop.”

Read about his adventures on his blog and follow him on Instagram.

IV. Priyanka Mhatre | Passionate. Courageous. Happy & Pradeep Rana | Honest, Hard-working. Always Smiling

Priyanka Mhatre was born in Mumbai and spent her childhood in the Middle East (Oman and Dubai) where her father, an avid traveller, made sure they took a trip somewhere every weekend. The explorer always lived in her but only came to life later. She returned to India in 2006 for further studies. After a Bachelor’s degree from Bangalore, a stint at JPMorgan and her MBA, she joined Jio Studios in 2014 when the organisation was going through a change, exploring aspects of filmmaking, which was always something that piqued Priyanka’s interest. This is also where she first met Pradeep Rana.

Hailing from a small village in Himachal Pradesh, Pradeep moved to Punjab for his graduation and later, Mumbai for his post-graduation studies in Biotechnology. He was working at a research company as a Research Scientist on Breast Cancer soon after his PG completion. “I worked there for two years, but I always knew that if destiny brought me to the city of dreams then there might be something else hidden here for me,” he says. He never disliked his job, it was respectable with a responsibility of doing good for humanity, but he wanted to explore another side of him and was soon presented with the opportunity to choose between a PhD in Germany or an unpaid internship in a media company. Without thinking twice, he took the leap and took the internship where he learned all about cameras, editing, direction, scripting and social media, and soon got a job offer (within six months) at Jio Studios.

The Big Trip

“Both of us used to work in Reliance Jio as content producers. There came a point in our lives when we felt that there was so much more that we wanted to achieve. This is when we decided to quit our jobs and pursue our dream. To travel across the world. But before that, we wanted to see our own country and that is when Roamanchak was born. We travelled across all the 29 states in 100 days searching for the most unseen places, bizarre traditions, delicious food and inspiring souls. We started vlogging about the entire journey and you can see some of our videos on Youtube. Some of the places that we went to were Loktak lake in Manipur, Rih Dil in Mizoram, Sualkuchi in Assam, Yana rocks in Karnataka, Bedha Ghat in Madhya Pradesh, Malana in Himachal, Naranag in Kashmir etc. We did this because all we have is one life and we didn’t want to regret anything. We learnt one thing through this entire experience that courage does take you places.”

Pradeep Rana and Priyanka Mhatre

“Travel can cure the worst of fears.” – Priyanka

“Travel can definitely cure today’s generation.” – Pradeep

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

Priyanka: “It was definitely wasn’t an easy decision but I just wanted to do what made me happy. My outlook towards life has just changed because of this decision. The positiveness that I have gained will last me a lifetime.”

Pradeep: “Life is the biggest teacher and travel is the best way to learn new things every day. Meeting new people and exchanging those smiles is the best way to define my life.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

Priyanka: “That one step of courage that I took towards making this dream come true has just changed the way I live my life. Today I don’t think I get scared of exploring different aspects of my life personally and professionally. I lost fear.”

Pradeep: “I learned that life isn’t too hard as people often used to say. Everyone puts so many fears and insecurities in our head that we always think twice to take any risk on the way to follow our dreams. Now I have learned the best way of living. Losses? Well, I lost weight!”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

Priyanka: “I would go to Antartica, a place that has fascinated me for years.”

Pradeep: “Masai Mara, Kenya with my Soulmate.”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

Priyanka: “My phone which is also my camera, map, guide, book and travel companion.”

Pradeep: “My iPhone.”

Follow the Roamanchak team on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.

V. Shivanjali Bhatnagar | Globetrotter. Receptive. Lazy.

23 years old, Shivanjali Bhatnagar graduated with a degree in Advertising from Sophia College, Mumbai, and worked as a Marketing Executive at ‘The Production House’ where they curated fashion and lifestyle events.

Now, she is a freelancer, creating travel content for Curly Tales from Haridwar and Rishikesh, and also has an NGO where they teach underprivileged children and women art, craft and handicrafts that are then exhibited all over the country giving the makers an extra source of income.

The Big Trip

“I was working as the Marketing Executive at The Production House. As soon as I quit I went to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, then after Spiti I travelled to Kinnaur district, Sikkim, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, next lined up is the kedarkantha trek in December. I am a mountain woman, one of the reasons being that as a solo female traveller I feel safer in the hills. Each place was a completely different affair, Spiti and Kinnaur were extreme in terms of temperature, Sikkim (I visited south Sikkim, Lingie Paiyong) was very homely. In West Bengal, I lived in a tea estate called ‘Makaibari Tea Estate’ and tasted the most expensive tea in the country (1.2 Lakh/Kg). The reason I quit was that every time I went back home after work, I felt like there was an empty space, I wasn’t content and I needed peace and I wanted to learn about something beyond my office hours.”

Shivanjali Bhatnagar

“Travel can cure what you want to cure. Travel is no magic, it just gives you the space and the right frame of mind to think about the problems you want the cure to.”

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

“I am only 23, it’s too early to say that my decision has defined my life. One of my teachers in college had once said that the two best ways of gaining knowledge are either to read or to travel. I chose to travel, I spare no chance of saving money for my trips, there are instances where I have cancelled my online shopping orders to save money and plan the next trip.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

“One of the most essential thing that I gained is an extended family wherever I went. Last year when Mumbai had minor floods I got a lot of concern calls from the families I lived with during my travels.

First thing I lost my job, I miss my party nights a little and the luxury of having everything at your doorstep, nothing major though.”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

“I have never travelled out of India and I desperately want to explore the interiors of northern Europe so I would take a ticket to Latvia and then explore all the nearby places.”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

“When I travel I just need my phone in hand because I don’t read nor do I listen to music while travelling I am always clicking pictures.”

VI. Ami Gathani | Practical. Optimist. Calm & Akankhsha Trigunayat | Driven. Self Aware. Present.

Akankhsha Trigunayat, 31, is a business consultant working with start-ups and SMEs in Qatar. Born in India but she believes herself to be a true third culture kid. Born and raised in Mumbai, 32-year-old Ami Gathani is the founder of a graphic design company called The Design Mill.

The Big Trip

Ami: “Akansha and I met up for a 10 year reunion in Goa for her birthday. While we were lazing around in the pool, we got talking about how much we needed to take a break from crazy city lives. I needed to step out of my rut and my comfort zone in Bombay and try something new.”

Akankhsha: “I had just wrapped up a long-term assignment and was burnt out. Needed time off and time away! Working remotely was an option for me when needed, and I had no full-time job.. or even a plan at that point!”

Ami: “So we decided to take advantage of that blessing and make the most of it! Within a month and a half we were back in Goa, we’d rented out a place and a car. We set out to explore anything and everything around us; discovering something new outside and ultimately within ourselves.”

Ami Gathani and Akankhsha Trigunayat

“Travel can cure a loss of love for life.” – Akankhsha

“Travel can cure anything, if you let yourself be lost in process of discovering a new place.” – Ami

On Choosing Travel Over A Job

Akankhsha: “It was out of character for me to do something like this. I always have a plan - but I had nothing for the first time. I had burnt out at 31! So doing this not only made me prioritise my own well being; it gave me perspective. The air in Goa - it smells of contentment. I had lost that somewhere along the way. Not only did I find it in these few weeks, I also got to spend time with one of my most favourite people on the planet!”

Ami: “It taught me to so much about myself, about how living away from home is so different when you’re doing it as an adult (with bills to pay and expenses to handle) and not as a student, being more self-reliant.”

The Highs And lows, Growth And Losses

Akankhsha: “I gained perspective, pace and inner peace, and lost the urgency with which I’ve always approached life. Life happens regardless, so pace yourself for yourself!”

Ami: “Gained new friends, who will remain friends for life and another place I can call home. I discovered a different side of Goa, not the commercial side that is popular with the holidaymakers. I learned that living a slow life for a few weeks is a good way to reconnect with your thoughts, which have you may lose or taken a back seat in the city living life at a fast pace.

Definitely lost money! Goa isn’t cheap in December!”

If you could buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

Akankhsha: “Probably back to Goa. I would live there and work remotely!”

Ami: “I was recently in Prague for a holiday and I’m probably mentally still there so I’d definitely take that one way ticket to Prague!”

One inanimate travel companion you’d never leave home without?

Akankhsha: “My phone.”

Ami: “My headphones! Best way to block out the madness of a city life.”

Follow Ami on Instagram here and Akankhsha here.

If you’d like to share your journey with us, write in to with the subject line ‘Quit City Life To Travel’.

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