“You don’t ever go home, do you?” asked my colleague sarcastically.
“I do, but not that often. I like going to unfamiliar places. That is my idea of a vacation,” I replied.
In the long conversation that ensued, I did not know how to explain to my colleague why I keep wandering from place to place as soon as I get a chance. I could not put enough words to formulate a sentence that would explain the familiar yearning I have for unfamiliar places, where roads have no names and eyes are forever curious.
Even as a child, I never really felt rooted to the place I grew up in. Every time I went home, I could not wait to get out and back on the roads again. The serenity that I found in the arms of the Himalayas or the camaraderie with strangers in small cafés of London are things hard to explain to anyone, let alone someone for whom going home is like a pilgrimage.
A decade back, armed with a degree in marketing, like everyone else, I got head-on into the corporate world. Finance was a sector taken out of peer pressure rather than choice; however, I did enjoy my work thoroughly. Even while climbing the corporate ladder from an analyst to a manager, there was always something more than I was looking for. The perks for sticking it out in the Wall Street job were twofold – money and travel. I received ample opportunities to journey to places I had never been before, both for business as well as personal wanderlust. And each time, after returning, I was already booking tickets to get to my next destination on the list.
The turning point in the decision to quit my job came from the most unexpected source at the Osho International Ashram in Pune. While strolling along the tree-lined cobbled road on the campus, an elderly gentleman came up from behind, walked with me for a few minutes, spoke a single sentence and then walked away, leaving me speechless staring at his thinning form at the end of the road. I reflected on what he had just said, “Log jeene ki aarzoo mein mare jaa rahe hain, aur hum marne ki aarzoo mein jiye jaa rahe hain.” Loosely translated it means “Waiting for life to happen, people die each day, and waiting for death to come, I live each day.”
I came back and put in my resignation not really knowing what I would do next. I spent a year trying to figure out some direction in life with my spiritual mentor, all the while looking at pictures of enchanting landscapes in the magazine glossies. They enticed me, called to me. Then one day while sitting in a café with a friend, I told her, “I finally know what I want to do. I love writing and I love travelling. So why not combine the two?” She agreed.
Again, clueless on where to start, I turned to the web and found a course on Travel Writing offered by MatadorU. Next week I was enrolled in it and on my way to tackling lessons and assignments of this course. I received immense guidance and valuable constructive feedback on my writing style from the faculty and a treasure trove of resources, networks, and guidance on inching my way into this world that has forever held my attention.
From that day on, there has been no looking back, and today I realise, travel and writing are not only passions but also food for my soul.
View the original published article on PinkPangea: From Wall Street To Wanderlust