On December 10th, a year ago, I quit my job and took up full-time travel blogging. There have been some really really good times, and some equally bumpy journeys along the way. It really hasn’t been easy. The glamorous world of traveling is nothing that people make it to be. But what those tough times taught me was that I now have even more courage to continue this journey forward, despite the financial situation looking so bleak. After all, it’s the journey that matters at the end and not the destination. Everything is just mere progress in the grand scheme of things.
Are you making progress?
When I typed the first draft of this post, I was resting it out in a second-class railway station waiting room almost stranded in one of the easternmost states of India, contemplating whether what I did was right or wrong. I’ve been having a writer’s block and I chose to travel to get it out of the system. But to do that, I couldn’t find a better place to reignite my passion for writing. I flew right into Northeast India. The very place that sparked the bolt of the travel bug that bit me on my maiden trip to the same region two years prior. A place that will remain dear to my passion for traveling and writing, and of course Escaping Life.
A lot has gone down since the days I first visited this region. And we are now counting down to the final few hours of this year.
Somewhere in between March and April I hit rock bottom and thought I wouldn’t gain much from this. There were a lot of big question marks hanging around my neck, pulling me down. I needed to figure out if I wanted to take the safer choice of settling down with a 9-5, get a job and disappear into oblivion or take a stand and continue. But that’s when you strike the rock and the water comes out.
What I want to share as always is to inspire and invoke the traveler in you, yes you reading this. Because beyond the glamour and Instagram pictures there is a life that we don’t see. And I thought I’ll give a low down of my year that whizzed past with all the travels I did in these 365 days. It isn’t a lot and it isn’t too less either. Barring the month of June, I managed to travel to someplace or the other the remaining 11 months of the year in the little capacity as a backpacker. Even if it was to my own backyard, Kochi.
After putting my papers down, a decision I will never regret, I decided to return back to my hometown in India from Bahrain where I was based at for 5 years. India to me is more than what it used to be even two or three years ago and for a traveler this is one of those make it or break it destinations. And there began my semi-nomadic journey into the life of a freelancer and travel blogger, hopping city to city, town to town, buses to trains and in the air a few times.
I clocked in thousand and tenfold miles, 3 new countries, revisited 7-8 States in India, stepped foot on 4-5 new ones, made one record-breaking journey to Khardung La and plenty of new destinations. The year started with a mini South India tour hashtagging it as #EscapingLifeGoesSouth. A region I had never backpacked before, my rucksack was loaded and off I went, searching for the deeper meaning of our existence. Looking back I have now done more of South India than any other part of India. All that in one year. Still it only scratches the surface. But the list is always endless to a traveler…
My only regret is not completing the Golden Quadrilateral touching base in all the big metropolitan cities I had visited Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata of which Kolkata still eludes me. But I did get to visit four major zones in India this year, North, East, West, and South. Who knows, 2018 may be just as exciting as this year was or even better. Let’s keep those fingers crossed.
Kandy, Sri Lanka
As always Kochi will always be my favorite destination ever. Ever proud to be from this land, the land they call God’s Own Country. There were a lot more places I had covered which haven’t got a mention above. Of all the places Varkala and Nagaland were the ones I enjoyed the most and will go down as the best places I visited in my travels this year.
As someone who developed a passion for writing only after going out on my travels, I am pretty surprised I have churned out 25 posts on this blog this year, this being the 26th. This ain’t much but for some but it is huge for a person who has had no experience writing/speaking at school or university. You are talking about a person who has never even maintained a diary. My folks, teachers, and friends know very well, how much I used to score. Failure was my biggest follower.
But these below are some of the incredible stories I loved writing this year sticking to my theme of Travel, Adventure, and Inspiration which are dearest to my heart.
I was lucky enough to be interviewed by two online portals this year, where I shared my stories and travel tips from my experiences.
I was quite blown away by the love and support I had received from friends and family after sharing these, who I must say are the pillars of my strength and a constant source of inspiration.
Breaking barriers, live on camera
Another barrier I broke this year was in front of a camera. As a camera shy introvert, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like taking selfies. A lot of friends had asked me to go on camera but I had to delay it by saying “very soon”. People told me they want to see the real person on these adventures rather than a voice behind the scenes. Nagaland gave me a confidence booster, I summoned up my courage and guess what, I actually enjoyed being myself in front of an audience and a camera. I found this as the best way to complement my travels and writings. The main draw from this is to let the world know what goes on in the life of a traveler. But it is also to stay true to my self and to my readers/followers.
While writing took a begin precedence on the blog this year, I experimented my little creative knowledge in some videography and had fun with it. Here goes…
2016 started off very slow, by May, I started collaborating with brands something that I had never expected to come so soon in my blogging career. But somehow they found me and I had some incredible experiences working with them throughout the year. Hard work does really pay off, in the long run, whichever field or work you are in. Jack was a happy boy here! 🙂
2017 – New beginnings and connections
To bring it into perspective, I may have lost all my savings in the process of traveling the whole year but I count them as mega gains in this short life we spend on earth. Experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime. Travel living is not easy and fantabulous as some of the pictures might speak. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears were spent behind the scenes. I have connected with a lot of people from different walks of life, some of them have now become very good friends, some like family and some a very part of my daily life. Some have lent their help when I really needed them and has mentored me, never letting their fame or popularity come in the way. And I’m beyond thankful for them on this journey. Silent angels!
So you see, it was more than just traveling, ticking places off a list or making Insta worthy posts with a lot of likes. 2017 was a tremendous learning experience and I am continuing as a student in this big classroom called the “LIFE”. Let’s make more progress and spread the spirit of travel and learning.
“Leave behind your fears and start running towards the thing that scares you. Because when you start to get too comfortable that’s when you’re going to end up unhappy wondering if there is something more out there.”
Escaping Life wishes you a wonderful travel some 2018.
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