So, you have heard of globetrotters who quit high-paying jobs to take up travelling and come to think that it’s the life you want? Thinking of taking the plunge and travelling around the world, seeing the places you have only heard of, and living the life of a nomad? Here are things you must consider before you head out into the unknown.
Are You Ready To Leave The Nest?
It is natural to want to fly (read flee) when your chachis and masis are giving you a hard time about being 30 and single! Or, when your boss is being a complete jerk. Or when, regular floods and potholes force you to spend more hours in traffic jams than at work.
Why not? Everyone loves a vacation! But quitting your job to travel for an extended period of time is very different from the rosy adventure it sounds. Decide beforehand if you’re the kind that can wake up to the cacophony of a foreign tongue, stay away from mom’s paranthas, get over your colour, racial, and religious biases to make friends with a stranger who smiles.
Read up on other ‘job-quitters-world-travellers’ accounts to set realistic expectations. And do this before you tell your boss that he’s a real pain.
Prepare For Criticism
Before you go ahead and announce your decision, let us face a few facts. Not many are going to be supportive of the move. Anyone who quits a well-paying, lucrative job in India has to face the “log kya kahenge” music.
Be prepared to be called anything from pagal to Bohemian to nalayak to bewakuf. Friends and family may not be enthusiastic about your decision and may not even make any serious attempt to stay in your life once you are away. But there still will be those who understand that you march to the beat of a different drummer.
There will be that one cousin, that one friend from school who will understand; and you will know who is likely to bail you out when you’re arrested for drunken driving in Ecuador.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
While this may sound quite contrary to the very idea of spontaneity that you want to pursue, planning ahead and researching is imperative when it comes to long term travel.
It may take you quite some time to save up the money you may require to travel for longer durations, ranging from six months to, well, even a couple of years. If you’re a professional, you may need time to wrap up your practice and inform your clients, and for you mom to prepare all the aam ka achaar and ladoos that you can carry.
It wouldn’t hurt to take driving lessons and get a license and an International Driving Permit, just in case you end up driving farm trucks in the outskirts of Barcelona to make ends meet. Whatever you do, learn to trek long distances, pack light, and commit to memory the Indian Embassy contacts of the countries you visit.
“Paise Ped Par Nahi Ugte Hain”
Dad’s right! No surprises there! You think you have saved up for a year. But enough would never be enough. You may find it much easier both on your purse and on your family if you opt for a ‘work from home’ mode during your travel rather than quit a well-paying job altogether.
Picking up work projects on the go could be another feasible option. Freelance photography, travel writing, Social Media work, teaching English or Hindi with language schools, and even teaching yoga – there are plenty of options for the willing. You may want to create a backup fund that allows you to come back home and look for another cubicle to fit into, just in case you decide travelling like a nomad does not fit your dreams after all.
‘Jag Ghoomeya Thaare Jaisa Na Koi’
Let’s review your situation. You want to travel all year, but are not sure if your funds can see you through the visa costs and flight expenses. You love nature and want to see every beautiful geographical feature you have heard of and read about, but are afraid of unfriendly folks. You know you can rough it out, but are happily ignorant of etiquettes of different countries. You want to make your life story a travel journal, but can’t completely let go of Maa’s apron string (or ‘pallu‘ if you please). There is this one country perfectly suited to your travel plans.
India is a world rolled into one and going out on an impromptu year-long travel across the length and breadth of this country will tell you if you are really suited to venture out, solo or otherwise.
Learn To Do Without
There is much that we take for granted in our cosy, cushioned lives. Air-conditioning is one, Wi-Fi is another, and Uber is yet another. Some bit of abstinence practice wouldn’t hurt before you go out into the world. Or perhaps you learn better on the job.
Innovate. Think of different modes of travel when airfares are unaffordable. For example, a journey on a fisherman’s boat to Santorini Island in Greece is likely to cost only a fraction of flight fares. Dancing with the locals in the Diani beach of Mombasa is perhaps better than hitting the nightclub in the vicinity – both by way of adventure and on the pocket pinch.
In the course of your adventures you are sure to find out that wine is expensive, but there will be places where brandy is distilled but not the water. Make wise choices in such places.
Learn a Language and Show Kindness to Others
Yes, you do know English and no, it is not Spanish, or French, or German that will help you survive in every country you visit. But a smile will. Observance of common courtesies, little acts of kindness, and an attempt to learn the locals’ ways will go a long way in helping you survive your nomadic life.
Offer to help when you see an old woman struggling with a heavy basket, or when a farmer is scrambling to gather errant piglets. Who knows, you may earn yourself a barn to spend the night in! Good luck with your new adventure!
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