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Reflections at 25.

Mauritius photos, Mauritius photo gallery, Indian Ocean

In the quaint French quarters of Pondicherry, I reflect on the first quarter of my life, reading what I penned almost two years ago: 25 things I’d tell the 25-year-old me. While I still have many layers to climb on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I’d like to think that I’ve already braced and beaten my quarter life crisis. It has been one and a half years since I took the plunge to quit my corporate job in Singapore in pursuit of all things travel; I’ve been on a roller coaster ride since, and looking back on how the dots in my life have slowly connected, I feel both grateful and humbled for where I am now – closer to that illusive feeling of happiness than I’ve ever been before.

My freedom to pick up my bags at any moment and board a flight, bus or train, might make me seem like the luckiest person. Or as a comment on a recent feature Rediff carried on me put it, someone with access to a pot of gold. But truth is, I’ve never worked harder in my life than in the last one year; from serious travel blogging, to growing my social networks, to pitching and writing for some of the most respected travel publications, to running my startup India Untravelled, to freelance social media work, I haven’t taken more than four entire days off in the year! No Sundays for me. I’ve worked out of a cave in Turkey, on the shores of turquoise waters in Rodrigues, from a mountain village in Spain, and in numerous cafes across India, Europe, Southeast Asia, and most recently Bahrain, and what makes it all worthwhile (even all the credit my “luck” gets), is that I love everything I do, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.

As with anything else, my freedom as a digital nomad and my itchy feet come with their own price. I feel such emotional turmoil sometimes, such heartbreaks, knowing that I might never be able to live in a place I love, because there are so many more places waiting for me, and there always will be. Almost like a dual life, my mind is always wandering to far away lands. And yet, as the great dervish Shams of Tabriz said, having roots nowhere, I have everywhere to go.

They say that you find your true friends in the best of times and in the worst of times; while on a personal front, I’ve lost a handful of what were once precious friendships to a futile happiness competition, my digitally nomadic life has allowed me to build special connections with people I’ve met on my travels. And for those relationships, and the friendships I continue to treasure, I consider myself truly lucky.

On this introspective 25th birthday, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of my life, even virtually or anonymously. The journey shall continue…

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36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ishita #

    Dear shivya, reading your posts gives me immense pleasure. I consider you my friend and would love to contribute to your journey in any way possible. :)

    February 16, 2013
    • Thanks Ishita :) I enjoy your virtual company too!

      February 19, 2013
  2. Jas #

    I love reading your travel tales and I appreciate the zeal in you to follow your passion :)

    February 16, 2013
  3. Why not use a photo from Pondi when in pondi? This is not the Pondi sea.

    February 16, 2013
    • Of course not, this is the ocean in Mauritius. Hadn’t clicked a picture in Pondi when I was penning this, but shall write about it soon!

      February 19, 2013
  4. Wish you a very happy birthday, Shivya.. and a year filled with more and more travels…. as they say, everything does come with a price… a price we pay for doing what we love best…but its the enjoyment and the happiness that makes it all worth it!!!

    February 16, 2013
    • Thank you Anu, and you couldn’t be more right!

      February 19, 2013
  5. Happy Birthday Shivya! You are such an inspiration.

    February 16, 2013
    • Thank you Anisha! I’m just getting by ;)

      February 19, 2013
  6. Enjoy the quarter life fun and there is more to come in mid life, retired life and so on!
    Yes this is true that following your dream does not mean thats easy. This just mean that it is fun. Real hard work and lots of time is required when you are paving a career path of your own and you are not following a age old well tested career path..Keep going..!

    February 16, 2013
    • Slow down, I don’t want to think so far! Thank you for sharing all the wisdom, I needed it :)

      February 19, 2013
  7. You are only 25!!! Happy Birthday.

    February 16, 2013
    • Thanks Swati! I remember having really profound thoughts when I turned 21, and that’s what everyone said, “you are only 21″. Time flies!

      February 19, 2013
  8. Pavankumar Vaidya #

    Happy Bitrhday. Happy Travelling.

    February 17, 2013
  9. Happy Birthday! Keep traveling and I hope to meet you one day :)

    February 17, 2013
    • Likewise Brooke! Thanks for the birthday wishes :)

      February 19, 2013
  10. That’s what I love about ur blogging. Your focused approach, hard work & enjoying the little /big opportunities u get thru ur efforts. May ur travel saga grow with every passing years. Amen !

    February 17, 2013
  11. At 25 life has only just begun Shivya. Wish you many fulfilling years of travel and adventure. It takes great courage and hardwork to. Sieze ones dreams. Though I don’t really know you I’ve quoted your example more than once to a lot of young ones when speaking about believing in ones passion. Happy birthday to the wandering dervish.

    February 19, 2013
    • Thank you Sapna, I have to confess I have found so much inspiration in the honesty with which you write :) Hope to see you this year!

      February 19, 2013
  12. Wish you a very happy birthday Shivya. I subscribe to your blogs, and even though I am a terrible commenter, I look forward to each one of your posts. You have loads of courage to actually do what you enjoy and quit your job. As mentioned in the comment above, I too have shared the india untravelled and the shooting star link with loads of my friends. The turkey blog is something we were actually going to use as an itinerary to the T (which includes the place you stayed too). Looking forward to loads of more stories on this blog :-)

    February 19, 2013
    • Jenny, it’s so glad that the anonymous readers are finally surfacing ;) Really good to hear from you, let me know if you need any other recommendations for Turkey!

      February 19, 2013
  13. Sonal #

    Happy Birthday Shivya!

    February 19, 2013
  14. priya #

    Beautifully written Shivya…such an inspiration you are!

    February 19, 2013
  15. I want to acknowledge the authenticity behind your words.

    February 19, 2013
  16. Happy Birthday to you dear ! :) I love reading your travel posts, it feels as if I’ve been to those sites. Good luck for future! :)

    February 20, 2013
    • Thanks Gayatri, I enjoy your virtual company!

      February 20, 2013
  17. Belated B’day wishes Shivya.
    I hope you reach all the destinations on your bucket list this year and we get to see these places through your lens and words. I so envy your work. Keep up the good work.

    February 20, 2013
    • Thanks Subodh! Amen to that :)

      February 20, 2013
  18. Belated Happy Birthday Shivya. And may the journey go on forever. There are very few people in the world who love their job. So, yes, you are very lucky to have the ability, courage and means to choose that path.

    February 21, 2013
  19. “Looking back on how the dots in my life have slowly connected, I feel both grateful and humbled for where I am now – closer to that illusive feeling of happiness than I’ve ever been before.”

    I love this thought, Shivya, and can totally relate! It really is quite amazing to connect all the dots – or as I sometimes put it, look back and see how many different dominoes had to fall to get you where you are today. It has been amazing to follow your journey thus far, and I can’t wait to see where this next year takes you. Oh, and happy belated birthday too :) Sorry I missed it!

    February 25, 2013
    • Thanks Candace; I hope to follow in your footsteps soon and start slow travelling in the second half of this year! I love the dominoes analogy :)

      February 25, 2013

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