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Confessions of an Indian Nomad: 7 Months on.

Mahabaleshwar hiking, Indian female traveller, Indian travel blogger

I’m cozying up in my favorite boutique hotel in Bangalore as I write this. This is the closest I’ve come to calling a place home over the last seven months, when I gave up my apartment in Delhi and adopted a nomadic life (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). I’ve slow-travelled in Thailand since, sampled island life in the Seychelles, celebrated Christmas in Germany, splurged on Australia’s wine countryside, dived in the Philippines, and scratched India’s surface just a little deeper. I’ve experienced varying degrees of joy, nostalgia and frustration, but the feeling that has become a constant is that of liberation. In my mind and in my words, I feel no shackles. I plan to go as long and as far as the road will let me, but not before making these confessions:

The longer you go, the cheaper you live, right? But not me.

It’s common logic to think that the longer you travel, the more you adapt to living, travelling and eating cheaper. But in my case, the scale has tipped the other way. The more I travel in other parts of the world, the more aware I become of the standard of living we sacrifice in India, and I don’t want to sacrifice it anymore (Read: Confession: I’m Not a Backpacker). I’m not okay with sacrificing healthy, organic food, experiential accommodations, and clean modes of transport. Similarly, my expectations of what I see, do, eat and experience have subconsciously grown a lot in the last seven months. Each trip has to be a notch better than the last… so much so that travel planning has become a nightmare! Luckily, the world is full of surprises and the universe has been conspiring to lead me to them (Read: What a WWII Polish Refugee Taught me About “Hindustan”).

Indian nomad, digital nomad, Indian traveller, Indian blogger

Writing at my patio on a vineyard in South Australia.

There’s less time to work. But I’m making more money now.

After reading (1), you’re probably wondering how I’m continuing to afford this lifestyle. I’m wondering too. Truth is, I’ve spent relatively less time working since November last year. I’ve rarely sent out a pitch, turned down several assignments, and said no to many free press trips (Read: 6 Tips to Break into Freelance Travel Writing). And yet, I’ve made more money in the last three months as a freelancer, than I could have imagined when I quit my full time job in 2011. I guess you could say I’m working smarter. Or that I’m finally coming of age as a blogger and freelancer. This growing income is feeding the growing expectations, so my bank balance, like before, remains alarmingly low! And that’s okay. It’s the life I chose.

sea turtle philippines, negros island, apo island,

Working less, experiencing more. Snorkelling with sea turtles in the Philippines!

Believe it or not, my life is not a bed of roses either.

Every time someone tells me I’m really lucky to be living the life I live, I’m reminded of something George Clooney said in the movie, The Descendants: My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation. We’re all just out here sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips, and catching waves. Are they insane?

I won’t lie to you. I love what I do, and I’ve worked hard to get here. But that’s not to say that I don’t have to deal with the shit that life throws at you anyway. The frustrations of dealing with a protective family, who don’t necessarily get what you do, and expect you to call even when you’re in Timbuktu. Or of opening your news feed and seeing pictures of friends getting married and having babies and asking you, when is your turn? Or of a bank balance that’s always low. Or of multi-million dollar companies asking for free work. Or of not getting paid on time. Or of the slow Wifi when you’re reaching a deadline…. You get the picture!

Seychelles blog, Seychelles water, Indian Ocean

They live in paradise (Seychelles), but their lives are not a bed of roses either.

A nomadic life has become my norm.

I didn’t see this coming. When I first set out on my indefinite travels, I was very eager to share my reasons for choosing this nomadic way of life with strangers I met along the way. But somewhere around the third month, a nomadic existence has started feeling natural. I couldn’t think of another way to live, or anything else to spend my money on (Read: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Quit My Job to Travel). Instead of explaining to people why I choose to live without a “home”, I now want to hear why they choose to live in one place, or work in a job they don’t like, or get married. I recently met a 40-something gentleman from Malaysia who was awed by my way of life and kept wishing he could do it too. He was a freelancer, seemed pretty well-off, and was very spirited about life. What was stopping him? He wanted to amass more wealth. 

It does baffle me, these norms set by society. Some of us wait our whole lives to do the things we love, but the thing about life is, it’s unpredictable.

Fort Kochi sunset, travel inspiration, Indian traveller

Life is short; we have to set our own norms.

My advice? Just do it.

I receive several emails everyday, from people seeking advice on whether they should quit their jobs and travel too. I don’t know your personal situations or commitments, so I’m not going to tell you outrightly to do it – except this once! If you’ve been on the fence about leaving a job you hate, and have saved up enough money to travel for a few months, JUST DO IT. What’s the worst that can happen? You might not find a way to earn on the go and squander away all your savings. But I can promise you that you’ll be richer in your experiences, and feel a sense of liberation that most people won’t in this lifetime. And like Mary Anne Radmacher once said, you won’t be the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.

Ibiza pictures, Ibiza sunset, Ibiza moonrise, Ibiza blogs

Not the same having seen the moon shine on Ibiza.

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ALSO READ:

2 Months on The Road: Highs and Lows
120 Days on The Road
Thinking of Home

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Any contributions to my travel fund (in kind or otherwise) will be highly appreciated!

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25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your blogs are always enriched with a ‘Just Do it’ approach. Nice read :)

    March 29, 2014
  2. jomcarroll #

    I know just what you mean about how the novelty of living cheaply has its disavantages. Hostels are all very well (and some are wonderful), but these days (I am over 60!) I really appreciate my own bathroom, and somewhere comfortable to sit – especially with a meal. I’m done with being squashed on local buses for 10 hours.

    (And don’t get be started on toilets!)

    March 29, 2014
  3. Colleen Brynn #

    I’ve had people tell me loads how they are jealous of my travels… I just tell them they can travel too, but they always come up with excuses like work or family or money. Hey… I have a family and school and a boyfriend and limited funds, and I don’t use those as excuses. My motto is “if you want something badly enough, you will have it. If you don’t get it, you didn’t want it badly enough” … people will counter this and say that there are lots of reasons something might not happen for them, roadblocks and such. But look deeper… WHY didn’t you get what you wanted? It may not be a physical roadblock but a mental or emotional one. We stop ourselves in more ways than we realise.
    By the way, I will be in Delhi in May – any chance for a meet up?

    March 29, 2014
    • Sandy #

      Hello,am insipired by what you just written down,am in india but not in delhi,just incase we can say hey,,am in bangalore now

      April 22, 2014
  4. you sir, are an inspiration beyond words! congratulations, since this is might beautiful – this life you chose!

    March 29, 2014
  5. rajesh kumar #

    Your blogs are real treat to read. It’s so enriching and informative too. Really appreciate you on your way of thinking and leading a life devoid of any regrets.

    March 29, 2014
  6. We are a family, with salaried jobs (where salaries and leaves are never enough) with a kid (whose school schedules are really tight) but still we are just doing it..we call ourselves a family with itchy feet..we travel..fall in love with that place..but wrap up to work and save again to travel more… Our travels are little different than yours as those are vacation trips for us but we have to face the challenge of accommodating a child who gets travel sickness on roads (mostly interested in nature and kids friendly amenities provided by the place we choose to stay), a man who loves history and road trips, and a woman who loves art and craft, nostalgia of train journeys, and loves to observe the history, nature or human life..:)
    At least all 3 of us love food and fun !
    We look for organic ways to travel with less impact on environment but then we are still learning to compromise with bottled water or other urban lifestyle…

    March 29, 2014
  7. Great post. Very inspiring and very truthful – I can relate to alot of what you say as I have been traveling over a year myself now and sometimes things aren’t always as I had dreamt – sometimes worse and sometimes better but always amazing. Loving your blog keep up the good work!

    March 29, 2014
  8. I ahve been reading more and more of your posts, trying to keep the momentum of the mind going to break free and just do it. Your posts answer all those weird questions – read objections, that keep coming up not to travel just now. Looking forward to reading the rest.

    March 29, 2014
  9. Very inspirational. Reading it the first thing in the morning after waking up, still on the bed, gives an amazing feeling. Your confessions are so real and practical. Enjoyed reading them. So, which is the next one to be conquered…???

    March 29, 2014
  10. Loved reading your post as usual. Totally agree with the third confession. You’ve had all these amazing experiences not because you are lucky, but because you chose to actually live the life you always dreamt about and work hard for it. Can’t wait to read detailed posts about your experience in Philippines.

    March 30, 2014
  11. It would be unrealistic to expect a life of travel to be only full of awesomeness – but clearly the difficulties are worth it! I loved reading about your journey and how things are going for you at the moment. :)

    March 30, 2014
  12. Great read Shivya… Truly inspiring… Although I have slowed down on my trips and travel and have got into a lot of other things, reading your posts always inspire me to go take that next trip somewhere and keep hitting the road even if it is a few miles away from home… You’re a great inspiration for many and hope to see you ride further into glory… All the best!

    March 30, 2014
  13. This is looking very appealing… another great post Shivya.

    April 1, 2014
  14. “The more I travel in other parts of the world, the more aware I become of the standard of living we sacrifice in India, and I don’t want to sacrifice it anymore” – This was the line that spoke to me!!

    For me it is more I live abroad, I cannot understand why Indian cannot have the very same things but many people don’t get it & come back that you are not ‘patriotic’ enough or you look down upon this country blah blah.

    April 2, 2014
  15. About your Just Do It Advise, I have followed it and it has worked so far brilliantly. Even if you do not want to quit your job and still travel, Just Do It. You will always find some way. Few years back I also had an excuse like I want to travel but I can’t. You can Just Do It to others when you yourself Just Did It :)

    April 4, 2014
  16. Another great post Shivya, it is great to learn about what you have been going through choosing this way of living your life and being so honest about it. It is a brave thing to do to control all the social obligation and live life in your own way.

    April 9, 2014
  17. Shivya, you continue to inspire. Keep going strong. :)

    April 16, 2014
  18. thebigrunawayplan #

    Really helpful write-up for us
    We just started planning a big runaway. I hope you like this : https://ourbigrunawayplan.wordpress.com/

    May 16, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Grass is always greener on the other side….. | dreamzandclouds
  2. Confessions of an Indian Nomad: 7 Months on. | The Talking Sloth - Asia
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  4. Looking Back: My Worst Travel Memories. | The Shooting Star
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