I often look back upon my life, wondering at what point I went from being a regular, 20-something Indian girl trying to figure life out, to someone who (sometimes) gets paid to travel the world! Well, I’m still the regular, 20-something Indian girl, and I haven’t quite figured life out. Someday, this blog will remind me of all the things I was in my twenties, and if you’ve been following my travels, I’m pretty sure this little list is going to surprise you.
1) I’m an introvert.
Given how much I interact on my social networks, and how often I write people-stories on my blog, it can seem like I’m the most social person. But truth is, I’m the loner in the crowd. I hardly ever initiate a conversation. I can hang out with strangers online all day, but it takes me a lot more effort to meet people in person. Luckily for me, stories usually find me on my travels. And I can do all my work online, with little to no interaction offline. Now you know why I love to travel by myself, like my solitude, and rarely reply to ‘catch up’ emails. Forgive me?
2) I carry a taser.
I’m always harping on the positive side of solo travel, especially in India, given how much negativity there is online and in most minds. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get scared. It’s sometimes inevitable to find yourself sitting next to a man on a long overnight bus ride, or walking on a quiet street at a late hour, or stuck on a broken down bus in the middle of the night (Read: Looking Back: My Worst Travel Memories). I trust that the world is largely a good place, but I’m not naive. I know I have to be prepared to face a situation that might arrive someday. It’s a touch electric taser that could send anyone writhing on the floor, and I carry it everywhere I can.
3) I’m not as positive about life as I appear.
Speaking of positivity, I can assure you that I’m not the most positive person you’re going to meet. In fact, some of my friends swear that their perspective of life is so dismal because of me! I think too much, try to find meaning in too many things, and well, just have more than my fair share of down time. I know I’m not allowed to complain about feeling depressed when I’ve had the chance to experience places that many won’t in their lifetime (I’m grateful for it), but I haven’t yet mastered my restless mind. It’s probably a good thing you’re not meeting me anytime soon!
4) Becoming a travel blogger was never the plan.
When I quit my corporate job in August 2011, I intended to work with an NGO or social enterprise, and travel in remote parts of India, hoping to make some kind of difference in someone’s life. That didn’t really work out for me, except that I started writing about my travels. My first writing paycheck and my first blogging invitation in India gave me hope, but considering my first international blogging trip was the result of stalking someone online (seriously), I never thought I could pull of being a travel blogger!
5) I’m not a writer.
Speaking of plans, there’s one I always had – to be a writer. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a child. I would scribble poetry, write short stories, and hide them away, thinking someone would discover them someday and make me famous. I’ve written for several well-known travel publications and hope to pen my own book soon, but it’s not because I’m a writer. It’s only because I think I have stories worth telling.
6) I’m terrible at directions.
For someone who travels so much, I can barely read a map and find my way without getting lost. I can walk around in circles for hours before I realize it. That means I have to get out of my introvert zone and ask for directions ever so often. But that is also how I land myself in unexpected adventures and find unexpected stories. Win-win!
7) I haven’t always been a vegetarian.
12 years is a long time though. I still distinctly remember sitting in the balcony of a friend’s house in ninth grade, pledging myself off meat and seafood. I couldn’t muster the courage to tell my parents for a week, so I lied about a bad stomach when chicken was cooked in the house. Then one day, while waiting in the car with my dad, someone dropped in a flyer talking about vegetarianism. I told my dad I wanted to convert. He said he would do it if I did it. The rest of my family still eats meat, but my dad and I haven’t for 12 years now.
8) I still have to lie at home about travelling solo.
I’m somewhat the black sheep of my family, not having had a regular job in almost three years now. No one at home quite knows how I survive or if I make any money at all. And all that wisdom I shared earlier about dealing with travel-wary parents? You can discard it. Because even after all my solo trips, I still cook up stories at home about it.
9) I do have a partner in crime.
This is probably the only part of my life that I haven’t written about. Well, not till this moment anyway. Without being cheesy, I’ll tell you that I know only one person I’m happy to travel with, and he’s the person who helped me find my own wings, like no dream was impossible. So the next time I tell you a picture was taken by a friend on my travels, you can probably guess who clicked it.
10) I don’t believe in marriage or kids.
I suppose 26 is a mature age to confess that I don’t believe in the concept of marriage. Companionship, yes. But I don’t see why I need a legal contract to validate any relationship. And kids? I know that’s a path I would never walk down. It’s something I’ve known subconsciously while growing up, and adulthood has only convinced me with reasons that are logical to me.
Your turn, tell me something no one knows about you!
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Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes in the transformative power of travel.