Travel Inspiration
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Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Your Travel Dreams in 2018.

About this post: I often receive emails from readers who want to travel the world, but need more travel motivation. In this honest travel inspiration blog post, I share why you shouldn’t put off your dreams to travel the world – after all, travel inspiration is what you follow travel blogs for, right? 

A few days ago, I got chatting with a friend who’s getting married soon. She seemed excited and nervous about the approaching wedding day, but lamented that her family and spouse were about to spend the better part of their savings – a mind-boggling 60 lakh rupees (~100,000$) – for a not-so-big wedding in a big Indian city.

That means she probably won’t have any money to travel in 2018. Hopefully by 2019, they’ll settle down in a new rented apartment and will be able to take atleast one holiday. Where should they go, she asked me curiously.

I couldn’t find the words to tell her this, but it’s lingering in my mind, so I’m going to tell you: don’t put off your travel dreams in 2018. Here’s why:

Are you spending your money on what fulfills you?

goat village, uttarakhand travel blog, shivya nath

Fulfillment amid the mountains and wildflowers of Uttarakhand.

I recently found myself walking the aisles of a fancy mall in Bangkok, looking to buy a winter jacket for my upcoming trip to Switzerland – where I’ll be trying skiing for the first time in the Alps! As I walked past shop after shop selling trendy clothes, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and electronics, I was consumed by a materialistic urge to buy whatever I could afford.

As someone who has studied marketing at university and been associated with the industry for over eight years, I’ve been privy to what goes behind those subtle marketing messages. Right from the latest fashion trends, to upgrading your electronic gadgets, to throwing a lavish wedding, to buying a diamond ring worth three months of your salary (seriously, that’s a thing now!) – marketing agencies understand how to make us crave material possessions. The question we have to ask ourselves is, do these possessions really fulfil us?

If you ask me, it’s not the contents of my bags (or everything I owned until four years ago) that has ever filled me with joy. It is chatting with Buddhist monks about life and detachment in a remote Thai temple, feasting on a traditional beyayenetu platter at a local eatery in Ethiopia and hiking by myself in the snow-covered German Alps. And money can buy those experiences if we choose to spend it on the things that matter.

Read: How You Can Save Money to Travel

The world is changing fast

Georgia country, Georgia travel blog, Caucasus mountains

Contemplating how much Georgia (the country) has changed since my first visit.

Back in 2012, I won an adventure trip to the remote Socotra island with alien-like plant life in Yemen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money to buy a flight ticket to Yemen then, and postponed my trip indefinitely. An ugly war has taken over Yemen since, nearly destroying the country and access to Socotra. It’s heartbreaking.

Back in 2014, I considered spending a month on the island of Dominica, labelled the ‘Caribbean’s nature island’ and said to be one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. But I dropped the idea, thinking I could do it a few years later. Recently, a massive hurricane has nearly destroyed the country and  its entire rainforest. As it tries to rebuild itself slowly, it seems like things will never be the same.

I’m not trying to say that we need to go everywhere right now. But civil unrest, natural disasters and the surge of tourists in countries that have recently opened to outsiders are making our dream destinations change quickly. If you can afford to travel somewhere meaningfully this year, do it.

Read: Simple Ways to Travel More Responsibly in Ladakh

The road tends to give you perspective

Soca river, soca valley slovenia, slovenia travel

A different kind of perspective at the Soca River in Slovenia (that’s the actual color!)

It is one thing to stay at home, work where you’ve always worked, hang out with friends you’ve always known, do the things you’ve always done. But if you want to grow as a person, the road can give you plenty of perspective. Living with a Mayan family in Guatemala, sipping tea with a Bedouin family in their makeshift tent in Jordan and mingling with Odisha’s tribes in their markets, taught me more about life than any classes at university or conversations with intelligent people back home.

And being on the road, owning only what I can carry with me, has made me realize that we need little to get by comfortably in life.

Read: Unexpected Ways Long Term Travel Has Changed Me

You don’t have to wait for someone’s approval or company

solo travel blogs, Indian solo travellers, maharashtra coast

Enjoying my own company and that of the Arabian Sea.

Even as a twenty-something Indian girl, if I had waited for someone to give me “permission” to travel or for someone else’s company, I would never have had half my adventures. My first solo trip to Spiti unleashed something in me – the desire to spend my days exploring new horizons and a deep appreciation for my own company. Some of my fondest solo travel memories include hitchhiking in Bahrain, cycling across the Eastern Ghats (mountain range) of India and hiking in the Ecuadorian Andes – and those memories wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t gone it alone.

But if you’re apprehensive to give solo travel a try, there are plenty of other ways: join a group trip, visit a friend in another part of the world, or try to relocate to a new country. Ultimately it’s about conquering your fears and taking the leap.

Read: Solo Travel: To Go or Not To Go?

People are the same everywhere, despite what we read in the media

Wadi rum Jordan, Jordan travel blog, Jordan photos

Home of the Bedouins in Jordan.

I hate how much negativity is bred into us by what we read in the news. Everywhere I’ve travelled, the world feels completely different to what we’ve been told. Hanging out with Syrian refugees in Germany, chatting with an Iraqi designer in Italy, living in a tiny village in Honduras – labelled the most violent place on earth – and smoking shisha with a Saudi guy in Bahrain has taught me that most people are the same everywhere: warm, beautiful, insecure, friendly… just like you and me.

Read: We Travel To Realize Everyone is Wrong About Other Countries

Life is short and unpredictable

cherry blossom new york, travel motivation, travel inspiration blogs

Contemplating life… and death.

I hate to break it to you, but life doesn’t care that you plan to follow your dreams in a couple of years. In 2017, I was shocked and heartbroken to lose two young and inspiring blogger friends to a road accident and disease. My heart goes out to their loved ones, but it doesn’t mean that we should live our lives in fear. It means that life is fragile, that we take too much for granted, that along with planning for the future, we need to live our present in a way that fulfils us.

That we need to seize every day we’re lucky to experience in our lifetime. Carpe diem.

What are your travel dreams for 2018?

Connect with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Google+ to follow my adventures live!

69 Comments

    • Shivya Nath says

      Thanks Lalitha! Really enjoyed writing this one, as a reminder to myself too.

  1. sourab says

    Very nice article. I exactly follow the same you have written in your article.

    • Shivya Nath says

      Thanks Sourab! And that’s great to hear. I often need to remind myself too.

  2. Shivya, you have unlocked a magic question. When I look around..at least in social media travel seems to be a big thing. Everyone wants to travel and experience. This is because it is experience that will be entrenched in your mind throughout your life and not a $2000 watch.

    • Shivya Nath says

      Well said. That 2000$ sure can buy some interesting adventures!

  3. orangewayfarer says

    ‘The trouble is, you think you have time.’
    -Jack Kornfield

    • Shivya Nath says

      Oops, I had seen that attributed to Buddha on social media 😉

  4. santosh says

    Its always a treat to read your posts. Thankful as ever. Do share link of you have traveled Egypt, Cyprus, Jordan. Best wishes

  5. ramasamy59 says

    Yeah your words are true and applicable to me too. Nice article.

  6. Shivya, I am single woman traveler and I totally enjoy it. Since I am a professional photographer I couldn’t travel any other way, I need the freedom to explore by myself into alleys or places where nobody else would go and getting the greatest images. You a brave and inspiring

  7. PencilGirl says

    So true! I think this is a realization that everyone has at some point in their life – that they never have as much time as they think they do. And the sooner we reach that point in our life, the more we can do with that knowledge.
    One other thing I’ve also realized which is much along similar lines is- sometimes plans are bound to fall apart. But instead of wasting even more time dwelling on what could have been and being disappointed, we must try and find other things we can do that will give us joy. There are so many places to see, so many things to do, there’s no need to be disappointed that we couldn’t do that one thing we planned..
    A pleasure reading your blog. Thank you for this reminder to seize the day.. 🙂

    • Shivya Nath says

      You’re so right. I’m dealing with the sadness of plans falling apart right now, but instead, I need to dream of the adventures ahead!

  8. I would really like to meet your parents. I am sure you would have given them a hell of a time 😛

    Your posts are so inspiring. You leave me awestruck with your experiences over such short period of time.

    It takes people ages to realize what you have written, ” The question we have to ask ourselves is, do these possessions really fulfil us?”

    I love reading your blog and wait ‘unhurriedly’ for them as I know that what comes next will be a ‘hidden treasure which surely needs time to be discovered’.

    Keep travelling keep sharing.

    • Shivya Nath says

      Haha, I feel totally guilty for the ‘hell of a time’ I give them 😉

      Aww and I’m glad you wait ‘unhurriedly’. I’ve pledged to write a LOT more this year!

  9. shankar subramaniam says

    “Enjoying my own company and that of the Arabian Sea.” – Which beach is this and where ?

  10. Prachi says

    Such a beautiful post Shivya! My own traveling plans have taken a back seat over the last few months. We did relocate to another country but my excuses for not being able to explore more are my job and my toddler- but like I said, they’re excuses for my laziness 😏 need to try and get myself back on some traveling act soon!

    • Shivya Nath says

      Thanks Prachi! Relocating to another country is such a great way to immerse deeply in its way of life (and explore its neighbours); hope you make it happen this year 🙂

  11. Inspiring and so true! My travel plans had to be drastically cut down in 2017 due to health issues, so this year I am hoping to make up for lost time. I’d rather spend my money on enriching travel experiences than material stuff, anyday.

    • Shivya Nath says

      Wishing you better health and lots of adventures this year, Neha!

  12. I couldn’t agree more. I once pushed off a trip to Bhutan for work and till date (5 years now) I have not been able to go. On the wedding expenses and money we spend on things – what you said is so true. Are we fufilling our dreams with the money we save? If not, what’s the point?

    • Shivya Nath says

      I think we need to keep reminding ourselves of that again and again. Otherwise it’s easy to fall prey to all the consumerism around us and feel miserable despite all the money we spend 😉

  13. Rejani says

    Shivya you are so inspiring.i follow you religiously ever since I found you

  14. Harish Mathur says

    Reading your posts lits up the fearlessness that is there inside me. Probably all of us have that quality, but for some reasons, most of us are not able to beat it like you have done so easily…

    • Shivya Nath says

      I’m glad my posts make you feel that way, Harish. I guess nothing worth it is easy in life, but we just have to keep trying till we get where we want to be.

  15. Great…great article! You are such an inspiration and an example, as well. Ever since I am following your blog , I have set up a travel goal for myself – visit at least one new place every year. And I stick to it. This year I dream of Ladakh. Hope it comes true! Thank you for this wonderful article. Have a great year ahead.

    • Shivya Nath says

      Yay, I’m glad to hear that Moon! Hope you make all your travel dreams come true 🙂

  16. Great article Shivya. Truly inspiring. Hope everyone will have many good travel memories in 2018.

  17. Ameeth says

    Such an inspiring post Shivya, I was contemplating pushing off my travel plans for this year, but this post has made up my mind to now go 😅. I also did my first ever Solo to Spiti and boy was it a life changing experience. Ones own company in an unknown land is indeed one of the greatest experiences, keep sharing ✌🏼😇

  18. Worth reading! I have kept my list ready to cover various destinations in 2018 and after reading this great post I’m even more curious. Thanks for becoming my inspiration.

  19. I came across your blog and this post especially touched me. Right when I was sulking about the fact that I spent too much on my travel plan for this year and that I should have waited to save some money and all the not so positive thoughts running in my mind, this post was so insightful. I’m a 29 year old woman, who had dreams and never had the resources nor the courage to face the unknown. But finally I have decided to live my dream and your blog has been a great inspiration so far. Glad to have found you and your blog. You’re a beautiful soul indeed. Good luck and may god bless you abundantly! Cheers 🙂

    Love,
    Maggie

  20. Ankit Verma says

    Hey! What a beautiful post , I love all your blogs they are so true and inspiring at the same time. Now it’s time to plan out a trip next month after reading this. 🙂

  21. Shivya, Hi. There is a meditative calmness and feel in your post, that, just reading it slowly, makes me peaceful. 😊.
    You just nailed it by saying “ the world feels so different than what is being told”. We have been told by so many people what to do. Luckily you have not listened. Neither me.

    So that’s what media is all about.
    Also the difference between a travel blogger and a travel journalist . You are travelling with a soul purpose, while most journalists travel with a sole purpose.

    Wishing you great success in all your upcoming posts.

  22. hi,the girl who loves to travel; can i make a request to u!
    Pls visit munnar in kerala in 2018 before nov 2018 and see the neelakurinji flowers. they bloom only once very 12 yrs,
    and write a blog about it, u write so beutifully

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