Feliz Año Nuevo!
Lounging in the shadow of Volcano Mombacho in Nicaragua, 2014 feels like a gust of wind that blew away too quickly.
That I have journeyed through countless countries this year is humbling. That my book is somewhat taking shape is thrilling. That I’m winding down my startup is downright heartbreaking. But such is life. Sometimes you’re left with with no choice but to let go off one dream in pursuit of another.
A long way gone.
Three and a half years ago, when I left behind the stability of my corporate job for a path less travelled, my wildest dreams couldn’t have foreseen what the road had in store for me.
I started 2014 cycling along the countryside of northern Thailand, rubbed shoulders with the exotic wildlife of South Australia, went deep sea diving in the Philippines, hitch-hiked along Romania’s Maramures region, had my first tryst with Uncle Sam, experienced island living in Honduras, lived with the Mayans in Guatemala and the Bribris in Costa Rica, and am currently discovering the remote hinterlands of Nicaragua.
I have been traveling without a home for 16 months now.
My journeys have given me perspectives no books or education could, and changed me in ways I’m still comprehending.
The realization that I really have carved out a life of travel dawned on me when I was featured on BBC Travel and interviewed on NDTV this year!
On my long journey as a travel blogger, I feel like I’m finally starting to arrive. I made enough money this year, directly or indirectly through blogging, to fund 90% of all my travels and continue paying my student loans.
The final feather in my cap was one I aspired to in my foregone corporate life – being awarded one of India’s most talented social media professionals by CMO Asia.
The triumph is bittersweet.
The road can sometimes make you feel like no dream or destination is impossible. I was riding on the high of that feeling when the realities of my own physical limitations hit me. I came down with a severe throat infection in Sikkim, which spread to my ears while diving in the Philippines, and got out of hand in Romania. It became so bad that I could hardly hear my own voice and the pressure imbalance in my ears made flights a complete nightmare. By the time I recovered in Bombay and Dehradun, more bad news awaited me – the family history of high cholesterol had found its way into my body.
Despite making healthier choices on the road, 2014 came as a reminder that I need to slow down and give my health the attention it needs.
And in slowing down, I refer to my work life balance. Until December, I didn’t completely take a single day off. No Sundays, no weekends. I buried myself in work, emails, deadlines – despite being on the road every day of the year.
I woke up one morning in Costa Rica with the realization that as much as I love everything I do, I have to prioritize. It boiled down to a simple choice really, of time and effort vs dollars and cents.
And that’s why, with a heavy heart, we have decided to sell or wind down India Untravelled. I have no doubt that a few more years down the line, it has the potential of becoming India’s foremost responsible travel enterprise, but our team doesn’t have the resources to grow it any more. If you know someone with a vision who does, please get in touch.
Update Sept 2015: We sold India Untravelled in early 2015. Here’s what I learnt from running and selling my travel startup.
The road ahead.
2015 feels like a blank canvas, waiting to be painted with the adventures I choose.
This is the year I want to push the boundaries of my comfort zone, take on challenging travels that don’t need me to be in India or in connectivity.
I want to live free, make a new beginning. And I guess, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
What do you want your canvas to look like in 2015?
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Any contributions to my Travel Fund will be much appreciated!
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
I am in complete awe of your writing and you’ve become a source of inspiration for me. I’ve just joined the corporate world which allows me to travel and I keep looking forward to it. I love what you write and how logical you are when it comes to doing what you’re doing. Can’t say “I’m proud of you”, way younger than you are but yeah, I am really glad that there are still REAL people like you in this world, especially in this country.
Happy New Year!
This is just….sad 🙁
I found your blog this past fall and have so enjoyed all of your posts. Your willingness to follow the road less traveled (particularly as a single woman) has been such an inspiration to me. I hope that your health improves with time and attention, and that we all have the opportunity to hear more from you in the future! 🙂
Much as we’d love heeding to our hearts every single time, sometimes it may be wiser to let the brain make a decision or two. You’re the best person to decide what’s needed to stay in control of your life, Shivya. Stay amazing, and I look forward to your 2015 to keep inspiring me and many others. 🙂
Shivya..your decision is really painful but I hope some one will take up the baton from you and take IU to the next level. We love you.
This is a sad news… but my best wishes are with you that you’ll be able to take back India Untravelled someday from whoever you sell it. 🙂 And congratulations for all the recognitions.
Oh!! :/ ..
hope you come back in good health and keep doing what you love most-TravellinG!
Take care of yourself…
Selling or winding down India Untravelled? That’s your baby which can grow only with you!?!?!? Still, we wish you all the best for 2015
Talk about bittersweet! These are strides you’re taking – strides we all watch in awe. And yeah, I’m glad you’re watching out for your health now 🙂 Take care. Stay blessed.
Shivya, its disheartening to hear ‘india Untravelled’ windup. It had the potential to grow great heights but…I had just started saving some money and wanted my first trip to be by India Untravelled. For people like me who are inspired by you, we would miss out on a lot for sure
It is indeed sad to hear about you having to sell your own startup. But as you rightly have said to yourself and to all the readers of your blog, one beginning has to end for another beginning to take shape. So let that be it and think about the future.
Health is always important. Keep that as a top priority, would be my friendly advice.
Last but not the least; explore. Your decision to quit job and pursue your dream to travel is itself inspiring. And your travel blogging just adds to it so brilliantly. Keep it up.
Happy New Year!
More power to you Shivya. I’m sure it was a tough choice, but it would have probably been as tough back when you decided to quit your job and travel right? And look at where you are today! There are times when we all need to sit back and take stock of our lives, and the meaning we want to derive from it, and the path we wish to pursue. What’s great is that you know what you want. To quote Baz Luhrman, “Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.”
Happy travels, and looking forward to seeing where the year takes you!
wish you a very healthy and happy travel-filled year. Take good care of yourself 🙂
Shivya, I just stumbled upon your blog while planning my upcoming trip to India. I can really relate to so much of what you’re saying because my girlfriend and I are in a similar point in life.
We quit our jobs 20 months ago to travel the world. Our past year was spent traveling through Latin America by land, and even though we put our online work to the side, we managed to cover 90% of our expenses (we miss Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, and Chile sooo much).
We are so motivated by our progress that it feels like we finally made it.
As the new year rolls in and we prepare for our trip to India (leaving in February on a 1 way ticket), we are as excited as ever because we’ve proven to ourselves that a crazy dream we once had was actually possible. We started our own ‘travel’ blog very recently to share that dream and it’s reality with others. (http://fortheride.org)
Anyways, I just wanted to reach out because I can really relate to your writing. I’m inspired by your progress and wish you the best of luck in the new year.
One question: what’s your favorite place in India or your best tip for traveling there?
Hi shivya, did u guys took down indiauntravelled.com, not accessible today :(.
In case I can be of any help, what kind of resource crisis are you in?
You can mail me at email@example.com.
Awesome post. Your passion for traveling is reflecting in your writings and snaps as well. Get well soon dear and start to live your life again. Congrats for all the recognitions u got. Keep posting with lots more. Thank u….
No way..!! I can’t believe..! 🙁 🙁 very sad to hear that.
We’re sorry to hear you’re selling the business, but we bet 2015 will be a great year for you!! Can’t wait to see what more you have in store for us 🙂
xx Amanda & Carmen
Amazing year! I wish you the 2015 even better!
P.S. Is Nicaragua safe?
I really enjoyed reading this end of the year post from you. It is honest, heartfelt and direct. I wish you all the best with your book! Do let us in on what it is that you are writing about 🙂
It’s true that New Years bring incredible good energy but they also bring a whole bunch of new, more challenging goals. It’s a shame to hear that you had to wind down your startup, I am sure that there will more exciting ideas on the road that will help you begin again.
Take care of your health, it may be the biggest investment that you will be making for your future.
Happy 2015! Happy traveling and happy enthralling!
Great to hear about your success. Even those who don’t travel get severe illnesses, so don’t let that bog you down 🙂