All You Need is a Backpack & a Heart For Adventure.

Lately, I’ve been surprised with an inflow of emails & tweets applauding my love for travel. (Thank you for that.) These notes almost always end with a ‘someday,’ in that, someday, you too want to see the world. To everyone with this ‘someday’ in their dictionary, I say, all you need to travel is a backpack & a heart for adventure.

Growing up in India, many of us have associated traveling with luxury, shopping (for the mothers), and religious getaways. We’ve always been taught to look at travel as a holiday from life, not as life itself. In fact, we haven’t learnt to be travelers, just tourists at best. I remember thinking as a kid that the only time one can travel for an extended period of time is right after marriage, on a honeymoon! And unfortunately, for many people I know, that is true.

Luckily, times are a-changing.

Call it the influence of the west or the restlessness of our generation. I for one, have bombarded myself with blogs & tweets of people who are out to discover the world; Suzy Guese, Nellie Huang, Keith JenkinsClaire GibsonAngela Corrias for starters. They make me feel like no feat is too big, and no place too far.

world, globe
The world as I know it. Photo credit: Jeff Kubina.

Money & company to travel are perhaps the two biggest deterrents to all kinds of travel.

Admittedly, I’m not a long-term traveler. The longest I’ve been on the road at a stretch, is two months. But Benny of Fluent in 3 months, will tell you after 8 continuous years of backpacking, that it’s not about money or the lack of it. Many people diss travel as an indulgence, but it neither has to be luxurious nor extravagant. In fact, some of my favorite travel memories are from remote regions of IndiaIndonesia & Vietnam, that are as cheap to stay in as they are to get to.

Solo travel, again a relatively new concept in the Indian society, especially for women, can be an exciting and empowering proposition. Think about the last time adventure found you all by yourself. Adam Seper of Bootsnall explores the pros & cons of setting out alone, in a world that can never cease to intrigue you.

solo travel, female travel, traveling alone
You & the world. Photo credit: H.Koppdelaney

I could rant a lot longer on why now is the time to travel. But I’d rather you get off this blog, get yourself a backpack and set out on that ‘someday’ adventure.

Photo credits: Jeff Kubina & H.Koppdelaney

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  1. A traveler after my own heart. My travels are the virtual kind. stop by and tell me what you think.

    1. Sounds fascinating. I sure will 🙂 Hope you enjoyed traveling virtually with me too!

  2. This post is so sweet, thanks a lot for mentioning me, I’m honored. I think I’m a long-term traveler, or an expat, or not sure how to define myself. I just like to point the finger on the map and arrange the trip. I’ve traveled both alone and with friends, and each of the way has its own drawbacks. Sometimes even if you know a person and you like hanging out with them, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be good travel companions. At the same time, traveling alone all the time can be exhausting and can make you feel the need to interact with someone. Maybe the secret is a mix of the two, easier said than done of course…
    I’m not the kind of traveler who just wants to tick country after country off the list, I like spending more time in each destination and going back many times, which makes me travel slowly, but absorb more than I would in a normal holiday.
    Unfortunately, the idea of travel=luxury is not only from India, but luckily, as you said, there is a change, more and more people now understand that traveling is not that expensive, and hopefully will embark on any kind of trip and adventure themselves. I’m absolutely positive that traveling is the best (and most pleasant!) way to fight prejudice and the fear of the unknown.

    1. I agree with your travel style on so many levels, Angela. The pointing on the map & figuring where to go, the mix of solo & accompanied travel, and the slow traveling. And yes, there’s no better way to face the unknown than to travel right into it 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts!

  3. Extremely intimidating thoughts. Completely in agreement to the fact that times are indeed changing. I have known many Indian Travelers who have transformed themselves from touristy flavor to great explorers. But, again I guess here in India, it still time too go as example before we stop playing with AMS gotchas due to lack of leaves. A hard but relatively true fact. But, once you actually Travel you actually come out of comfort zone and test the limits of your body and soul many a times, which actually end up boosting ones individuality.

    After every trip I am no longer the same person that I was before it. This is how I learn, this is how I grow and suddenly the same life is all so beautiful. In the end, it feels great to be a Travelbug.

    1. Welcome to The Shooting Star, Dheeraj 🙂

      Yes, practically speaking, it’s complex to plan multiple getaways, perhaps even more complex than planning long term travel. The corporate life is still new to many of us Indians, and many of us are so addicted to the boxed living.

      I agree that each time you’re out in the unknown, it changes you in a way you’ve never imagined. That’s perhaps the most intimidating & thrilling part of traveling.

  4. manchitra says:

    I like the way the way you think and do things, a freedom we never enjoyed quite a few years ago. Nice to see the change…..I do travel a lot , sometimes even alone but a fear lurks in the mind when I am alone, a fear that is sitting in my subconscious …I am proud to see you taking bold steps. I am old also, you see:)

    1. Haha, Chitra, you’re only as old as you admit 😉 In fact, each time I read about you traveling, I know that the times started changing with your generation. Thanks for instilling that boldness in us!

  5. This is very inspiring…, its tough to travel/holiday/vacation when you have so many responsibilities, commitments etc.. in short ya ‘baggage’ , hopefully i’am thinking in 10 years time when i turn 35 i would have enough time and money along with less ‘baggage’ so that i can travel/holiday, doubt if I can travel alone so hopefully will have a nice companion as well..

  6. Inspiring Post, but
    The anticipation itself of travelling alone one day seems enough to satisfy my adventure instincts for the time being so I’ll leave by saying ‘Someday’ 😀

    1. Haha, well then, I hope the ‘Someday’ comes soon!

  7. Good stuff Shivya! I susbscribe to dozens of travel blogs, and try to write/think about writing as often as I could.. the names you mentioned there are indeed very inspiring! But a big thanks to you too, for it’s even more inspiring (and to be honest, suprising) to see an Indian becoming a full-time traveller/travel-writer. 🙂

    1. Aww thanks Abhijit 🙂 I think I’m still a long way from travel-writing full time (atleast financially speaking), but I dream of getting there someday.

  8. awww thanks for the shout-out! it comes at a good time-i have been having a rather mopey week on the travel front. Sometimes, if I don’t have something planned, I start to get into this funk where I am convinced I will never travel again. But you know what? Even if I never took another trip the rest of my life (perish the thought!) I have been so blessed, lucky, fortunate, however you want to to look at it, to have seen as much of the world as I have. It truly is a privilege. Until we step out of our little bubbles and see how the rest of the world lives, we are only experiencing just a fraction of all life has to offer. I agree wholeheartedly with your advice here-forget someday……… it NOW!

    1. I absolutely know how you feel Claire. Like you said, sometimes when you’re not traveling, you feel like everyone else is! But hang in there, I’m sure there’s some travel plan brewing somewhere in your head. Don’t keep it for ‘someday’ 😉

  9. Hi Shivya – from FNQ in Oz. I’m a 67 yr old slow traveller who’d like to pass on a tip : I move around with just a small backpack ( change of jeans , t-shirts , knickers and socks. ) and carry all cards , money , phone , passport , drivers licence on my body : I wear a sleeveless vest which has extra pockets sewn on the inside.
    Thus I am hands-free at all times — even sleep in my vest in hostels/shared accomodation. I always walk out with a small amount of cash in an accessible outside pocket.
    Back in Oz ( needed a hip operation — damn! ) from 2 years living in Portugal. ( a really slow traveller! ) Have moved around since I drove an old van overland ( London to NZ ) in 1975 — Nepal , Goa and a year or so in Italy are next. Happy Travelling!

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