By the time this post gets published I would have ended the first day of my trekking expedition in Goa. Making new friends and getting to know my trek mates better. A total contrast to what happens in Goa at this time of the year. As everybody in Goa prepares to welcome a new year by getting drunk, high or wasted, I would be celebrating feeling alive to the every drop of sweat that runs down the back of my ear as I trek some beach with 50 odd strangers. Also by the time this post gets published it would have been exactly 365 days since I walked out of that office hoping that I would never have to return to a cubicle binding me in an area of 10 sq ft or so.
I have read some posts by fellow blogger who quit their plush jobs and hit the road that if someone had told them the day they said good bye to the cubicle “A year down the line you’d be doing this and that”, they would have laughed it off. They say that they although they had taken the plunge, they did not have any plans and they never knew where the road would lead them to.
But if a year back someone had told me that I would be out trekking to celebrating New Year’s Eve I would have said, “Yeah! May Be.” Not because I had planned it to be so. Not because I had given myself into the predictably unpredictable aspect of future. But to a certain extent, because of the recognizable monotony of my past. That’s what I usually did for New Year’s Eve. Over the past decade that’s how I have been celebrating. Away from the loud and flashy parties in the urban jungles, me and a bunch of friends would head away into the countryside or an unknown forest or dilapidated fort on a hill and spend the night watching stars falling into oblivion. And adding to the familiarity of the past routine were the possibilities of a future that I was stepping into when I walked out of that office. I wanted my life to surprise me, hold me in awe and make me feel grateful for the entire beauty of it.
And hence I consider what I am doing right now to be not very surprising. But that is not to say nothing has been surprising for me throughout the last year. In fact the adventure had begun as soon as I stepped out of office. (Well, that was night to remember in itself. May be I should do a blog post on it.)
And 10 days later I was on my first leg of the journey across India with my ‘Beauty in Red’. And since then, cliched as it may sound, life changed. For better. In spite of the fact that I am doing the same thing that I have been doing almost every year for New Year’s Eve. So, how is it better or how has it changed you may ask. And I may be found searching answers. For I do not know from where to begin.
But I will attempt an answer beginning on the superficial level. No office, no long hours during the week and sleeping off the entire weekends, No worries about the next performance review or brooding about the peanuts that one gets as a raise. A bit of money saved that will carry you for a while & then travelling around the country eating fantastic food, being in awe of the surreal landscapes or watching beautiful sunsets. What else could one ask for? My days had no fixed routine neither had I an idea as to where I was heading next. At times when I planned to head to a particular destination in the morning by afternoon I would take a detour and head in a totally different direction. Meeting people, getting lost, developing a crush and sharing interesting travel tales it was a lot more than what I ever dreamt that my life could be.
But during the course of the journey itself there were moment’s of reflections. And after I returned home somewhere in middle of June after being away from home for about 140 odd days during the previous 6 months I came to realize the full extent to the magnitude of changes that I was about to see in myself and the way I viewed people and things around. At first the coming home in June was just a small break before I furthered my journey in September or so.
At first it was a saddening to be back home and I was worried as to how am gonna stay home for a couple of months or so, but then little by little the sadness gave way to frustrations. Frustrations not because of having to stay home but more because of the changes that months of travelling had brought about with me. No longer I enjoyed whiling away time with friends. The same old talks about how shitty their jobs were or how they did not have time and energies to do anything they loved. While me having all the time in the world and having been there and done some of that (if not all) found it hard to understand why would some one find doing what they love so hard. They were my best friends and here I was unable to relate myself doing the same things or talking the same talks that I would enjoy a mere 6 months back or so. All the energy and potential that I had discovered within myself made me fret and crib over the ‘normal’ way the world worked.
I had failed to realize that it was not that the people back home had changed, rather it was me and the way I looked at things. It dawned upon me later that any change has to come from within and if people were stuck with the same old ideas or convictions it was okay. May be they are not prepared to take the plunge. May be they have not realized ‘it’ yet. Or simply may be the time just wasn’t right ( contrary to my belief that the right time is always now). With this sensitivity to the conflicts of external world and the insights into the sentiments within myself came an acceptance. Acceptance that things relations with friends, family or others would no longer be viewed with the same length and breadth. It does not mean that I’ve turned judgmental. Or that I no longer share the close knit bond with my family or that I do not trust my friends with my life. It is more about the realization of myself as an individual. And that I am different from everyone around. I am, simply ‘me’. Not because I did my own thing. But more of the fact that every individual is different in himself/herself. But its up to the person himself to walk on path leading to consciousness about himself as a human being. Does this sound too philosophical? Whoever said that travelling makes you philosopher.
I’ve found myself not worrying about smaller things. On the contrary its the smaller things that are source of immense joy. Like a game of cricket followed by chilled drink or reading a book followed by a refreshing nap. And contrary to worries about how I’d survive home I have enjoyed being at home over the last six months. Of course I long to hit the road but if by some unforeseen circumstances I have to wake up tomorrow, wear a smart set of clothes and head to an office ( No! I DO NOT have any such plans) I’d not hate it entirely. And though I have my worries about future, in general I hear myself thinking ” Let’s worry about that when I come face to face with that situation.
And more than anything I enjoy being with passionate individuals with possessed with infectious amounts of energies. No wonder, I am a regular at the #untravel and #TSBC chats on twitter. Fantastic discussions, sharing of stories and views with people with like minded people talking about travelling and books respective. And I sorely missed those when I was doing CELTA in November. But then one month of CELTA itself was an intense experience and I would go on to say that it was the best classroom based learning experience I’ve ever had. Add to it again a set a of highly energetic and passionate and like minded individuals as my peers. What about the CELTA, you may ask? So are you going to be teaching around the world? Well, as I said earlier I will look at it once I get back home. For now am happy walking along the beaches of Goa.
A week before I left for Goa, we friends caught up for a drink to celebrate the death of bachelorhood of a dear friend. After the bar closed, we friends stood talking and I told them things some of which I am telling you now. After I shared my experiences a friend responded, “Man, that was such an intense and passionate talk.” Being the shyest, quietest and to a certain extent very ‘thakela’ guy in general among the gang they were surprised to hear me talk lengthily (and no I do not drink so that was not alcohol speaking )
“You’ve changed” said he.
‘Oh!! Have I?” I responded yawning
“Thakele!!!! No! You’ve not” he sighed.