Synchronized as they are, traveling and storytelling becomes an inspiration-injected anecdote that extensively magnifies our idea of a place. The way they are portrayed, stories have the power to drown us in the narration, which is precisely a borrowed vision of ecstasy.
Diagnosed with itchy feet, right after a trip to the breathtaking land of Ladakh and after living under different roofs they experienced a new normal. For Gayathri and Vijay, a nomadic couple from Bangalore, building new connections and meeting new people from diverse cultures is just a way of exploring themselves. They took a plunge and broke their monotonous lifestyle as a doctor and an engineer, respectively.
This week Tripoto shares with you an exciting tale of these globetrotters. Need a fresh dose of inspiration? Read on!
1. Hi Gayathri and Vijay. Please introduce yourself to our travel community, Tripoto and tell us about your travel beginnings?
Gayathri: Hi! I’m Gayathri, a small town girl from Bellary, Karnataka but now moved to Bangalore after tying the knot with Vijay. A doctor by profession and a passionate traveler at heart! Not travelling for a couple of weeks straight makes my feet itch. Travel, for me, is a means of personal development. It helps me know myself better. A trip to Ladakh in 2013 changed me completely into a travel addict.I like meeting new people and interacting with them. Travelling helps me do it in the best possible way. I love to take portrait shots of people I meet. I believe life begins outside your comfort zone. New opportunities will open when you are outside your comfort zone.
Vijay: I come from Andhra Pradesh, India. I believe that very few things in life deserve the seriousness that we give them. I am fun-loving and easy-going. I live life in the present and have a really bad memory – helps if you want to live in a moment. I am currently the CTO of KNOLSKAPE, an experiential learning company based out of Singapore/Bangalore. I am also a voracious reader – I always keep a tab on a variety of topics including current affairs, latest technology trends, travel destinations etc., and never miss browsing my twitter and Quora feed! NEVER. I am also a movie buff, foodie and a techie. Running is a meditative experience for me. I was into long distance running and have finished a few full marathons until now.
2. What ignited your curiosity to quit your job and travel the world? Tell us about your first breakaway trip.
The summer of 2013 was the seed for all of it. We fell in love with the mountains of Ladakh on our anniversary trip. We met so many backpackers along the way and they were travelling for a very long time. They had seen so much of India and had incredible stories to share. We were so inspired we decided that we should also do something like this. We pursued this thought consistently for almost nine months. Saving up all the money we could, fulfilling our family commitments, deciding on the places that we could travel to, planning the exit from our respective jobs and motivating each other throughout! I(Gayathri) had to quit my job and Vijay took a sabbatical for six months.
Coming to our first trip together, it was was a road trip to Goa . Vijay started from Bangalore all the way and I joined him from Hubli. Western ghats were so mesmerizing that we had no option but to simply fall in love with the awe-inspiring landscapes. I think love for travel and adventure was always inside us and we just happened to discover the beauty of it once we really started traveling together.
3. ‘’We wanted to get a culture shock and experience a nomadic way of life.’’ What urged you to do so?
We were just too curious and wanted a peek into the life of others who are seemingly different from us. On nomadic way of life, we wanted to test a hypothesis. We believe that humans are meant to be nomads and hence we took up this six-month experiment! The verdict is very clear after this, - Yes, we are not meant to live in one place. Living under three different roofs in a week felt like the new normal.
4. Which brings us to our next subject; you have prepared your own list of travel quotes that has inspired you to take up more adventures. Share the best one with us.
I like this one a lot – “The world is a book. Those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Augustine. I can vouch for this! I’ve also tried putting together a quote myself after these six months. It won the Best Travel Quote contest by Nat Geo Traveler India. Here it is -
“Random acts of kindness by strangers we meet on our travels make us fall in love with the world.”
5.Your travel companion is your husband, Vijay. How has travelling together changed you both as individuals?
Traveling has opened up our world like nothing else. We have had such beautiful and eye-opening experiences which have helped us grow as better human beings. We are now more compassionate, creative and active. Meeting several inspiring, extremely helpful, cheerful and creative people really had an effect on us. There is no way you are going to meet such a diverse set of people other than while you travel.
6. You have spent to almost zero money on accommodation. How did this idea of CouchSurfing hit you? Share your most interesting CouchSurfing experience with us.
We had heard of the concept of CouchSurfing earlier but were quite skeptical about it. One of our friends who is an avid traveler himself has tried it several times and had good things to share. It is essentially a hospitality exchange site where people host travellers on their couches! We were very excited about the very idea of staying with locals. Best of all it was free. We could not believe that something like that can even exist.
It is a boon for budget travelers like us. It also allows us to get an up close and personal look at different cultures, families, and households, seeing how they really live, far from the madding crowd of high tourist traffic and tours.
We have had several interesting experiences, singling out one is so difficult but here is one. While we were surfing in a place called Batman in Turkey, our host Sefik, after a nice dinner suddenly asked us if we wanted to talk about India on radio. Of course, we readily agreed and in no time we were in the studio and spoke for about 1.5 hours. Sefik was translating it into Kurdish as we spoke in English.
7. As a traveler, what is the biggest challenge you have faced on the road?
The sheer joy and excitement of being on the road outweighs any challenges. As Indian passport holders’ we found it difficult to make impromptu plans. Sometimes, language is a barrier. Surprisingly being vegetarians is not much of a problem. Being flexible is the key – take it as it comes. Have some leeway for some serendipitous stuff to happen. After all, we travel for those special moments, right?
In fact, coming back to regular life after six short months was a bigger challenge!
8. Any advice for people who want to quit their jobs and travel but aren’t?
Long-term backpacking is very much doable and is not expensive. The whole reason we started our blog was to inspire people to travel more. Don’t decide in haste. Plan at least few months in advance.
Quitting job can be a tough decision to take. Firstly, you need not quit if your boss agrees for a sabbatical(long leave without pay). If not, you can always find a job when you come back.
Take the plunge. Break the monotony. Indulge in your creative self. Have fun!