As a middle class kid in India, we always aspire to see the world but the reality is, forget about seeing the world but to come out of your small town also is not possible. Resources are limited, exposure is limited only to what we see in TV. If you see anybody going abroad then assumption is that person is supremely rich and maybe the luckiest person you ever came across, I was no different when I was kid in small town of Gangtok (Sikkim) during my junior school days. Fortune started changing when I took admission in high school, school where most of the kids were from defense family, where kids use to talk about going Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore for higher studies. For me whatever they use to speak didn’t make any sense, because until than I had no idea or aspiration to go anywhere outside my town.
Gradually I realized that going out of town and studying outside is one of the best thing I could do to change my life. Luckily I could get enough grade in high school to convince my parents to send me to a bigger city for higher studies and then I landed in Bangalore for my business management studies.
With my pocket money, I could manage to visit few nearby places but anything beyond that was still not possible. Three years went in blink of my eyes and there came “Graduation Day”, big day in our life, with degree in hand and all I needed was a perfect job to start my career. It didn’t took much time and I was part of multi-national financial firm. Everyday speaking to clients from various countries was fascinating but urge to personally visit was still unfulfilled and urge was growing day by day. One day my boss came to me and asked, Chandan do you have a passport? that one question made me so happy that much before I actually made to flight, I could speak to all my friends about it, all my friends circle knew that I am going to travel abroad , it was a business trip but for me it’s my first international trip. Finally I had all approval and ticket booked, my first flight to Frankfurt, Germany. First time in foreign land is more of wondering about anything and everything then actually enjoying it. After spending about a month, I was back to India again. I wanted to make more and more trips but there was no business requirement and I didn’t had enough saving by than to go on my own, and honestly I didn’t had courage either to take any foreign trip on my own.
Many a times luck plays an amazing role in shaping our life and you get what you always wanted from a least expected source. Similar thing happened to me, I got an offer to work with another financial firm from their office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I just wanted to visit abroad and now I had an offer to work in abroad for full time, at that point of time there is nothing else I could wished for, in few months’ time I was in Kuala Lumpur, and soon as I settled down, I started exploring Malaysia with my new friends there. Malaysia have few of the exquisite beaches and I visited many of them. And now it was time for me to explore countries nearby. Working in Malaysia gave me decent income that I could afford a trip to nearby countries in South East Asia and booked my first holiday trip abroad and I choice was obvious, none other than Thailand All boys trip to Thailand was a first holiday trip and to my surprise Thailand was much more beautiful than what it was perceive from outside. Amazing beaches, vibrant nightlife and delicious food all available in reasonable rate with best quality.
It didn’t took much time for me to plan next trip soon as I was back from Thailand and this time it was Seam Reap, Cambodia. The famous temple of AngkorWat was gorgeous and one of its kind to visit. When night falls Pub Street turned to be place where one should be, one mug of beer in just about $50 cent, probably much cheaper than buying a bottle of water. While drinking a beer I meet another traveller who made my life changed completely as a traveller. Slim tall lady from Poland, when I asked her what do you do in Poland? Answer given to me was “I worked as waitress in Poland and I work for six month and whatever money I make in those six month, I use that to travel around the world for next six months” for me this was the least expected answer at that point of time, it was so fascinating that somebody working for six month and travelling for six month in a year by doing very basic job at home. Immediately next thought in my mind was why can’t I do that? As a waitress if she can travel so much than with my decent income working as a finance executive I can definitely afford more than her, I may not be able to travel for six month but to visit one country in six month shouldn’t be a challenge at all. That’s when it was encrypted in my mind that I have to travel to one country at least once in six months.
Soon I was back from Cambodia holiday, I made sure to make my next plan to Singapore in less than six month time. Singapore ultra-modern country was a totally different experience then what I had in Thailand or Cambodia. But life does not go smooth always, it have its own twist and turns and I cannot be an exception for sure. For some reason still unknown I decided to quit my job in Malaysia and come back to India and my only worry at that time was, going back to India means lesser income and lesser income means lesser travel which I was in no mood to reduce it by then.
Landed back to Bangalore again started new job as expected with lesser income than what it was in previous job in Kuala Lumpur but by then I was already in a traveller mode so even with lesser income I didn’t wanted to lesser my travel. Luckily a college friend of mine whom I knew for years had developed a similar passion and we decided we will travel together as many places as possible. With two people together we could plan well and manage cost well below an average cost to visit those places. Together in next three years we traveled number of countries starting, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Egypt and also our first holiday trip to Europe covering, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Bratislava and many other cities within in India.
Since we both were in different job profile it wasn’t always possible to travel together, and then started time where if our timing matches we travel together and if don’t it will be solo travel. My first solo trip started with Philippines with it white sandy beaches was a perfect choice to start with, soon it followed with Indonesia, and Turkey and soon planned my solo trip to Europe again covering, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy I could also manged to see Bahrain with my 24 hours transit visa.
By now I and people around me already know that I have to travel every six month no matter what the condition is, no specific country in mind, just pick some random country where I get good deal for air ticket and just book it. Later I visited Taiwan and again back to Europe covering the northern part which was left out in my last two visit Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland as well as Belgium and Netherlands was in list this time.
Now when I look back and take a count of last few years, I see that I crossed across 33 countries covering many big cities and small towns, some were ultra-modern, some were very remote , some were popular for its historic significance while other for their modern marvel . Every city and country had different experience to offer and every visit of mine made me more tempted to visit more and more in days to come. Many people asked how do I manage travel so much between my full time job? My answer to them is, if you plan well and really want to travel than it’s not so hard, everyone have same number of days in a year, it all depends on us how we want to make use of those days, either we can eat sleep and repeat or we can get up, plan and travel. Only way to know the world is by seeing it yourself.