"And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."
- Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society
Four years ago when I was still in a dilemma about continuing Chartered Accountancy, I moved to New Delhi with my best friend, and that's when the travel bug bit me. I found poetry, beauty and romance in travel.
Chartered Accountancy is a difficult course, some say the toughest in the world, with pass percentage going as low as 3% in the recent years. It takes a massive, irreparable toll on the mental and physical health of some. My eye sight got worse, I developed psychosomatic skin conditions gained a lot of weight because of constant stress. This is only an understatement, and with this I do not intend to discourage any aspiring CA—remember that the best views come after the hardest climbs.
And, while I struggled with my CA exams and a minimum wage internship, traveling to the mountains of the north often saved the day. Travel was my catharsis. It started as an escape from the humdrum affairs of daily life and soon became my lifestyle.
It took me probably a couple of trips to fall in love with the mountains, and a couple more to fall in love with traveling. Very soon, I started making journals and writing blogs. I was then either traveling in my free time or planning about it. I was simply hooked and for good!
I started achieving my personal targets so that I could reward myself with a short trip to Himachal later. My efficiency in work and studies increased exponentially, I grew more confident and happier than ever before. It would be hectic to manage work, study and travel at the same time, but there still was a certain solace. I even failed in my final exam, but failure stopped becoming a setback, as I had something wonderful going on in life always, and it strengthened me to do better. When I failed I traveled to clear my head, when I passed, I traveled to celebrate.
After I took my final exam in November, I set out on an adventure. I had labored and struggled for too long, and after my exam was over I suddenly did not know what to do with my time in Delhi. So, I decided to slow travel. I spent weeks in new places, but had no money for it (remember minimum-wage internships). That's when I started volunteering at backpackers' hostels and writing travel blogs again. What began as a solo trip to Rajasthan, became a three month long backpacking trip across Rajasthan, Himachal, Goa, Gokarna and Hampi.
Now, as I return to Delhi with a heavy heart and a heavy backpack, I am taking some time to cool off, finding the right balance between travel and work. And, most importantly, finding a job that suits my travel lifestyle.
You can be anything you want and still travel. You don't have to quit your job or lack ambition to be able to it. In fact, in my opinion, it is the other way round. Traveling helps you get clarity, gives you perspective and calms your mind. If anything, it rejuvenates you to work harder and achieve your goals after you return.
Travel to kill monotony, travel to cure depression and enhance mental health. Travel to open your eyes and widen your horizons, travel to experience culture and shatter your inhibitions. Travel for confidence, travel for modesty. Travel to live, travel to fall in love.