How did I end up traveling year long?

4th Jan 2017

Race to ride the wave with my fellow backpackers. I'm the chocolate here.

Photo of How did I end up traveling year long? by Pratap Kumar Bunga

I was 26 years old then, working for a telecommunication firm in the USA. Getting good money, felt fantastic. Going from broke in college and jobless days in an immigrant country to finally having money was exciting. I dined in restaurants, went out with friends, had several road trips in luxury cars, cleared college loan, chatting in cafes, seeing new in events like Networking after Work. It felt great and I loved it.

Time for "but".

A happy part should follow a but. That's how it works.

But something was not right. Although I did love my job, but the books I read, the people in my life, the stories and people I follow somehow made me believe that I was destined to do great things. I think belief is great; it's a strong and powerful tool but god help the lazy ones like I was. I wish I had a powerful dream with an angel in it and said, "This is what you are destined for honey, go rule your world".

I had given several promises to my inner-self like we do to our girlfriends that I needed to wait for the right time, and together we witness a great action for the big unknown destiny I was to create. Seasons were passing by that year, spring turned sunny, came the colors after and later to all that loneliness one can witness on the dry winter trees and there I was still waiting under the cloudy sky's shadow to take my great action. I’ve had a feeling that my inner-self was doubting me, on my abilities, and on my calling to do great things. I couldn't take it. I could no longer linger. The longer I lingered the more labored it longed. More than ever I felt I’m indebted to take an action.

That’s it !! I said.

Blame Everything Time

I felt a world of aching senses in my comfort zone. My job, my apartment, my car, my accessories, my favorite Thai restaurant next door, the last hike in salary, the gym I go to, my friends, my family all felt like dragging me backwards. I blamed them for my inaction. I had to blame someone because all this thinking I got into was mostly by reading some great books, great movies, great feeds where the greats had gone through shit load of pain. I looked at my own life which unbelievably had no pain points and asked myself how was I supposed to become a great then? And then for once I imagined me being penniless, it was scary as hell and I went back normal.

“Nah, na! Your thinking is not right Pratap. It's a blasphemy to call your family, friends like that. May be you should call it a day and start thinking in the morning fresh”, I tried to convince myself like a mother consoling her baby.

I wished I was nobody. These attachments were making me become less capable, I cried and I cried more for pain. But suddenly, I smothered my thoughts to think that the pain to have a pain is actually a Pain. The pain I was trying to escape all the time was there, sitting in front of me at this time to do something. "Oh finally! Glad you got to see me and now please move your ass to fcking help me", screamed the pain. I was like how many voices are there inside my head - pain voice, inner-self voice, what else..

"God knows what I'm becoming", I shrugged.

That’s it ! I said again. With little more aggression.

Magic Moments

Something clicked in my brain. I've had a small dream sprouted while I was studying masters. It was my first time abroad, I had such fun meeting people from different parts of the world, experiencing the life of a first world country that eventually led me crave for more. I wanted to go more, to see more, and experience more. But it was a someday dream. However, my eyes gleamed brightly at this moment, this dream that looked amorphous - no color and shape in college was looking definite and clear like a single crystal letting every light to pass through. I believed this was probably the way that could lead my path to greatness. Suddenly that night, it didn’t look like a dream anymore. I felt it real as if I was in it already, thoughts became words that moment and then slipped in to my book like this "Travel around the world for a year. An Odyssey that would get everything I want in life".

Killer Action Time!

I was in need of a strong action. To refrain myself from any excuses and other interferences. I felt so strong that it was my only chance to do it. And if I can't do it then, I could never possibly go for this dream again. The only thing I had to do was to quit the idea of staying longer in United States. The action part I had to take was not to extend the VISA anymore so that I would be committed to it.

I told my friends about it first. They were thrilled. Some thought I was just joking. I told my Parents after. They were shocked. Then spoke at work, they loved me. In fact, my manager was kind enough to put me in other location so that I can visit more places before I leave the United States. Surprisingly, nobody rejected the idea that I shouldn't do. They mentioned details like it's no safe in Colombia, and it's Ebola in Brazil, ISIS in Europe, look yourself to your career first etc.

They all wished me well in my travels, asked for any support they can provide. I looked in their empathetic eyes, I knew they cared about me but I could also sense a pain in their eye for they might be thinking, "I wish I had such chance or courage to do it". At that moment, I felt god damn proud to have that opportunity and courage to take up on my dream.

Life on Road

Out of the many twists, emotions and drama I went through I finally had chance to leave on Jan 4th, 2017. I was traveling until May 2018. I had countless memories, shit ton of stories, experiences, learnt few things about others, importantly I got closer to myself.

My first nine months in Central and South America.

Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga
Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga
Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga
Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga
Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga
Photo of India by Pratap Kumar Bunga