For anyone who loves to travel, there’s always that little voice in the back of their minds that keeps telling them to quit their comfortable job and explore the world. Lots of people have done it. There’s enough and more inspiration on the internet to convince anyone that it’s a wonderful idea. Shivya Nath has done it and she continues to be a source of inspiration for us. Every time I speak to her, I am distinctly aware of the fact that there’s this ocean of wisdom separating us. Wisdom that’s only accrued over time, in different parts of the world. Jinna Yang did it, and she’s been a wonderful comfort for me on days where I feel like I’m just about ready to give up and catch the next flight out to anywhere. I’m sure Jinna doesn’t know me, but I owe her a lot.
These are people who have braved it, but not stupidly. Quitting one’s high-paying job means relinquishing that safety net of a paycheck at the end of the month. If you have taken it for granted, then you haven’t experienced penury like I have. I once survived for more than a month with 8 rupees in my bank account, but unfortunately, I wasn’t on a beach in an exotic island. I was deep in debt, broke and unemployed. That experience taught me something very valuable – inspiration is plenty, courage is rare.
Last year, Mansi and I had been toying with the idea of quitting our jobs and taking off. We had ideas worked out on how we’d survive – we thought we’d freelance, like so many travelers do; we thought we’d work on a farm in exchange for board and food; we thought we’d blog and write for money. Now, one year down the line, we just started new jobs that pays us more money than we know what to do with, and we are still waking up each morning feeling miserably out of touch with reality. Each time we speak to people like Shivya, an unspoken word of regret passes between us. We are too ashamed to say it. We sold out.
The one question we always keep asking ourselves is this: “When do we do it?”
The answer, however, is not simple. In the past one year, our collective debt has almost doubled because we bought a car. This means that we need to work longer to become debt-free. I think we both have this glorious time-table in our heads that the day we are debt-free is the day we quit and explore. Unfortunately, the wait seems almost eternal.
For me, the consolation is the fact that if I ever wake up one fine day and decide to fly away, the woman I love will be with me. Without her, I would just resign myself to the never-ending hell of a corporate cubicle.
What about you? Have you ever felt the need to leave it all behind and wake up each morning in a different bed in a different city, looking out at a different horizon? Share your thoughts with us.
All images are by Mansi Pal.