TRAVEL GONE WRONG: WHY 4 MONTHS OF NON STOP TRAVEL MADE ME HATE TRAVEL!

TO TRAVEL NON STOP FOR 4 MONTHS NON STOP! That was my travel fantasy when I was still working in Navi Mumbai in a 9 to 5 corporate job (Fine, make that 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. job). Sitting at my desk all day, I would dream of packing my bags to never return. My day dreaming would be assaulted with more official excel sheets (some of which I used surreptitiously for making my travel plans for next few months). Circa 2016! As I mentioned in an earlier blog, 2016 was a magical year for me travel wise.

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Me at Tiger’s Nest Monastery aka Paro Taktsang

Thanks to my new freelance lifestyle, I had the freedom to realize my dream of traveling non-stop. I had accepted a bit too many professional invites for Press Trips and planned many of my personal travels as well. So from August 2016 to November 2016, it was non-stop travel for me for 4 months. Between this period, I showed up at my brother’s house (I was staying with him till then) only for few hours. I would be back home only to wash and change clothes, rest or deliver already delayed projects before starting my next travel. I remember before my Amazing Trip To Ladakh, I took a post midnight cab to home, picked fresh clothes, unpacked and packed my luggage again and leave before 5 a.m. to catch flight to Leh. Within those few hours, I crazily packed my bag, answered mails and even submitted assignments. As I was unpacking and packing I realized much of my room resembled a war zone. I wasted a lot of time to find my things. Because I had had no time to organize my life!

COMPLETE GUIDE TO PARO TAKTSANG AKA TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY IN BHUTAN

Since November end to present day (February 2017), I have been declining Media Trips because I want to concentrate on my writing, earning and other pursuits in life.  I will start traveling again hopefully towards the end of February 2017. Till then, I just want to be at peace. I used my sabbatical from travel well to write more articles for print travel magazines and newspapers, to burn lot of food every day in my kitchen (I am a hopeless cook), play with my friend’s dog, catch up on movies and dining with my friends, organize my desk. I caught up with food festivals, film festivals, book fair and restaurant hopping in New Delhi too. I had spent quality time at 2 of my friend’s quiet homes and offices to write pending blogs. The month of December was most productive as I wrote around 20 blogs in December alone, most of it on Jordan and Bhutan etc. I also managed my finances and raised pending bills and earned more. I further augmented more wealth for me by landing up for assignments for me. On one of the days, I wrote 4 articles in a day! And oh, I caught up on a lot of sleep too. It was a creatively satisfying phase and I hope to repeat it again.

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Click to read about the mystery behind Penis paintings on walls of Bhutan near Chimi Lhakhang

I have realized that I can’t be location independent. I realized that my fantasy was just a fantasy! When I actually tried to live my fantasy of traveling non-stop, I ended up cancelling my own trips. After being on road and in air for so long, I had realized that I do like a base to come back to. (Coz बाबा को base पसंद है). I also realized that no matter how much I love travel, it is not the only thing I want to do. I was itching to read lots of books, even newspapers (I am known for reading 2 months old newspaper even when not traveling), catch up on Bollywood and world cinema (I saw 15 Iranian films in between), meet old friends, spend time with parents and nephews and nieces. On most of my travels in this period I carried books to read. Not even once did I get time to read those thanks to my packed schedules during travel. I talk to my parents in Lucknow daily on phone since 2008, when I left home. I had to request them to hang up because I was too tired (mentally) to even talk)

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I went to a remote village Sehore in Madhya Pradesh to see how Delhi girl Sanjana Kaushik is changing lives in rural India.

Even places like Ladakh, where I had planned 16 days trip started to make me restless. Even though it was my first time in Ladakh, I was constantly craving to get back home. This, when I don’t even like Delhi or Ghaziabad, my adopted home since 1 year! I realized I started to enjoy travel less and on every travel, after a few days, there were moments when I just wanted it to end right there. Perhaps if I was a newbie traveler, I would have still enjoyed it but after having traveled to more than 150 destinations in India since 2008, most of it solo travel in shoestring budgets, I was near saturation. I didn’t want to kill travel for me and since December 2016 I took a strict sabbatical from Travel. Not very long ago (Till just a few month ago), I used to crave for such a trip. From being Fired for travelling too much in 2015 to Tired of travelling too much in 2016, I had seen a paradigm shift in my travel aspirations within a year, a bit too fast. Henceforth, my focus this year onwards is to choose my official trips carefully.

  • I don’t want to travel for more than 10 days in a month.
  • I also want to travel more and more with parents, friends.
  • That said, I realized how much I crave to go back to my original Solo Travel Style. I did manage some amazing Solo Travel experiences last year. I hope to plan some epic solo travels for myself this year.
  • I want to choose my Press Trips more carefully. I should be charged up about the destination before committing.
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Taj Balloon Festival near Taj Mahal Agra was the highlight of my trips.

This break from travel was also important because I finally shifted to my own rented apartment in January 2017. When I shifted from Navi Mumbai to Ghaziabad to stay with my brother in November 2015, I knew I would move out within a year. But I was unable to even find time to go apartment hunting because I was hardly seen at home. Much of January was spent in organizing my life and cutting the clutter. From August 2017 to January 2017 (staying at 2 of my friend’s homes) I was literally living out of suitcases and backpacks wearing the same set of clothes over and again. It was fun and challenging but also cumbersome.

Before Ladakh in September, a Media Trip to Bhutan for 10 days happened to me in August. After enjoying Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Haa Valley at leisure, I spent quality time with parents at Mussoorie and Landour.   September was marked with 16 days in Ladakh. After Ladakh, I made a solo trip to Mumbai, Bangalore and Agumbe, Ikkeri, Kaledi, Shimoga, Jog falls in Karnataka. It was a mix of flights, rickety buses and sleeper class trains. My train to Mumbai from Delhi was not even sleeper class. It was an overnight Chair Car journey in Gareeb Rath.  September was indeed my busiest month.

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Did you know about the Corn Village Bhutoli in Mussoorie? Mosaic Hotels helped me find!

By the time it was October, I had started cancelling my own travels. Never before had I stood at a railway platform with my backpack and cancelled my own tickets. As I sat in metro to Nizamuddin railway station, I was boggled by the amount of work pending. The horrific visions of messy desk and room nagged me further. Upon reaching, I just cancelled the sleeper class train ticket to Surat on my cellphone and returned back to home. I promised myself to travel to Surat next winter to sample the seasonal dishes Ponk and Oundhiyo. Never before in my life had I done something like this. I even cancelled my much awaited trip to Kolkata on Durga Pooja in October. I had wanted to do it since eons. When I was so close to realizing that dream, I cancelled the ticket myself because 1) I was tired and 2) I had so much of freelance work pending). Before this, I explored Madhya Pradesh (Satpura, Bhopal, Pachmarhi, Sanchi, Sehore and Bhimbhetka.) for 7 days. I also stayed at parents’ home in Lucknow for sometime during Diwali. I had plans to visit nearby Ayodhya, Faizabad and Varanasi but I was too tired and just wanted to chill at home and eat some comfort food made by mom. November was all about hot air balloon ride near Taj Mahal and a quick trip to Boat Festival in Goa. I almost said no to these 2 invites. But it was so tempting I had to go. This was the time when I started to slow down. In reality, my 4 month long non-stop travel thus had brief moments of rest at home, thanks to the cancellations.

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Alongwith Naropa Festival, I also attended the Ladakh Festival in Leh.

I don’t know if I will travel like this again (Though I still have some crazy travel plans) but for now I want to take it slow. Kudos to those travelers who spend months on road! Before this trip, the most I had travelled at a stretch was one month in Nepal in 2015 (Everest Base camp Trek and Kathmandu). I remember I was itching for a base even then.

It taught me that we should all understand what personality types we are and make travel plans which suit our personalities. I would love your views on this. Does the same thing happen to you as well or do you love living out of suitcases and backpacks? Do let me know in the comment section below.

This song from the Bollywood film Lootera sums up my current state of mind well.

ना उड़ने की इस दफा ठानी परिंदो ने भी वफा जानी. शिकायते मिटाने चली; सुबह बेदाग है!”

(“Having decided not to fly, even the birds learned to stay this time! I answered all the complaints; the morning is spotless now!”)

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I took some time off from Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart and went to see Sanchi Stupa. Mesmerised, I spent all day here.

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Spotting Gaur aka Bison and other wildlife at Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

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31 thoughts on “TRAVEL GONE WRONG: WHY 4 MONTHS OF NON STOP TRAVEL MADE ME HATE TRAVEL!

  1. Love the audacity of your thoughts here Abhinav. We live in a world where people have created these halo-like visions around being a ‘digital nomad’ or ‘location-independent.’ Having a base is considered as some sort of anomaly. I hate how there we have created a world, in which we imposed restrictions on ourselves as if people beyond travel blogging or travel writing don’t exist. Or even worse, that people did not travel before travel blogging came into picture. Kudos to your willingness to take a break. There is no shame in slowing down or having a base. We all need, our time to reflect, refresh, recollect and re-energize ourselves. After all, no two men or two women are alike… 🙂 Good luck with 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Deepika. Even I am fed up with travel snobbery and the false facades which people build around travel. For me travel is very personal and deep on going process. It’s sacred to me and has completely changed me as a person since 2008 when I started traveling. All these labels which you mentioned mean nothing to me. I have so many friends who are not travel bloggers but travel equally well and sometimes even better. Thankfully they don’t brag about any labels. Never mind. To each her/his own. Appreciate your straight forward thoughts on this. 😊

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  2. Buddy.. once again, you nailed it. Your writing is so good. I am a fan.
    Coming on to what you have written, i can totally relate to it “in theory”. Traveling 24×7, 365 days is my fantasy too but I also love some ठहराव. When I did some self analysis, I knew that I can’t travel for a living coz i love some routine too, some discipline in life. Travel is my Passion but I want to have a good job too, I don’t wanna leave working coz I love to do that as well.
    Also, I never suggest anyone that leave job to travel, as getting tired of working is fine but a travel enthusiast shall never get tired of travel coz that is our heart, our love and one shall never be tired of their love.
    Aur, baby ko bhi base pasand hai 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. I try to be honest in my writing. I don’t want to misguide by putting up a false facade around travel. Travel is sacred to me. It has changed me as a person. So it was bothering me that I have started to enjoy travel less. Like you I also prefer some routine and discipline. I hope to maintain that. 👍

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the honest confessions here! I have known all these stressful phases that you went through. Its good you realised that you can’t be location independent and selected a base for yourself. I’m happy to hear that you will go back to your own travel style and choose the press trips wisely. Travel the way you enjoy, don’t make travel a burden!
    It’s true that everyone has their own style of travel and it is wise not to be influenced by others’ style.
    I’m location independent since a year now, but I’ve been able to do it really well. I have discovered that slow travel works for me. Live in one destination for sometime, explore the place, people, culture, myself and hop on. I also know that I can’t live at one place forever. So “SLOW TRAVEL” it is for me! In between, I take up press trips, but I always want to keep a check on the frequency. Press trips come with a lot of work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for stopping by. I understand what you are saying. Travel is meant to be a fun and learning experience not a burden. I have been following your journey on Ravenous Legs and proud of how you are treating travel. I am going to be very selective of my travel plans henceforth. 😊

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  4. I have been travelling for almost 25 years officially till 2007. After which I have taken a sabbatical and travelling less. If I had a passion to pen travelogue than probably I would have continued on and on because it would have dual objective and following one’s passion. Unfortunately I realized that focused official work has fetched nothing much to add value to the world or society in general. So one has to balance professional with hobby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true. One can do a job which is not related to travel and can allocate some time and money on travel annually. It’s totally alright and also keeps the romance of travel alive. 😊

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  5. A great article, true to self (y)

    I discovered that as time goes by I have started to like slow travels that helps one immerse with the place to become one to enjoy the fullest.. and return home to allow it to sink in to paint memories!!! I have the travel bugbite as well…. 😊👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your writing is so touchy and pure practicality.I am also a person who loves travelling, but at a time also get bored with another routine(travel).I am not digital nomad as i cannot be ,its not my style and travel at my own pace with having my permanent base and its also OK if you love sitting in your own couch with family and friends around.Good luck for 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an honest post! I can’t imagine getting tired of travelling but after reading about such hectic travel schedules, I can imagine the predicament. They key is to find a balance I think. Hope you are able to balance it well this year 🙂 Happy travelling and writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. At a time when terms like digital-nomad, travel full-time and location-independent are becoming a fad, I ma quite glad to read an article with such insights about the practical issues with travel-overload. I have always believed in having a balance between my job and my passion for travel. As much as I love to travel, I love to get back to my work. I enjoy the travel when it comes as an interlude to my mundane job. Reading your post was like a reassurance to me about having a balance between regular work and travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sindhu. I agree with what you are saying. It’s great the way you are striking a balance between travel and work. I wish I had better wisdom when I was in a job. Had I handled it well maybe I would not have been fired for traveling too much. Never mind. My life has taken a different course now and it’s exciting to see how my relationship with travel is changing over the years.

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  9. First of all, great post and love the honest perspective. Secondly, congrats on putting yourself in a position where you can truly evaluate the type of traveler you are or want to be and were able to have experiences as a professional traveler/blogger/writer. In terms of perspective it has to be better than being locked up I that cubicle looking at those excel sheets. Now with that said, everyone must find balance and everyone’s balance is different and their own.
    I hope you are able to find it.
    Do you think part of the problem is that you say you were travelling 4 months straight but I gather that you kept coming back to your brother’s house. Most long term travelers who take the big trip just go and never return to their base for a while. I think constantly returning would add more stress and challenges!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow that is a really honest article. I loved the way you described about your enthusiasm to travel and when things went a bit off. The yearning for a base and not a nomadic life is a fresh change of perspective.

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  11. I spent 6 weeks on the road last year and I just wanted to come home and sleep in my bed by the end of it. It is okay for you to decline few press trips once in a while and those places are never going to go away. The opportunity may go away but you never know, something better must be waiting for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is so refreshing to hear honest thoughts and a traveller’s acceptance at things which cannot be done/are not practical to be done/he doesn’t wish to do. Most bloggers weave a fanciful world. You write about yours straight from the heart with all the good and the not so good which comes along with it to make it a whole. You are not embarrassed at wanting to slow down or refusing/canceling opportunities. That is what life is. And we should be proud of the one we have made for ourselves. Congratulations on moving into your own place ( that’s the base 🙂 ) and for wanting to travel with your parents. I still remember that trip/post about your journey with them to Tehri, Sursinghdar. God bless and may you become more and more strong, happy and successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I feel you. I have 3 months of non stop trcel ahead of me..planned by me only. Very excitedly, in fact. But now i am anxious and I think after the end of 3 months i would most probably be in the same boat as u r. I am already contemplating declining stuff n def not planning my trips (this was all my doing..just coz i was tired of hectic press trips and wanted to slow travel on my own)..turns out i am not giving myself much luxury to relax either in my excitement to see more n do more. I know the end result will be burn out coz I already feel it!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I FEEL YOU. Totally going through a similar phase. Been on the move since Jan 3. Could relate with almost all the points you have mentioned here.
    There is so much cost of opportunity lost when you travel. The work piles up and its actually scary because you travel in a tired state, dreading the back to back travel.

    This is an honest piece. Agreed that it is all cyclical, sometimes we need a break from work, sometime we need a break from travel too.

    Very few people realise that travel blogging is a JOB , no-one gets a press trip like a ‘vacation’. You work on the go too.
    Loved this article. Your candid best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can’t say I completely get it, as I am not in the same space as you are, but I can empathize. I will akin it to the frequent travels our sales teams do. It may look glamorous on the outside (and maybe it is) but comes at a cost. Travel related to blogging is equally strenuous. I am glad you are stepping back to define priorities and enjoy your travels. Traveling with family and friends is a great way to enjoy, bond and grow together. It will be a sad day when someone really starts hating it !

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: GOLDEN CHARIOT: THE ONLY LUXURY TRAIN OF SOUTH INDIA. FIND OUT WHAT IT’S LIKE. – Soul Window – Travel stories and pictures from Indian writer

  17. Returning to your blog after some time. Yes, honestly one needs a Base after some time. I believe once you get too much of something, you need a change. It’s good to hear that you now have many freelance assignments and have moved to your own apartment. More prosperity to you in 2017. ☺

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  18. Wow! As I kept reading your account of constant travel I realised how similar my experience has been in the year 2016. Apart from similar places like Bhutan and similar experiences Like hot air balloon rides, the sentiments experienced have also been similar. I eventually changed the tagline of my blog to ‘Diary of a Homebound Traveler’ because after travelling so frequently the whole year I realised there is no better journey than that of a homecoming. Gradually, you start realising that travel is just one part of the whole episode and since it has been made so glamorous by digital media people do not really get the catch of the reality that follows. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That felt like coming straight from your heart. The high’s and low’s of a nomadic life. I can so relate to it. Yea, you need to know your personality type before dreaming of a being a 24/7 wanderer. It’s not for everyone nor is it as glamorous as it is portrayed to be. Slow travel and a nice break after every trip help recollect the experiences. After a long solo journey, going some place with friends and family adds a different flair to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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