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

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Offbeat Bhutan : Cycling in Unseen Thimphu

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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2016, THE MIRACLE YEAR- HOW TRAVEL BLOGGING CHANGED MY LIFE!

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My social media grew in leaps and bounds this year. Instagram – Nearing 2000 followers, My Twitter crossed the much desired 5,000 followers. Facebook page saw more than 3100 followers and my You Tube Channel has 1,25,862 views as of now. It was a blessed year.  Do subscribe to my SM channels.

2016 AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER WAS A MAGICAL YEAR. More than 5 publications published me in the ‘Best Travel Blogger From India’ list. Times of India, I Diva, Indiatimes etc interviewed me amongst others. Though I had started Travel Blogging in 2014, I had not been able to write more blogs beyond 5. I was still a social media influencer. I have been traveling solo in India (150 destinations and counting) since 2008. 2016 was definitely the best year and my only successful year (yet) career wise. Of course, as a kid I have had better years but as a professional 2016 was nothing less than a miracle. It was my first active year as a professional travel blogger and I couldn’t have asked for more. As I hopped from one destination to another breathlessly, living my fantasy, I did not get time to analyze my growth. It is my most traveled year yet!

This blog is dedicated to my friends who saw my travel style change overnight and didn’t ask me anything about it. They have seen my journey since 2008. From dingy Rs.200 rooms, I was checking in 5 star hotels overnight. I was traveling non stop this year and did not get time to even understand the good things happening to me. Or convey them to my friends. I owe you an explanation.

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I express gratitude for the invite to attend Naropa festival in Ladakh. It happens once in 12 years.

My life had changed without me even realizing it. I traveled so breathlessly this year that I had lost track of my own personal and professional growth. I am overwhelmed because this is the first time I tasted success and I didn’t even work towards it. It came to me on a platter organically. Yup, miracles do happen.

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Petra In Night was Magical!

I did not shift to Delhi from Mumbai for blogging as many think. I came here to start something else. But blogging somehow took wings before I knew. When big brands like  Jordan Tourism Board (Trust me I had just 5 blogs till then but was very much of a social media influencer) and tourism boards of Punjab, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh started inviting me on Press Trips, I started taking blogging seriously. Skyscanner, Hard Rock cafe were other brands I enjoyed working with. Fellow Travel bloggers Manjulika, Parnashree and Dipanshu also motivated me to blog more when we were returning from Gunehar to Delhi. Rajiv Verma , a travel blogger himself and a techie, came to my rescue and improved my website, just the way I wanted it.

Iris Corbett will always be special. Fond memories.

6 of my articles were published in Railbandhu, India’s official railway magazine and Go air’s in flight magazine Go Getter. 4 of them were cover stories! Lonely Planet Magazine India also published an article by me along with my parents’ pictures. I had won a contest organized by them. Also, I made my photography debut in Marathi newspaper Pudhari.

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Hola Mohalla : I had never seen anything like this before!

TCBG (Travel Correspondent and Bloggers Group), a group for travel professionals helmed by renowned journalists Mrs. Alka Kaushik and Ms. Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu, also helped me hone my skills with useful workshops and educated me about Delhi and beyond, thanks to the exclusive heritage walks they organize.

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Bhutan : How much I love this nation!

THE BAD PART: THE ROSE COMES WITH THORNS!

More than a year has passed, I still miss (MY) Mumbai each and every day. I am grateful to Delhi for whatever it has given me in such a short span of time but somehow I fail to fall in love with Delhi. My yearning for Mumbai was a perennial theme all through 2016.

I missed my original solo travel style. During the beginning of the year I did manage a solo trip to Kila Raipur. In February, I had a spat at home and went to Haridwar sans any luggage and without informing anyone. Unfortunately, these were my only solo trips this year along with solo journeys to Karnataka and Mumbai later in the year.

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One of my most satisfying experiencing. Finding out what a Delhi girl Sanjana is doing in a remote village.

It was also the first time for me when I traveled with big groups. I had arguments in some of my group trips because my travel style was not aligned with the dynamics of a group travel. Gradually, I found my way out and learned to adjust to group travels. I also started to choose my company well because some people I traveled with were just plain unpleasant. Over time, I started to appreciate group travels.  It was a massive change for a solo traveler like me to try group travel.

Also, I found myself entangled in vicious traps. Certain section of insecure bloggers who were not too happy to see me getting invited everywhere attacked me, some openly, some surreptitiously. (It’s not my fault, buddies). I found myself amidst much negativity and there came a time when I wanted to quit blogging. I had even planned a closure line – ‘The view from my #SoulWindow is closed’. I had never faced such issues in life ever because this was the first time I had tasted success.I didn’t know how to react or respond. My face had turned pale and smile had vanished from my face. But then there are nice bloggers too. They showed me reason and guided me as to why I should not be bothered and do blogging even more aggressively. No wonder, from 5 blogs, my year end blog count was 80 blogs.  Being a person who never cared for perks or promotion (I was fired from my job for traveling too much!), it was difficult for me to respond to the negativity. Gradually, I learned how to take things in my stride and focus on my work. 1 year of professional Blogging taught me what 7 years of Corporate could not!

Jordan was like a Dream Come True!

Another minus point for me was that I also ended up doing some work which I did not believe in or enjoy. It was an experimental year for me. Having tried a lot of things, I am now in a better position to take right decisions and choose only good projects in 2017.

I also gained a lot of weight (20 kgs) in last one year. So from 75 kgs I crossed 95 kgs in one year. Blame the delicious Delhi food, eh! This explains why adventure enthusiast like me didn’t trek or indulge in much of adventure sports this year.

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Frank and we travel bloggers. Gunehar will always be special to me. It was my first professional trip as a travel blogger.

The problem with being an atheist is that you don’t even know whom to thank when good things happen to you. But I am grateful (To whomsoever it may concern). The success has humbled me and motivated me to work harder without compromising on my quality or values. I thank each and every one who made this journey possible. I convey special thanks to my parents for always allowing me to be whatever I want to be. Trust me it is rare to have parents like that! Oscar Speech over!

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I took a Hot Air Ballon ride near Taj Mahal. It was a first for me!

January: All through January, I would open my laptop, write 2 lines, shut it down and sleep all day like a log. This is what happens when you face Delhi winters after spending 7 years in Navi Mumbai. I did manage to attend a heritage walk to Nizamuddin Dargah and Chandni Chowk.

February: Solo Trip to Kila Raipur briefly made me thankful for shifting to Delhi. It was a fun trip. I ran from home; hid in Haridwar for 2 days. No extra clothes, no camera, no luggage.

March: My first professional trip Gunehar in Himachal will always be special to me. Next was attending one of its kind Hola Mohalla festival in Punjab. A heritage walk in Mehrauli Archeological Park was also useful.

April: A road trip to Phagwara & McLeodganj along with a pet dog highlighted April, A heritage walk to Hauz Khas was my last Delhi exploration in 2016.

May: Jordan (7 days) was magical- see my blogs under the Jordan tab and you will know why. Few days in Corbett with lovely company were fun.

June: It was my parents’ wedding anniversary and I took them on a relaxing holiday to Sursingdhar, Rishikesh and Haridwar. I made my father try flying fox and water scooter. A first for him!

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Traveling with parents to offbeat Sursingdhar near Rishikesh was a satisfying experience.

July: I returned to Kanpur after a long time. I grew up in this city and spent good time boating in Bithoor, reliving the old days with Neha, Abhishek and Preeti Dwivedi. Rest of the time was spent in Lucknow.

August: It was my second time in Bhutan. After spending 10 days in Bhutan, I love it even more. It also gave me a perspective as I kept comparing my previous personal trip to the professional trip. A quick trip to offbeat Landour and Mussoorie with parents also turned out well.

September: Mumbai! I waited for this moment for 10 months. I left Mumbai in November end, 2015 and moved to Delhi. This trip was like oxygen! Enough said! It was my first time in Ladakh (16 days). I was invited to cover the Naropa Festival which happens once in 12 years. Next was solo personal trip to Agumbe, Ikkeri, Kaledi, Shimoga, Jog falls in Karnataka. September was definitely my busiest month. Also the most rewarding!

October: M.P tourism invited me for Press trips to Satpura, Bhopal, Pachmarhi. I extended my tyrip to explore Sanchi, Sehore and Bhimbhetka. (7 days) A road trip to Lucknow on Diwali marked the end of October. (I wanted to cover Ayodhya and Faizabad but was too tired, wanted to just chill at home). I cancelled my solo trip to Kolkata because I was too tired of living out of suitcases and backpacks. I cancelled another solo trip to Surat due to professional commitments. It was the first time I went to a railway station with baggage and changed my mind and cancelled the ticket. That happens when you travel too much and neglect other commitments.

November: The year ended with a grand finale. U.P. tourism invited me for an exclusive (open to only 400 people) hot air balloon ride near Taj Mahal. And when I thought this will be my first year (since 2008) without some Goa air, Goa tourism invited me for a press trip. I almost kissed the Goan sand.

December: I had chosen to take a break from travel. A road trip to Lucknow was my only indulgence. By the way, I wrote a whooping 20 blogs in December. My highest for one month in 2016! I hope to keep the momentum high in 2017.

The view from my #SoulWindow is miraculous!

How was your year? Tell me about the places you traveled to and your most rewarding travel experiences of 2016 in the comments section below.

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Wadi Rum was my favorite in Jordan.

Spread the love, share this blog

Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.

Email me for collaboration : abhinav21@yahoo.com

Be a part of my journey on social media. The travel content I create there is different from this blog.

Pls subscribe/follow/like:

You Tube

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.