How i started my travel life?
I grew up in Pondicherry - a former french colony of India and Auroville. Traveling has always been my passion. I have been traveling since the age of 10 unconsciously with my parents. When I was in college I was travelled visited lots of places in South India to attend photography and design competitions.
I used to work for a French company in Pondicherry & Auroville as a UI/UX Designer. I worked from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm everyday. After that I would start my second job from 10 PM to 2 AM, stretching sometimes till 4 AM. My dream however was to travel the world so I would normally resort to traveling on the weekends. I would leave my hometown on Friday evening after work, spend two days in some new state and reach office directly on Monday morning. I would utilize the earnings from my second job for my love for traveling and photography, whereas the income from the first job was used to help and support my parents given how much they had spent on my education and even other expenses.
In India, 26 is considered the average age for a guy to get married whereas for a girl it is often low as 21. If you fail to get married by then, you and particularly your family often has to face a brunt of questions posed by the society. People even go to the extent of thinking that something is wrong with such a guy or a girl be it physically or emotionally. I underwent a lot of pressure at the hands of my parents for marriage. They showed me photos of some girls and asked me to choose to marry one of them. My heart couldn’t bare the prospect of getting married to someone I didn’t love or know. I wanted to travel every single country in the world. That was my ambition, my goal, my dream, my everything. For a lot of Indians settling in life is all about graduating, finding a suitable job, getting married and having kids and then the same cycle repeats all over again with their kids. Such a life holds no appeal for me.
I hosted a lot of travellers via Couchsurfing in my home in India. I loved creating a space for travelers and was inspired by their experiences to travel. One day I just knew I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to quit my job and travel. It was certainly not easy to step out of my comfort zone. I used all my savings to travel and ran out of them totally and had to return home and look for freelance opportunities.
My parents constantly compared me with their friends children often pointing out how Mr.X’s son or daughter got placed in an MNC and has therefore made his/her parents proud or happy. My mother felt rather pressure from friends and relatives. They kept pestering her with questions about my marriage and wanted to know what was wrong with me, why I didn’t have a job or wasn’t married! My parents were losing hope and therefore visited an Astrologer who predicted that in order to have a good job, financial success and a good life, I should be married in the coming 6 months. My parents began to pressure me even more. Pictures of different girls were shown on a constant basis. They failed to understand that my heart was just not into marriage. They fixed my marriage date for January 2018. I felt I would rather die than get married to a stranger.
Just a few days later I was hosting tourists from China and Germany. My mum would often yell at me in front of my Couchsurfing friends. Somedays I felt rather upset about it, perhaps even depressed. It led to a point where I didn’t wish to live any longer, I didn’t want to continue with life like this. I walked up to the sea to drown myself. God, it seems had different plans for me. A few people intervened and sent me back home.
The following day I was talking to a friend from Germany who I was hosting. I know your situation, she said. “You want to travel but your parents are pressuring you to get married, you wish to travel but have no money. What if you could travel with me?” I grabbed this opportunity and said Yes. I left home with my camera, laptop, a few clothes and approximately 200 USD. We started travelling across India, I learnt so much from her from lightweight packing, camping or even cooking! Words can’t express how grateful I am to her. Her generosity changed my life.
Eventually her Indian visa expired so she went to Thailand. She suggested I accompany her and I thought to myself “Wow, this would be my first time abroad but I don’t have any money!” She told me that her money was my money and that she would like to share it with me. She helped me buy a ticket, visa and even supported me with the living expenses. When I arrived in Koh Phangan, I found a volunteering opportunity with a awakening and healing school. In fact that’s where I currently am, providing graphic and photography work to survive.