[Travel Series] The beginning of my wanderlust journeyRicardo Stephens
It’s been just 2 weeks I left the mountains and it already feels like ages have passed by! The winds of winter feel ancient and the word ‘Himalayas’ sound more of geography theory than a feeling.
Readers, if you are wondering as to what the above statement refers to, well it is about my recent travel fellowship program with a Bengaluru based travel hostel – AAO Hostels. It was a 15 day journey where I backpacked to the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand wandering, wondering and doing what I love to do – travel, with all my heart and soul.
I am a firm believer of the Murphy’s Law which states that,” Whatever has to happen will happen.” It was in the month of April 2017 I decided to quit my Engineering job in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh as a mechanical engineer and focus on my passion for travel and photography. I must say it took quite a lot of courage and resilience to take this decision owing to the fact as to how my parents, friends and family would react. Clueless of what destiny had in store for me, I settled down in my hometown Nagpur for the time being, at peace, planning how I can earn, travel and click for a living. One night, while going through one of my dormant mailboxes, my eyes caught hold of an email sent to me by my close friend, Nirav. It was regarding a travel fellowship program wherein I get to travel places on an all expenses covered basis. As the email scrolled down, my interests started going up and I eventually ended filling up the form. After going through the document keenly, my mind sparkled upon the fact that I was going to backpack, that too solo, that too for the first time in my life.
Backpacking had always been the dream but going on a solo journey was altogether another level, that is what interested and motivated me to fill up the registration link, and the rest as you know is history.
Days after filling the form, life became a bit impatient and tuff. My savings were now on duty and I was desperate enough to bring in something new, may be a breakthrough in the art of photography that would help me fetch some bucks to travel and wander. And then a few days later, I got a call, confirming my selection for the travel fellowship program. It was simply a sign from the universe that something strong and good is in line for me. From that day onwards, I could see a road in front of me, clarifying my plans and most important giving me a start I had never dreamt off. This new beginning rejuvenated my travel goals and lightened up my spirit to get wanderlust, once again, solo backpacker style.
No sooner did the confirmation call day go by and I felt I was already onboard for the journey, not just with the hostel team but also with 7 amazing people from across the nation, one of my kind, who share the same cup of tea and who believe in travelling and not touring. Planning was already on the go, every day one new update rolled through and then the day came when I got the answer to one of the topics that kept me curious – my travel map. Well, I don’t feel I need drum rolls anymore, it was Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand or I must say the places that I have always had close to my heart since childhood. My family, friends and followers are very well aware of my love for the Mountains. I was simply soaring high, planning places, dreaming of experiences and much more. 15 days in the mountains have always been the dream of a backpacker and the travel fellowship just made it come true for me.
Now, most of us are aware of a famous saying, an unplanned journey is the best one.” Well, I beg to differ in the case of backpacking to the mountains. In my past journeys, I have travelled completely hippie style without considering facts and plans and have faced the consequences at times but after working with the planning and logistics part in AAO Hostels, I was already feeling the need to do travelling, pro-style. In addition, as I said earlier, planning is necessary, it helps you time-box your journey, maintain your funds and most important, helps you wander more and wander often.
Working for the first time, as a professional traveler was a bit tough but interesting. Tough because I had constraints with budget, deadlines and advance planning, yet interesting because the bunch of people I was working with day and night were totally amazing, talented and helpful. I had never known the importance of planning until these pre-fellowship days.
Well, before I get down to the travel places and experiences of my journey in my next blog, I wished to relive my pre-journey with the travel fellowship team and celebrate this happiness called Travelling. And as a wise man once said that the more we share happiness, the more we receive it. Today, I wish to share a bag full of happiness with you all in the form of an opportunity, an opportunity to learn, grow, travel and live life on Aaosome mode. Therefore folks, before I begin to pen down my entire journey in my upcoming blogs
This travel post is a part of the Aao fellowship travel series.