An insider’s perspective: 6 months of being a digital nomad

 

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Finding new wings in the lap of Himalayas

This year is over! Well, almost. 6 months into 2016, I have no idea where did time fly by. Wherever it went, it’s been an eventful half-year and a hell of a ride.Last month, my blog also completed 2 years of its existence and it’s been a remarkable feat all over. As I sat by my window-sill this morning, to take a stock of my daily to-dos, I realized that this month also marks a half-yearly anniversary of my life’s biggest adventure. And adventures come to those who dare. So I did, and eventually it turned to be a roller coaster ride! Lessons were learnt (some come by on a daily basis, even now),  friends were made. I kept my feet on unknown lands, met interesting people and achieved a few milestones in my professional travel writing career. I also realized a few interesting things about the road, I have decided to walk on, as my parents, friends and well-wishers wondered, some times in awe, at times in stress, thoroughly confused on where I was headed or what insanity made me quit a successful corporate job. This is my attempt to jot down some of my thoughts through this journey, my dreams and in the end my adventures.

On quitting a successful corporate ladder: This one came as a total surprise, even to me. Over the last 6 months, I truly realized the reason why I wanted to quit my successful corporate communications background. I wasn’t bored. I was extremely happy in my job, I was achieving feat on feat but something kept bothering me. It wasn’t a nagging boss or jealous co-workers. It wasn’t even any of those articles floating on the internet “Why I quit my job to travel!” I quit because I realized I wanted to travel and I wanted to write more often. As luck would have it, I had given up my chance for pursuing journalism for a major in advertising on my mother’s guidance. However, the itch to write always persisted and this decision turned me on my path towards soothing that itch once again!

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Finding a new home.. a home that exists everywhere

On traveling: This one was a complete eye-opener. At first, the flexibility and realization, that I had earned my wings was so overwhelming that I traveled for first three months back-to-back. I traversed through the Himalayas of Bhutan, explored the lesser known trails of two cities in my backyard (Mumbai and Pune), hiked to the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya and eventually booked a date with the Rhinos of Kaziranga in Himalayas. I lived with locals, met some curious and interesting people (some have turned out to be awesome friends! 🙂 ) ate super alien food, clicked pictures to my heart’s content and emptied more than half of my savings.Once I returned home, uh-0h, life handed me over a surprise again. Things looked outright gloomy and scary. The feeling “I might have made my biggest mistake, closed on me!”

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Travel to see the world and in turn, let the world see you…

Finding the Ying-Yang balance: Once I returned from Assam, I came back home to the news that my partner’s mother had to be taken for a serious surgery. I love my partner, I love mom and I love my whole family. But this love meant a barter. The moment had come to barter my love and support for theirs. They needed me and I had to be at home for them. As I type this, sitting at my newly rented apartment, I am happy that I took the decision to stay back home. Now, I am mostly at home, tending to our mom, doing things which I hate (Cooking, I mean!),  taking care of her diet regimen, exercise schedules, etc. I am stuck to  my rented apartment for the next two months, hoping I would be able to make up for my lost time, sooner than later! After all, we can achieve anything at anytime, but family once lost, will never come back.

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Setting up a new home

Making things work : These six months of my life have given me more than they have taken anything from me. Yes, moments of pain, despair and tears come repeatedly. But thankfully, the universe has been very kind to me. More than that, I am grateful to my colleagues, who have grown to be an intricate fabric of my life. Colleagues at my previous organization (Text100), mentors from my profession who have supported my dream of “Living life on my terms.” If they wouldn’t have reached out to my in these 6 months, I wouldn’t have perhaps bagged a year of freelancing PR assignments, keeping my wallet full. My friends at Happy Traveling Girl  have kept me busy, challenging me to create solutions for ‘safe women travel in India.’ Another mentor of mine approached me for helping her out with a community project called ‘The Mountain People.’ I have been roped in by ‘The Folk Tales- Travel into Rural India‘ to be their brand ambassador as well!

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If no road is available, make a way of your own

Finding like-minded people- More than anything, if there is something that has worked for me, is to have stumbled upon some close networks of girls, a group of like-minded at Globetrotting friends, Digital Nomad Girls,  a community of travel writers  at The Travel Correspondent/Bloggers on Facebook.Connecting with like-minded people and perhaps some of them who are in a similar boat/struggle as I have, I have come to learn the art of making things work. These people have helped me grow, learn and apply my learning to my experiences, by indulging in healthy conversations and debates. Some of the senior members in these groups have inspired me to stretch myself, dig my brains for better ideas, travel to offbeat places and hone my writing skills! I can’t thank my stars enough for having met the right dose of inspiring people in these last 6 months. 🙂

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Journeys are not only about destinations, they are also about people too. Your co-travelers too!

On writing- While my travels have been restricted to the first three months out of six, my writing has been consistent (thankfully!) and something that has kept me going. In fact, if there is one department which has worked really well and been a key highlight of my journey, it has been my writing. As I jot this down, my first print article has been published in JetWings, an in-flight magazine of Jet Airways, umpteen articles published online and my blog has received a fair amount of recognition. I am keeping myself busy, reading different travel blogs, approaching magazines and online editors with possible story pitches. I have had travel brands and companies approaching me and hopefully, it will be *onward and upwards* from here. *Touchwood.*

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Writing in the jungles of Meghalaya

On happiness, Of highs and Lows- My health has been one areas of concern. While I traveled, I have kept hearty and hale. However, being at home, has casted grey skies on my health and it is pretty much visible. I am back to having sleepless nights, tired mornings. But somewhere down the grey skies, I am able to look at the silver lining. I have had some of my best highs and lows during this period. But as someone has said, “The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn!” And I am listening to it.

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Visiting Sabarmati Aashram and learning from the father of the nation

Turning a new leaf- As we enter into the second phase of the year and everything at home starts to return to normal, I am figuring out my travels to different places. I have one trip firming in October. And I have two shaping up, atleast in my mind- One in September and the second in December. One of them would be international, I am hoping 🙂

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As, I try to do that, You! If  you have recommendations for offbeat destinations, or are a travel company interested in hosting me, please get in touch at deepikagumaste88@gmail.com

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13 thoughts on “An insider’s perspective: 6 months of being a digital nomad

  1. Whoa! Wonderful journey there Deepika! 🙂 Quite a roller coaster ride from quitting your job, facing your fears and doubts and welcoming opportunities! Was lovely reading this!
    Way to go, girl!

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  2. You know what.. . persistent people are the ones who reach finishing line… only there is no finishing line in travel.. only new journeys to undertake, keep expanding your horizons… keep traveling and keep spreading your wings…. …

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    • Thanks Akanksha.. Had a lot of people approaching me with messages and emails saying “You are so lucky”, “you are so inspirational.” Thought penning down these thoughts made sense 🙂

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  3. Very interesting read Deepika. Even I had that low moment 4 month after leaving job when my bank balance was dangerously low. I am happy that you are being consistent because it will fetch you what you want – it is only a matter of time 🙂 If you made it this far, then you are destined to go further.

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