Traveling, the act of going from place to place. It can be such a simple yet magical experience. You hop on a bus, a train or a airplane and within a few hours you’re transported to another microcosm on earth, with it’s own weather conditions, set of people, flora and fauna. With different places to see, be in and do things.
We, as a species have always been travelers first and settlers/farmers later. It was this nomadic nature that allowed Homo Sapiens to evolve and survive over not so fortunate Neanderthals. We can see this in children, who naturally want to explore the world around them. Look at everything in its rawness, taste it, smell it and play with it.
However, by the time we grow up, we end up justify to ourselves that it’s not so easy, there are rules and responsibilities that we must take up in order to survive in this world and fit in. The more I grew up the more I started to think of traveling as a privilege and a luxury.
It’s this fear and scarcity based thinking and in-turn living, accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021, that I’ve been on a journey to transform into an abundance mindset ever since.
🔗 What does traveling mean for You?
What does it mean to travel today? Is it just crossing a checklist of places and countries to visit? Taking pictures of yourself at popular destinations as a badge of accomplishment? Bragging about places you’ve been to at dinner conversations? Or is there something more to it.
For me travelling is stepping out of one’s comfort zone. A journey of self-discovery that starts with an outward physical journey of exploration and discovery. Of meeting new people and discovering new places. Travelling off the beaten path and doing things that you always wanted to do but were too scared to try. Facing your fears and challenges and not looking for convenience everywhere you go.
Travelling can also bring up emotions and feelings that you might not have addressed before in your daily life, it’s easier to distract yourself in a routine, finding excuses to keep on moving or blaming people/circumstances rather than taking some time out to rest and introspect.
While travelling, you invariable face situations out of your control and quickly learn to let go and accept things being out of your control instead of worrying about it at every turn. It is because of these out of your control situations, you get a chance to rest and face your emotions.
🔗 Traveling as a local
You’ve most likely only been exposed to one way of travelling, i.e. “Traveling as the Rich” that’s the most common way of traveling that’s talked about in media, movies and in general. However there’s another approach that I like to describe as “Traveling as a local”
Traveling as local means you don’t see yourself as separate from the place your traveling to, you don’t try to shield your self from the grey and not so pleasant areas of a place. You embrace the people, the language, the food, the culture and the beauty but also the issues of the area and it’s inhabitants.
Some of the simplest ways of doing so is by staying at a place for a longer period of time than your normal hit-and-run travels/weekend gateways, letting you stay in guesthouses and hostels or even rent an apartment, eating where the locals eat, talking to the locals and traveling as the locals do.
Travelling by not planning every detail but giving yourself the time and space to be in the flow, go where you feel and are called to. Avoid the tourist traps and places, it’s good to visit them if you have the time but don’t make them the main agenda of your travels. Checkout the natural beauty of a place, hang out where the local hangout and experience some of the local culture, their art, music, theater and museums.
This is how I was able to connect and resonate with a lot of places and it’s people as well as get a sense of the history and the economy of the place.
When traveling and living as a local, how do you sustain your lifestyle? Many locals are able to live and stay at a place for years by working location-dependent jobs. However, just because you are traveling as a local, does it mean your only option is to work as a local?
There are various lifestyles that can lets you travel and work across the global, known as location-independent jobs.
- Digital nomad or remote worker
- Gig worker
- Travelling skilled worker
It’s up to you to find and create your perfect lifestyle, just know that there’s no one way or an only way to do it.
🔗 Digital Nomadism
I have been living and working as a Digital Nomad for over two years now.
A Digital Nomad is someone who works remotely via the internet and travels freely across jurisdictions and geographies. Being a digital nomad, you get to leverage things like Longitudinal Arbitrage, Flag Theory and Individual Sovereignty.
For me it’s been a progressive journey from having my first remote job, to embracing the digital nomad lifestyle and then eventually building companies and owning assets across jurisdictions. I have utilised multiple tools on my path so far including Estonia’s E-Residency, cryptocurrencies and of course SaaS platforms and tools.
There’re various perks of the nomadic life:
- Working from café’s with views and vibes
- Living in communities and communes where there’s a stronger sense of connection outside of work like Auroville, The Bergerac Praxis Hub, startup hubs like Bangalore and Lisbon, etc
- Purchasing power arbitrage of earning in USD and living and spending in places with a much lower cost of living like Thailand, India or others via nomadlist
However it’s quite important to have a balance between remote work and social-life balance and as well as getting to know your teammate via gatherings and team retreats.
🔗 My Experience
My first impetus for travelling was to get out of the feeling of suffocation and choking, quite literally. Living and working remotely from Delhi, I developed a severe allergic reaction to air pollution causing me to fall sick every few months with a progressively deteriorating effect on my immunity and mental health. I was stuck in a prison of my own making, further exaggerated by the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The first solo travelling trip was a huge step out of my comfort zone and to start socializing despite my crippling social anxiety and insecurities around being alone.
Breaking my fear of not fitting in and always being seen as an outcast or weird person was easier when I met people on my travels who were equally unique and different and seemed to embrace their uniqueness, at least to a greater level than me and anyone else I had met before.
Once I had a taste and the confidence to travel alone without any paranoia or limiting beliefs, my main motivation for traveling became a quest of finding people like me who were also on a existential journey of their own.
I went to places that had always called out to me the most but I was too scared to go, not sure of the logistics, the people, culture, etc.
I visited the Osho Meditation resort in Pune first, not knowing what I was getting into. However that was a quite normalizing experience. Nothing remarkable, controversial or mindblowing happened but just being in an environment where people were freely talking and practising mediation and spirituality made it so much more easier for me to accept that part of me and go deeper into my own practise.
Not long after completing my first heart-led trip that led to the expansion and growth of my inner journey, I soon found what I was looking for. An encounter with a group of people I couldn’t have ever expected to meet. The level of connection and bond we ended up creating and having is now a lifelong bond.
We ended up traveling together to quite a few places but also stayed over at one city for more that seven months just because of this group of people that became my friends, business partners, mentors and fellow travellers and pilgrims on our individual inner journeys.
The most interesting part of traveling is the people you meet. Traveling, meeting and talking to people really helps you widen your mindset, break out of your comfort zone and develop social and conversational skills.
All in a low stakes environment, if you mess up there’s no risk of “destroying your reputation”, which is an irrational fear, that at least I had growing up. Of saying something that is not socially accepted or you’re not good at and then regret being made fun of because of something you said casually. That’s the great thing about traveling, you’re always temporal in space, naturally making you de-attached to places, people and expectations.
While traveling you meet and come across people of varied interest and personalities. As well as people in various kinds of relationships and degrees of being in love. My own definition of what is love has evolved so much over the years. No longer do I see it with the same lens that I used to, nor have a fixed idea of what an “ideal” relationship looks like.
Traveling let’s you really figure out what is it that you really want with yourself and in a potential partner. Solo travelling is also a great way to really be with the feeling of being alone and not always find ways of running away from it. When I accepted the fact of being alone, I also started seeing the positive aspects of being alone, starting to enjoy my own company, taking things slow, setting my own schedule, finding independence and capacity of handing things on my own. Understanding and acknowledging my needs as well as recognising what are some of my own gifts and abilities that I can use to fulfill someones needs.
What I’ve found is when I’m capable of being joyful in aloneness, I am able to share that joy with other fellow solo travellers and pilgrims.