2015: A year of many ‘Firsts’

While spending 1st day of the year strolling around the beaches of Pondicherry little did I know ‘2015’ would turn out to be ‘Travel’ focused. Or so, I’d like to put it. Because, on second thoughts it was much more. It was about having a lot of me-time, which is becoming a luxury these days. It was about taking chances. With extensive research, planning and a few thought-out decisions, I managed to do things I hadn’t done before. Here are five of the major ones, in chronological order:

First resignation letter (e-mail)

Quitting the full-time job was on my mind for quite some time (a year actually) but I was clueless what I would do once I am out of the cubicle. On some days, I could think of too many options to choose from, while at other instances there was absolutely nothing to look forward. Four months into the year, I had decided to leave the corporate world behind. 60 more days of ‘Notice period’ and I was finally out.

It’s not as convenient as it sounds, but if your circumstances allow, I urge you to leave that desk for once in your life, especially if you’re spending more than 8 hours a day in there. It can’t get worse and you can always go back if it does.

Also read: Thoughts after a month of leaving the desk job to travel.

Vagator beach, Goa
At Vagator beach, Goa

First full-fledged trek

An itch to challenge my body and mind was one of the reasons to sign up for a beginners’ trek in the Himalayas. I also wanted to try travelling in a group with strangers before stepping out on a solo sojourn. That’s how the ‘Valley of flowers’ trek happened. Considered one of the easier trails, I actually found it hard. Yet again, came the realization of being physically unfit. This time though, it gave me a strong reason to work on my body, a sense of determination, a few new friends and a different kind of love for the mountains – one that leaves you asking for more.

Also read: ‘Valley of flowers’ Trek – A brief account of six days

Valley of Flowers National park
Valley of Flowers National park

First solo trip

August arrived with the much awaited journey, one that will always remain special. I took a morning flight from Delhi to Kochi and spent the next 10 days wandering around south Kerala, my first tryst with the state all by myself. Getting anxious and losing sleep was as much a part as meeting lovely hosts, taking public transport and exploring new destinations. I learnt to enjoy my own company as well as that of strangers. I was even stalked by a local in ‘Kochi’, got food poisoning in ‘Varkala’ and a severe ear pain on return journey but all that made it even more unforgettable.

Varkala beach
Varkala beach

First paid freelance assignment

For someone who has studied finance, accounting, and management, getting paid for travel writing or managing social media was quite a big deal. It felt great to explore my interests and test the limits – ones that don’t really exist but we are told they do. After all, what’s better than doing something you actually like and being recognized for that!

First time out of India

From what I’ve heard lately, 27 is too late an age to leave your country for the first time. Guess what, I don’t care! I left India to visit Bhutan for twelve days. The language was not much of a barrier, the currency was not really exchanged, my passport was not stamped and I didn’t even hop on an airplane but it was wonderful. It was an experience in itself, something I’ll cherish for long. The ancient monasteries, remote villages, picturesque valleys, kind locals and spicy food made the journey worthwhile.

Also read: “Happiness is a state of mind”: Lessons from Bhutan

Taktsang Monastery Hike, Paro
Paro, during the Taktsang Monastery hike

The year ended with a few achieved goals and a lot of new ones to dream of, to work towards. Not all of them limited to travel.
How did your ‘2015’ go? Tried something new or overcame any challenges?

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© 2016, Swati. All rights reserved.

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