Communications professional SENJAM RAJ SEKHAR on switching over to travel
My earliest memory of childhood is that of a journey. My dad had been transferred from Shillong to Along, a town in far eastern Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border. The entire family took a three days grand excursion by bus, boat and train across the Khasi Hills, Brahmaputra plains, the eastern Himalayas and several rivers including the mighty Brahmaputra and the Siang. I was around two years at that time.
The idea of travel has always fascinated me. Over years, I have travelled on the roof of a boat on the Tonle Sap lake, camped with fireflies in Chitwan, dined at the faux Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca and pub hopped at Inverness. However, the end of every holiday left me feeling incomplete and insatiated. Maybe it is do with the rush of a short holiday. The need to pack in as many as things to do and sights to see makes a vacation so exhausting.
For several years, I have wanted to indulge in slow and perpetual travel. To wander around without any fixed itineraries, explore countries, soak in local culture and cuisine and meet people & see places at leisure. It has been a pipe dream for more than a decade.
The obstacles were the obvious ones. How do you financially sustain long term travel? How can you quit your job at the peak of your career? Will you find work after you return? What will your colleague, friends and relatives say? These and many other doubts have always reigned supreme over my dreams and passion.
Our epiphany happened last year. My wife and I had a bonny baby boy in October 2012. The only window that we had for travelling was been 2013 and 2015, after Raiyaan turned one and before he starts schooling. It was a tough decision to travel with a one year old baby but we decided to take the plunge anyway. After all, how many times can you look back and say you have truly followed your dreams.
The good part is that we are debt free and have some savings. While we do not have a fixed itinerary, the plan is to start in South Asia, move towards South East Asia and eventually cover Europe and South America.
It is not going to be a holiday. We are embracing travel as a lifestyle. The idea is to avoid hotels and stay in houses on short term rentals and breathe in the place, the culture and its people. This will also be for us also a gastronomical journey as we hope to discover new cuisines, taste and smells.
It is going to be one incredible adventure. Wish us luck!