Quitting My Job to Travel: From Wall Street to Wanderlust
“You don’t ever go home, do you?” asked my colleague sarcastically.
“I do, but not that often. I like going to unfamiliar places. That is my idea of a vacation,” I replied.
In the long conversation that ensued, I did not know how to explain to my colleague why I kept wandering from place to place as soon as I got the chance. I could not find the words to explain the familiar yearning I have for unfamiliar places, where roads have no names and eyes are forever curious.
Even as a child, I never really felt rooted to the place where I grew up. Each time I returned home, I could not wait to get back on the roads again. The serenity that I found in the arms of the Himalayas or the camaraderie I found with strangers in small cafés of London are sensations that are hard to explain to anyone, let alone someone for whom going home is like a pilgrimage.
A decade back, armed with a degree in marketing, like everyone else, I got my start in the corporate world. I headed to the financial sector due to peer pressure rather than choice, yet I did enjoy my work. But, even while climbing the corporate ladder from an analyst to a manager, there was always something more that I was searching for. The perks of sticking it out in the Wall Street job were twofold: money and travel. I received ample opportunities to journey to places I had never been before, both for business as well as personal wanderlust. And each time I returned, I made sure to book tickets to the next destination on the list.
As soon as I returned to my job, I put in my resignation, not really knowing what I would do next. I spent a year trying to figure out some direction for my life with my spiritual mentor, all the while looking at pictures of enchanting landscapes in the magazine glossies.
I made the decision to quit my job while at the Osho International Ashram in Pune. While strolling along the tree-lined cobbled road on campus, an elderly gentleman came up from behind, walked with me for a few minutes, spoke a single sentence and then walked away, leaving me speechless as I stared at his thinning form at the end of the road. I reflected on what he had just said, “Log jeene ki aarzoo mein mare jaa rahe hain, aur hum marne ki aarzoo mein jiye jaa rahe hain.” Loosely translated, that means, “Waiting for life to happen, people die each day, and waiting for death to come, I live each day.”
As soon as I returned to my job, I put in my resignation, not really knowing what I would do next. I spent a year trying to figure out some direction for my life with my spiritual mentor, all the while looking at pictures of enchanting landscapes in the magazine glossies. They enticed me, called to me. Then one day while sitting in a café with a friend, I told her, “I finally know what I want to do. I love writing, and I love travelling. So why not combine the two?” She agreed.
Quitting My Job to Travel: From Wall Street to Wanderlust.
Again, clueless on where to start, I turned to the web and found a course on travel writing offered by MatadorU. Within a week, I enrolled in it and was on my way to tackling lessons and assignments. I received immense guidance and valuable constructive feedback on my writing style from the faculty and a treasure trove of resources, networks and guidance on inching my way into this world that has forever held my attention.
From that day on, there has been no looking back, and today I realize that travel and writing are not only passions but also food for my soul.
Photo credit for Quitting My Job to Travel: From Wall Street to Wanderlust by Unsplash.com and Tanya Raj.