When I was young my parents used to take me to Tirupati; a famous shrine in the south belonging to Lord Vishnu popularly known as Lord Venkateshwara. I used to like going to that place as we used to stay in Dehradun and that was the only opportunity to venture out from my lovely town and see the world outside.
At that time we didn’t have much money to spend extravagantly and we used to cut our costs everywhere. We used to travel in sleeper class in railway, take an ordinary bus, eat from local vendors and take cheap accommodations. We even slept at railways stations, bus stands and roadside at Tirupati and Tirumala hills to save on money.
Those things taught me to be adjusting to every kind of situation. We used to walk upto the hill and have darshan of the Lord and wait for long hours in a queue before we had our turn to see the Lord. This taught me patience to wait and gave me stamina to walk. When I travel, I can sleep anytime anywhere be it bus, train or roadside in scorching heat when other people need a comfortable mattress.
So with this background my travel shaped up and those days it used to take a lot of time from Delhi to Tirupati by train. I used to browse through the railway timetable booklet published by Indian Railways every year which my father used to keep for railway timings as internet was not yet popular back then. At the back pages of the timetable there was a special section which used to list out few popular tourist spots and every year it had a theme like pilgrimage, hill stations etc. That used to be my favourite section. I used to go to my father and say why we keep going to same place every year. I want to see other places as well. He used to shut me up and say that after you get married go with your husband. So that was the end of it.
But my interest and curiosity never died. I kept wishing that a time would come when I would explore the length and breadth of India. And as it is said, if you wish something truly from your heart, the universe conspires to make it happen. I went out of Dehradun for studies and then bit by bit, I tried to ask my friends to travel and that time the travel was just on plans but not in reality; though still I managed a few. At this moment I realized I have two constraints, one is that I am a girl so I had permission and safety issues and second was that of money as we are dependent on out parents while we are studying.
So after I completed my studies and got a job in Delhi, one of the issues got sorted out: the issue of money. Though I don’t have a handsome salary but my passion for travel doesn’t let that be a constraint. But the first issue still remained. The first issue I sorted out by taking a risk and venturing out alone. Why alone? I have seen most people are happy when you make plans for travel but when it comes to materializing those plans, they back out due to number of reasons. So I gave up the thought that my friends would join me.
Today I have come very far and now I am known as a vagabond. This happened due to two reasons. One; when I turned 25 and was just about to complete my one year at my first job; I took a vow that I will travel, no matter what. I started putting my target destination on paper and went to that destination even when I had many challenges like the approval of my father, leaves from office and friends backing out. Yes, I was afraid to venture out alone but still I wanted to do it. It is just that first time when you do it when you are scared. But once you do it, you become addicted to it. And so I decided to go to Leh alone. But as God knew I needed a bit of company he linked me to a girl online who was also planning to travel and her friends backed out. After that trip my fears were gone and I became more confident.
Two; through a friend I came to know about meetup.com. I joined travel groups to find company. I had left my job in January 2013 and was free without any goal. It was then that I ventured out among strangers who all were in that group as they wanted to travel but didn’t have company. So this was a blessing and then there was no turning back. Now I hope that I keep travelling all my life and capture the places in my lens and cherish them forever. When I have come so far in realizing my dreams, the thing I learnt is that we just have to take that one step towards your dreams and the rest pieces fall in place to make them happen. Today I earn less than what my colleagues do and have no assets or savings but I am totally satisfied and at peace with myself because everyone can earn money but not dreams!