I was once stranded in a pitch dark in a remote village of Gujarat. For hours no vehicle stopped for me.
There was nowhere to stay and I was carrying an expensive camera and lenses.
But how did I get out of this situation? I’ll get to that.
Travel Saved My Life (Literally!)
A personal tragedy in 2007 changed my entire attitude towards life. I didn’t want a career, money, name or fame. I was just dragging on and had a suicidal tendency for 7 years. Travel saved my life and gave me a purpose!
In October 2014, I was fired from my 7 years of the corporate job for travelling too much. Once I was fired, I slipped into depression for days on end. For 1 year, I did nothing but sit at my rented chawl in Navi Mumbai and appear in job interviews half-heartedly and tried to understand travel blogging. The day I sung a travel song written by me to the HR VP during an interview in a financial firm, I realized that I had to do something in the travel field.
Just a year later, I used a big chunk of my savings and booked Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal. It is still one of my finest travel experiences. I have enjoyed adventure sports like white water rafting, high altitude treks, zip lining etc.
Traveling just happened to me. The first time I traveled solo in 2010, I was still going through the aftermath of a personal tragedy. When I finally did my first solo trip successfully, it liberated me and made me crave for more. Here has been no looking back ever since.
I think travel chose me and not otherwise! Travel saved my life and made me want to live again!
Rescue Came From Unexpected Place
Coming back to the situation I was in. Just as I left the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in rural Gujarat, I realized there was no public transport. I had arrived in the daytime when public transport was easily available. However, it soon turned dark. For hours no vehicle stopped for me. There was nowhere to stay and I was carrying an expensive camera and lenses. Only a few men and dogs were around me whom I could not see due to darkness.
I was suspecting harm from them which luckily didn’t happen. I stayed calm and asked lift to vehicles which passed by, which were few and far between. Just when I started to panic, a good Samaritan gave me lift till the next big city Ahmedabad. Had he not rescued me after a long wait, I would have been in a serious trouble.
(Quite Literally,) Hooked On To The Trek
Though I have been traveling since 2008, I had never trekked until 2012 when I completed Bhimashankar monsoon trek in Maharashtra successfully. I was hooked for life and many treks to craggy mountain forts of Sahyadris in Maharashtra followed. The most dangerous ones were Dhak Bahiri trek and night trek to Harihar fort.
During Dhak Bahiri trek, I was literally hanging from a rock with no safety harness. One mistake and I would find myself in the deep valley. I do not recommend others to do it without supervision and safety. In May 2013, I did my first high altitude trek to Roopkund lake in the Himalayas.
In all my journeys, the only thing that keeps me going is my independence and the sheer passion for travel. I am my own boss here!
Most Helpful Tips To Travel On A Budget From My Experience
Often while booking flights always search in incognito mode, you will see a drop in fare. Apps such as Treebo help in finding affordable stay and a promise of cleanliness. Eating from the streets and taking public transport also helps in saving money big time.
Obviously, everything we do comes with pros and cons. So is the case with travel.
You feel great when your experiences are read by thousands and if you are good, then even millions. You get some very exclusive opportunities such as meeting with celebrities and invite to exclusive events such as Naropa Festival in Ladakh.
On the other hand, there could be many difficulties that you might face. The biggest one if the money. The first year of blogging I earned next to nothing. Even when you are established, be prepared for dry months. It takes a lot of hard work, talent, and dedication to make it work in blogging. Professional blogging is tougher than a regular desk job.
A City I Can’t Get Enough Of
Mumbai is one city I can never get enough of. I have lived in 8 cities so far but when I left Mumbai after living for 7 years, my heart broke. That was the only time I cried while leaving a city. Only Mumbai has that kind of power. As they say, Mumbai is not a city, it is an emotion. Every thing from people to food to festivals to rituals to the stories lurking in the corners is sheer magic. I hope I can return someday!
How I Manage My Money With So Much Travel
I live a simple life, so I luckily had good savings to last for 2 years. I also did birthday shoots, pre-wedding shoots for a fee as low as Rs. 3,000 a day to keep the kitchen running. I didn’t enjoy it but I wanted to make it on my own. I shifted from my ‘sea facing posh apartment’ to a chawl to save cost. I stopped partying and going to movies. I brought down my monthly expense to around INR 7,000. I have not touched alcohol for 2 years now. These small and big sacrifices taught me the importance of money and myriad other life lessons.
Important Financial Advice To Those Wanting To Take Up Blogging
While blogging, it is wise to put the eggs in different baskets. Diversification is the key to survive and thrive in blogging. I get paid to post sponsored content on my website and social media channels. I also earn by submitting stories and pictures to print magazines, newspapers and online media portals.
Travel workshops, Video making, speaker sessions, brand collaborations, leading photo walks are some other exciting ways to earn money. That said, you will get good assignments only if you are talented and can deliver. It requires you to be very hard working, disciplined and deft at multitasking.
Travel with Abhinav on his journey in his blog, asoulwindow, or follow him on his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.