Vahishta Mistry, a 29-year old marketing professional, had a car, a house, a well paying job and a close circle of friends. Yet, last month, he did something most of us have only dreamed of doing. He upped and left. After selling his possessions, he set out to explore the world. He talks about the the places he visits and the dreams he fulfills.
As I type out these words out, I feel as if I am at the centre of a storm; around me swirl a million loose ends that need to be tied up before I put my life into long term storage, and become a nomad for the next two years. In order to properly understand my story, you need to meet me as I was about a year ago.
Everything about my life could have been summed up in a terse biography much like the ones I read in my marketing job. I was in the words of research analysts everywhere, 29 years old, an SEC A+ urban male. I was single,but not unattached.
I owned my own house, albeit in Navi Mumbai (I counted this as a positive) and I commuted by my small car to work everyday.
I had a mortgage, credit card payments and two cats that made demands on my time, apart from a hectice social life.
Today, the cats are still around, but everything else is gone.
Change crept into my life when I first started hosting couch surfers. David Simon was a young Hungarian ex-banker with a crazy smile and a crazier story. He'd walked from Hungary to Dubai, and then, because he couldn't walk through Afghanistan and Pakistan because of a pesaky war, he was forced to fly to Mumbai. He's now somewhere between China and Japan, still walking.
Stephen ( I never learnt his surname) was an MIT professor. His too, was an interesting story- he is an expert on very large databases, and is routinely called to various companies and technical institutes, to lecture. By intelligently planning his routes ( he is a database nerd, after all) he has visited almost every historically, culturally and otherwise significant place on earth.
I began to see the start contrast between our lives. Mine was empty. I had tried to fill it with a house, car, a 42" television and other gadgets. All my pursuits were driven by an aspiration to fit in. I wasn't discovering anything. Nothing was new. I realized that I wanted, more than anything, to go out and see what was beyond the next block of buildings. I couldn't be satisfied with sitting at a desk any more. Within six months, I sold my house, quit my job and bought some tools- a Canon 60D camera, some lenses and a MacBook Pro. I also bought a back-pack and flight tickets. Along the way, I became a happier person.
Here's what I plan to do over the next 24 months. I will spend some days in England,from where I will head to New York. I will visit San Francisco, camping at national parks along the way. Then I will make my way to Mexico and the famed Copper Canyon Railroad, via Los Angeles. I will travel along the west coast of South America, from Colombia to Argentina and end the year in Brazil in time for the 2014 football world cup. I will camp, hunt and fish in the Rockies and Andes, visit the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and see the Milky Way rising above my tent in the deserts of Utah.
So basically, my initial budget is 10 lakh. I have spent Rs 4.83 lakh buying flight tickets ( Mumbai to Newark, 10-day stop over in the UK was Rs 48,000; LA to Mexico was Rs 20,000; Brazil to Mumbai was Rs 1 lakh), a Canon 60D Camera, a Macbook Pro and back pack and camping gear Rs 80,000). To save money, i will couchsurf, not drink alcohol, eat cheap, camp and travel by bus when possible.
(Source:- Mumbai Mirror- By Vahishta Mistry)