The Vagabond situation

"So what do you do?"

 I travel full time...

"No, No what is your PROFESSION ? What do you do for a LIVING?"

Well all I do pretty much is  travel ... 

"Ok Ok who do you travel with ? A bunch of friends?"

No.

"Do you mean to say that you travel alone?" , eyeing me up as if I might be a potential rapist or axe murderer.

After digesting that information comes another beauty.

"But you CAN'T travel full time!", as if I've just defied the laws of gravity.

Oops, I forgot again, full time travel/enjoying life to the hilt/doing what you really want to do is against the Indian law !

This is a conversation I have every day when I travel in India. 3 times a day at the very least !!! Yes folks,  like a bitter pill to be taken after every meal ! Travelling full time is considered by some in this country as worse than being a drunkard, philanderer, and adulterer all rolled into one. A thousand times worse! A good friend asked me the question recently, ‘Why bother? Is it really worth the sneers, criticisms and free advice that you have to hear on a daily basis?' Yes, my friend it is… and then some :)

I’m chilling out right now in a city Mark Twain once famously described as older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together ! My temporary abode is  a hostel frequented by the odd mix of backpackers, college kids, vagabonds ,etc. The critic Arthur Compton-Rickett defined vagabonds as men "with a vagrant strain in the blood, a natural inquisitiveness about the world beyond their doors."

In the hostel I've had conversations with the well educated, ‘well settled’ young Indians who are kind of a little bit in awe, in envy of the vagabond situation. This is something new for me, adulation from my own countrymen! For many of them, especially the affluent guys, it’s an attainable dream to travel for an extended period since they can afford it, yet the time factor plays spoilsport. I met quite a few students from Mumbai in the hostel who stopped short of waving aarti to me for doing what I do. At least some of them found the vagabond situation incredibly cool.


To walk away from the crowd...

So you have guys who despise you, who think that you should be put behind bars or at the very least be committed in a lunatic asylum. Then there are others who think that you are Mr. Cool living ‘the life’ with no responsibilities no deadlines, no work…

The truth lies somewhere in between. Travelling alone, living alone, sleeping alone, takes some getting used to for most people. You have to be your own best friend, love your company and be able to laugh at your own jokes since often there won’t be people around to laugh at them. I've always been an introvert and am OK with this. Yet there are days, I have to admit, that you feel the need for a little companionship just like the guy in the city sometimes wishes for solitude.

I’m not doing this as a rebellion, as a statement against the system or anything. It’s because I love nature, travelling to unseen places and meeting people (once in a while !). I learn from my travels just like you learn stuff at work (or at least you're supposed to !) and for me its fun! I try to be not too bothered when the shit hits the fan as it often does, when things don’t work out even remotely as you planned them.


With a companion on the way


 I started travelling when I realized that my life was going to be short. Not just mine but yours as well. We will all be gone in a blip. Why work my ass off and save money I will never use ? Why to buy a house and pay mortgage for the rest of my life? Why live in a polluted city whne the mountains constantly beckon? Why ? Why ? Why ? I thought hard about these things,  found the answers and hence I decided to hit the road, to do what I thought was important. 

If you think that being in the corporate world and working your ass off is your thing and that you would do it even if you got paid zilch, I’d say go for it full steam ahead. That’s a good test. If money was no concern would you still be doing the thing you’re doing now ? If maintaining status and facing uncomfortable questions were no longer an issue would you still be doing the thing you’re doing now? Maybe if you really think about it,sweeping the road is your passion but you're afraid to do it because people may ridicule you. I thought about all these and more for quite some time before I decided to take the leap… 

So as S and a lot of others have been asking what the hell do I do the whole day? It may surprise many of you that I get up quite early for yoga and a bit of meditation. I read for sometime then maybe head out for local explorations. So its not about sleeping late and just lying around in a hammock all day ok? Everything is done because I love doing it. 

But I do chill! The wise call it laziness. I don’t feel the need to compulsively work just because 99% of homo sapiens believe so. I’m not living off my parent’s money or anything earned through the hawala route. It’s all been earned by the sweat of my brow (not literally of course!). Work is not just something you do for money. Well, if you look at things that way, getting your ass off bed in the morning is work. Cooking and cleaning is work. Meditation is work. The hardest work is to just sit still, be content in not doing anything, allowing the world to just be as it is…that way I'm a workaholic.

18 comments:

  1. Your life really does sound like a dream and a life I'd really enjoy living.

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  2. I just loved every bit of this post! You are a philosopher, a traveler,a travel-writer and a rebel, all rolled into one! that's great. I agree that the life is short and travelling gives the much needed adventure and kick that no corporate job or the company of pals and relatives can give you! Most people are concerned only with earning, marriage and jobs etc., they actually live with a myopic view of life. It takes loads of guts to live life like this, travel alone to distant places that too on your own money

    Have you heard about a girl called Shivya Nath, she is another awesome vagabond :)

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  3. I love your situation, man! People are just jealous of you, so don't bother with what they have to say. Society and responsibilities are just their excuses really. What they don't have is the courage and the passion to go after what they really want.

    You are one cool Ex moustache wearer vaga bond!

    Yea I randomly brought up the moustache. Haha.

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  4. And "Travelling alone, living alone, sleeping alone, takes some getting used to for most people. You have to be your own best friend, love your company and be able to laugh at your own jokes since often there won’t be people around to laugh at them. I've always been an introvert and am OK with this. Yet there are days, I have to admit, that you feel the need for a little companionship just like the guy in the city sometimes wishes for solitude."

    TOTALLY AGREE AND EMPATHISE

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  5. Wow! I was hooked to this...
    I totally agree with you... This is your passion,.. and you feel like you are doing the right thing... So does the workaholics... They think they are doing the right thing too... In India, being/living alone is indeed considered a taboo. May be, it will change. May be it will not... But, as long as you are living your life the way you want, nothing is wrong!

    Live life king size!

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  6. Envy, my man, that's all it is. A lot of us would want to do what you are doing, only we either don't have the balls to do it, or are too caught up in the societal definition of "life" to be able to. So kudos!
    That being said, I cannot travel alone. I can travel all the time, every day but I need the same face to turn to and exclaim everytime we see something new. It's a thing, weird, but it is.
    You enjoy the life you have built! You seem to love it, and why not, it is lovely!

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  7. Travelling alone is something which I have always dreamnt & you are living my dream boss, quite lucky you are.Those people who critize you have no idea what they don't have which you...:-P
    Keep travelling, sharing your experiences & posting ua pics, we can't travel but reading your story & ua pics will surely do d work...dhoz 2 pics in Dz post, mainly the first one, I would love to experience such kind of beauty with my naked eye..even im a nature lover.but I nva got a chance..hope someday I will..
    Feeling alone??need company??I guess u knew ua blogger frndz will always b available for u...
    Life's short as u said, so nva stop doing this which make you happy...
    Tc..;-)

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  8. Seems like ranbir had just copied ua story in his recent film..."yjhd"...
    Hai na?

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  9. You are so lucky!!! You are seeing the whole world!!!
    People just stay in one corner of the world and spend their whole lives there... But what's life worth living like this!!! Life is going out and seeing the whole world!!! Appreciate it, enjoy it...

    Even I plan to earn a fortune and then just travel, travel and travel!!! Although I don't think I would be able to do it alone...

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  10. So lovely! Best wishes to you for many nice explorations :)
    Happy that you are doing what you like to do! Please continue.
    Don't worry about what the world says. the same world had issues with Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein, Wright Brothers...huge list!!! :)
    At the end of the day we must be happy and contented.
    I quit my well-paying software job and am happy writing for myself now :)

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  11. Y'know, I might as well be one of those telling you "Duuude, you're awesome for doing what you do." Because it takes courage and passion and belief and not being a rat in the race for doing it. Somewhere reading this post, I became envious, inspired and by the time I ended, I wore a smile (:

    I love the idea of travelling, seeing new places, meeting new people (although I am an introvert too, just observing locals and their ways is cool) and capturing everything. I want to be a photo journalist but I'm being dragged into the world of law because I honestly don't know the reason. It's a grand endeavour and you are making life proud by doing what you do. Don't pay heed to those who look at you like you've lost it, just bask in the glory and enjoy while the rest of the populace wants to utaro aapki aarti :P

    http://thegaptoothedsmile.blogspot.in

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  12. This makes me insanely jealous. Like really.

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  13. i admire your courage to make this decision. i think many people wish they had your life, but are afraid. i hope you are an inspiration to them.

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  14. Is that you? You alone in there? And what is that you said you do? Travelling alone.phew! Seriously dude???? Can't believe.

    ;) Ha ha ha..sorry kidding above. I know most conversation would be going like this only. Be it the girl you like or the be neighbour of your house. And let me tell you are the very lucky one who get follow his heart. It surely comes with a price. But it's worth it. :)

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  15. What can be more beautiful than exploring the world, travelling to places and basking in the stories of those land ... keep it up my friend :-)

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  16. "'We call them cool
    Those hearts that have no scars to show
    The ones that never do let go
    And risk the tables being turned

    We call them fools
    Who have to dance within the flame
    Who chance the sorrow and the shame
    That always comes with getting burned


    We call them strong
    Those who can face this world alone
    Who seem to get by on their own
    Those who will never take the fall

    We call them weak
    Who are unable to resist
    The slightest chance love might exist
    And for that forsake it all

    They're so hell-bent on giving ,walking a wire
    Convinced it's not living if you stand outside the fire

    Standing outside the fire
    Standing outside the fire
    Life is not tried, it is merely survived
    If you're standing outside the fire"

    Question for you..are you standing outside the fire or are the rest of us doing that?

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  17. Reading all these comments for this post made me misty eyed. Was in no way expecting such a huge response. Thank you gals & a guy ! I love you !!!!! You women & Amrit rock !!!! On retrospection the misty eyes could be due to the onions being cut nearby by a friend ...*sob*

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)