As a young boy growing up in India, subjects such as geography and history fascinated me. We studied Indian history in detail, learning about the many dynasties that conquered India such as the Greeks, the Persians and the Europeans. We learnt about global organisations such as the United Nations and the various international issues concerning the world, such as nuclear disarmament. I was fascinated by our world, which inspired me to explore the world and learn more about different cultures and societies.
Since mid-2016, I have spent most of my time on the road exploring the Americas, Africa and parts of Asia. I started in Capetown, South Africa and travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, on an eight-week group camping tour, covering Southern and East Africa, organised by G Adventures, a travel company. Some of the highlights include the animal safaris in Etosha National Park, Namibia, Chobe National Park, Botswana, Serengeti Plains and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania and the Bwindi National Park, Uganda (specifically for the mountain gorillas).
After spending the first two and a half months in Africa, I boarded a plane to Argentina to start the Americas adventure. After a few days in Ushuaia, I embarked on a twenty-one-day cruise to South Georgia, Falkland Islands and Antarctica. Then, I explored South and Central America for almost fifteen months. I mixed my travels using group tours organised by G Adventures and travelling solo. In South America, I experienced stunning landscapes and ecosystems such as the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, Uyuni Salt Flats, Iguazu Falls, Colcha Canyon, and many more. Other highlights included the Inca Trail and Macchu Pichu, Easter Island, Lost City Trek, the Jesuit Misiones in Argentina and Paraguay and many more. In Central America and Mexico, highlights included the Mayan Temples of Tikal, the many temple sites across Mexico, and the volcanoes. In the last leg of travels, before Covid stopped it all, I, first walked the Camino pilgrimage and then explored South East Asia and South Asia.
During these travels, I connected with many local communities, where I learned local history and culture, which over time, also helped me unlearn my own biases and prejudices. I tried to explore the world independently at a slow pace, but at times, I did not succeed and moved too fast, and at other times, I used group tours instead of being completely independent. By trying out different approaches to exploration, I immersed myself in diverse experiences, thereby enhancing my perspectives from my travels. However, at the same time, I was going through a difficult period in my life. I struggled with mental health issues, including deep depression, anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Before I left for Africa, I wanted the time and space to distance myself from my life in London. I was in a rut. My issues affected my ability, at times, to completely immerse myself and be present. It was challenging and quite impossible at times. But I pushed on, and I managed to make the most considering the limitations.
The journey started as wishful explorations. It, in a short period, turned into a transformative experience with purpose and intent. Through my varied experiences, I picked up key learnings, which are as follows:
- Be Curious
Be open minded and experience the world through the lens of the curiosity.
- Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder
There is beauty everywhere around us and each one appreciates beauty differently
- Explore with Intent
Explore the world with purpose and intent – rather than ticking off a list, go immerse youself
- Go Slow
Instead of rushing through a place, take your time.
- Take the time to learn and take the time to unlearn
Exploration gives us the opportunity to be malleable to change in our views, biases and perspectives.
- Children are the world’s greatest teachers
Adults can learn so much from the enthusiasm, curiosity, and dreams of chilren
- Be a Visionary and Go for it
If you want to do something in life, dont stop. It will be hard but it is possible.
- There is a story to everyone
Every single person has a story to themselves, which has shaped that human. Learn to uncover it.
- Let someone guide you when you fall
There is no shame in asking for help and seeking support in life.
- Resilience and Grit
The values of resilience and grit are deeply meaningful for a successful life.
- You are never too old
Age is never a barrier to do something in life.
- Break a mountain stone by stone
If you want to achieve anything in life, start small and work every day.
- Life can be bad: Choose your response
Things will go wrong but you have the power of how best to respond.
- Life can be good: Be open
By being open minded and receptive to experiences, you can live a fulfilling life.
- Life can be ugly: Stand up against Injustice
You can stand up to grave injustice and it is your duty to do so.
- Sing when everyone is watching
There are times you might not want to be judged by others but it shouldn’t stop you from presenting yourself out there in front of people.
- Greed is nothing but a path to misery
If you can live within your means, you will have a more meaningful life.
- Nature thrives. We heal
Protecting nature means we are alive.
- Pachamama – We are one ecosystem
Everything is connected – dont underestimate the importance of the inter-connectedness of our universe.
- Do not judge people by your maps
Consider your own way of seeing the world before you judge others.
- We are the same. We are different. In the end, it doesn’t matter
Humans, regardless of their history and culture, are quite similar and we should celebrate this.
- Engage Less and Observe More
Instead of having an opinion of everything, learn to listen and understand.
- You are who you are
You are unique in your own way – that is a very positive aspect of your existence.
- You can’t have it all
No matter who you are, there will always be tradeoffs you have to make.
- Live Life on your terms
You are accountable for your life so better to live on your terms.