Once I met a girl, and we were having a good conversation about traveling and her passion for it. She asked me ways, of how so many people keep traveling for longtime. How did the wanderers manage finances and how lifestyle looks simple on road.
I tried to explain as much as I could, but she just said , in the end " I wish I had a well enough saving to start off. I wish I had a better paying job. I am not that lucky." She said this, and looked in her i-phone, scrolling down list of attractive new collection trousers in her Myntra app.
I did not bother to explain her , the idea of minimalism and how we are as rich in life, as minimalist we can live in. I wish I did. I hope she will read this blog post.
We live in a highly consumerist society. Everywhere, you look around , you find advertisements and branding of such deep psychological effect , that we believe our lives will only be happier with another purchase, another product. People chasing better, and bigger or upgrades.
Our wants and needs have diluted into each other, and with every purchase that we make, with every product that enters our life, our clutter and complications grow in life. There is shortage of space, and abundance of stress.
It is here, that Minimalism and it's practice can be the REMEDY to all this.
If you go by a study , we never use or need, seventy percent of stuffs that we own. Minimalism helps you to identify things that bring value to your present life, and slowly let go of other stuffs. Most of times, we hold on to something because we have a memory attached to it. Example , might be a cloth or book. Or we might believe to keep the stuff since it might be of use in future. This idea, and practice of hoarding, is exactly what keeps us from living in present. And hence when you practice Minimalism , your life becomes more focused on the present. Letting go is an art , which is intricately connected with the idea of minimalism.
Also if you think more deep, you will see , you have no fond memory of an experience, that is only due to wearing a new dress or shoe, or buying a stuff. Do you remember , anytime, when you talk about your past or memories to someone, You ever mention the things you bought, as a fond memory? Do you say " The best thing that happened to me, is buying that blue suit!". I do not think so.
Every product has a depreciating value in the end. That is basic economics. However, experiences that you spend your time and money in, will only grow fonder as you mature in life. The faster we realize this, the lesser you are going to waste your time and money. Also it is big fact, that every thing you buy in life , is not with money, it is with your precious time, that you spend working hard, sacrificing on your personal ambition. Delaying it with increasing one stuff in your home. The cost of a product is actually way more, than the bills show.
You will be amazed , the amount of money you save when you realize, you do not NEED a lot of stuff , that you unconsciously just add up in your life. This money can go into your valuable experiences of travel, and in learning. Things that will make you RICH , even with having LESS.
I know you cannot just change into a monk right away, even if minimalism does make sense! I mean who does not want to save up and live longer travel days than hours paying bills and rent, right? So I would start here with few ideas, which can get you to start on implementing MINIMALISM in your life.
Start with collecting things that you did not use for last one month. Whatever , it was. Put it in a box, and keep it away for next 30 days. You will be amazed , that you won't remember those stuffs , after a week, they are not there. Stuffs that you did not need for entire 30 days, DONATE or GARAGE SELL.
With lesser stuffs , you own, you have more value in the things you own. I would rather have just 3 T-shirts in which I look amazing than a lot of them, in which I do not look my perfect best. I hope this statement makes it clear of the purpose of minimalism. It is not just about giving away stuff , or needing less, it is about also finding what are the things that truly are valuable to yourself. It is like reconsidering your priority list.
A more spacious home for you also helps in simplifying the mind, bringing tranquility. Also with lesser stuff, you do not need to choose things or decide upon, unnecessarily. The lesser decisions you take in daily life, the better your Important DECISIONS are. You do not need to engage your precious mind and time in useless choosing of clothes and shoes or stuffs that does not matter to life's value.
All Wanderers are Minimalist. It is a common thing I have found. Most of us are on the journey for six to eight months a year , with just a rucksack to live on. And I assure you, even then , we find things that we did not use from our backpack.
If you are a beginner , next time you travel, start off with implementing minimalism and see how better and comfortable your journeys become. Start with taking half the cloths, best ones ! Decide on washing clothes and wearing the same, than changing everyday except for inner wears. Even then 3 sets of inner wear is enough for a week. Try doing one trouser throughout the journey, and just one set of clothes, for your sleeping time. I know it is harder than prescribed here, but it is very achievable.
With travel , minimalism comes naturally, as you get used to a life, when your needs become less and yet life seems amazing, and not missing anything.
Even in times of recession , as our world faces now, you will fare better with this practice of minimalism. As your needs are less, it does not matter , how big you need to earn. To practice this, you can start by trying to cap your monthly living expenses down to half. TRY, even if you fail.
The next time you want to buy a stuff, try to delay the date of buying. You will see, after a point, you might not feel the need to buy it. You will perfectly then understand the difference between WANT & NEED.
I understand, NOT BUYING stuff might feel like, not wanting to eat, or not wanting to sleep, for sometime. Because for years, our classical conditioning has unconsciously attached OUR happiness with the rush to WANT a product. It is this hormonal rush , that makes us feel happy for a little time, in the process of buying the product, even though relishing it might not satisfy you fully. When you think about it well, you understand, it was never about owning the product in first place, but may be wanting to be happy by any means. This happiness has to be achieved in holistic way , rather than consuming more and more from external world. Because in the end , the world will not REMEMBER you for the expensive shoe, or the dress , or the couch ! They will remember you for the stories you experienced, the help you gifted and the passion with which you lived!
Let me know , if minimalism is a way , you want to try , I will help you with more practical methods to practice and become a MINIMALIST !
Locked down , Loneliness & Lessons
This state of being , like prisoners in zoo , has had both ups and down. Today I have decided to share with you the darker side of existence during this times. I will admit it took me quiet amount of thought to believe, that I will be vulnerable enough in front of you, and vent out on the unwanted feelings. In years of wandering , I have come to believe that honesty is better to keep, life simple and frank. In a age of think positive , and be positive , I do not know if this post will come out to be a little pessimistic. However , If my venting , matches with your situation, then be assured your and my misery is the same. We are both in the darker phase of the locked down.
One of the effects of social distancing and isolation from home, is that we are left, much more than usual, with ourselves. Who are we when we are no longer reflected in the faces of the people around us? Who are we without all the external recognition? No praise or even rejection. No feedback at all to define us.
This might have left us lost. Or, uncomfortable and unsettled. Maybe you’re feeling a little of that?
I do not sleep at night , only to sleep from morning seven to two in the afternoon. It started with the thought that days are better slept than to be feeling purposeless and locked in room. At night, I feel everything, often inexplicably. Joy and sadness. Thrill and anger. Frustration and ease. And, of course, fear. But also, of course, excitement and connection. To feel it all requires courage. Emotional courage.
It takes a lot to be curious about ourselves, after all.
Often I avoid myself most , like a ostrich putting his head deep into the hole , in the dark. There it sees nothing , and has a feeling no body can see it. Exactly how I try to do with my thoughts. Yet this lock down, has been extending and it was inevitable that my dark thoughts will come crashing down. So after keeping myself lost and happy with new cooking recipes and Netfix shows that I did not even enjoy, for around 50 days of the locked down, I could not bear this helplessness and uncertainty of life that has been thrown to us.
I am a highly social person , an extrovert , who likes to be with people and do new things every moment possible. It makes me good at my job, of being one of the Best Guides to travel with , yet it does not make me a sorted person, in this times of patience and introspection.
No matter , how many videos and podcast from Spiritual Gurus, I hear or read, it just does not make this situation any better. I guess you can relate , that it is harder to be followed, those instructions than to advice our friends , when they say , they are feeling lonely. It is our basic human need I guess to share and to listen, to communicate and to crave bonding.
But with no way out , any sooner , I guess we have to slow down to face ourselves, what some of us have long avoided. It can be scary and exciting , but most importantly do we have the courage. To admit, to accept our darker side.
It is one thing to be all alone in the mountains, with survival in mind , and another to be helpless locked down in uncertainty. And as a part of stepping up , I am sharing this, with all of you , that yes I am also miserable now in the locked down.
Yet now that I have shared , I feel a little more at peace. Admitting my human side, my monsters that rumble up in my ever overthinking brain.
The greatest lesson though from this has been to tolerate myself, even with all my fears , and all my insecurities. May be the most valuable lessons are learnt in the hardest times. Times which we often dislike and we are forced upon , rather than choosing. In a world that runs so fast , and is connected so well, I kept hopping from place to place. Taking in the adventures and wanders, only may be, to keep my brain busy from the monsters that lurked in mind. It is futile to run from them, as they are mine, they are ME. And today or the other , I had to own them. So here it is , I accepting them , and trying to make peace with it.
I am also amazed that when I called some of my friends, who live a same life on road, they have been feeling the same, and did not know how to share and who to share. That I am not alone, makes me believe , that you are not alone too. Talk to people who feel the same. Even if some of them says " They are Doing Great in the Locked down ." , Do not get deter , and call up another.
If not any , let me know, I will share the misery we both carry. There is no shame in finding life hard at times, especially , in times like this.
Even if it seems unending, this lack of freedom , I have my hopes that we will see each other in travels by July!!!!
Before, I begin, I must put it out as a disclaimer that by stating my thoughts and ideas on travel, I am only giving my personal view. Do not travel until its absolutely necessary for you. For people like me travel is not just a vacation or part of life that is avoidable, as it is the only reason I live. Also for some it might be absolutely necessary to see the ocean or mountains to find peace and gain mental strength and avoid depression. This post is for them, in a way to help.
However, I will strongly advice, in case you do travel , try not to come back to old people or very young ones, for whom, Corona can be more riskier as a disease contracted. With stronger immunity we generally will face mild symptoms of the deadly virus, but that might not be the case for everyone out there, if you are not sure about your immune health yet.
In the end, I trust all my readers are mostly mature men and women and I put my faith on your intuitions and decisiveness. It is upon yourself, to decide if traveling and going out is an worthy option for you, depending how and where you live. Governments of state has slowly opened tourism with rules and regulations to follow, and it is absolutely necessary that all of us must comply to this rule if you decide to hit the road.
For every travel lover out their, the pandemic and lock down has been a lesson of patience and frustration both. Mostly because, eyes that find beauty in the vast expanse of mountains and beaches , had to resort to pictures on social media to soothe their eyes. The freedom lost in the times of pandemic will be remembered for long. But the good news is slowly but surely the world is opening up. So even if in immediate future, we cannot plan our dream destination or vacation, we can certainly, have some flavors of wanderlust and take upon journeys.
Here I am assembling some great ways to take a vacation, journey and trip during the times of pandemic which might satiate your hunger for the world for sometimes.
1. City Walks & Exploring unknown facets of your own town.
Most of us might have been , living in our cities and towns for long, yet I am a cent percent sure, there are spots in cities , that we have not yet experienced or been to. As a tour guide, who gives multiple city tours in Kolkata , Delhi and Mumbai, there is always something new coming up in my tour, even if I had been there before. Every city has a rich history, various communities and their folklores, waiting to be discovered. If you google a bit or read a book based on your city , you will find lesser known places which might amaze you , when you visit them. Hence, for a start it would be a great idea to have explore your unknown side of the city. You can do morning explorations, perfect to avoid the crowd and maintain social distancing. Walks or on bicycles, are both a great way to explore your town and stories unheard in your own cities. Also do not forget to take your camera or phone to indulge in street photography, which will be a pleasure for you surely !
2.Road trips with your friends or family.
As more normal life get back on, it will be a wise idea, to take road trip in a rented vehicle or self vehicle to some places accessible to your current location with four to five hours of drive. Road trips are always great , and in current times , road trips will help you be securing better movement , avoiding public transportation. I am sure , we all have lesser known villages or natural spots near to our current locations, where we did not visit yet , and we kept it for someday. Often it happened to me, being young , I always thought of wandering the furthest places, and kept all that was good in my surrounding for later years, as retirement plan. Well now , it is exactly such a time, to test your choices.
When we should access, this remote yet near places, we must savor the journey more than the destination. Take breaks on road to click more pictures. With monsoon just finished in India, most roads are vivid green and beautiful. Even if the spots are not in your bucket list, I recommend this highly, since in the end , Travel is more about journeys than destination. And what better way to enjoy journeys, than a good road trip!
3. Camping or hiking in nature or remote places.
Camping does not always have to be on mountains, neither hiking. But if you can somehow access hills and mountains, your luck is with you. Even if not, you can always search out for a place, which is quiet remote and go for a camping trip. Do it alpine style to involve your adventure senses more. Alpine style camping or hiking , defines , when you go for a hiking trip or camping in the wild on your own, without any help of professional hands. It is indeed, one of the best experiences in holistic ways, where you learn a lot about survival. With right people it is often too much fun, and even if you are alone, it is a great time to spend under the spell of nature and solitude. There is no better way to see a sunset or sunrise, or take a bath in a natural lake, than from a vicinity of a tent.
Generally , camping and hiking takes your to places which are not too crowded, and that will help your chances of social distancing.
Hiking is also safe , as not much people are involved in it. Already goverments of Kashmir ,Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have opened up hiking and trekking. Following their rules one must be able to go back again to wilds of the unknown.
If you are interested , I am myself going hiking in next month. Check out the simple plans here, and connect if you would like.
4. Travel to Homestays.
Home stays are run by people , who live and run their lovely homes and give out exceptional experiences for travelers like us. Safety in times such as this, can be found best while traveling to their homes. Since they as residents will want to keep themselves healthy and safe, they will take the best measures for a secure stay. A lot of home stays, can be found remotely located which are not destination specific , but can add up to a travel experience greatly. I think , this is the perfect time to try those locations out. A simple relaxing stay in a new and strange place can calm your mind , and help you against the stress, the world is going through and putting on you. Add to that meeting the strangers and listening to their stories, which in itself , is of great adventure.
For your part you are helping them, by letting them earn a little after the long cease of their work and livelihood. It is also true , now you are more prone to find better deals as not much people will be heading anywhere. Grab this opportunity to visit some of the most wonderfully located home stays around yourself.
I will definitely recommend you to start shortlisting home stays now, by checking on Google and may be fixing a destination in mind. You can always also consult me for a free advice.Do connect with the host before traveling , so that they can aid you with the current scenarios, which will help your travel. Making sure, when you are arriving , also helps them to prepare for a safe stay.
This is a new term for the wanderlust stricken youth of India. In world wide travel, a many of people are known as digital nomads. They work but their job does not require them to be mandatory, to be situated in a single destination. With good internet, they can work from anywhere in the world, and that is how a lot of people , including me live from place to place of our desire.
With the pandemic, most working companies have now WORK FROM HOME scenarios, where you are also a kind of digital nomad, if you have the will ofcourse. There are great many a hospitality properties with amazing wifi, giving the chance to people to come and stay with them and work from their beautiful properties located in amazing destinations all around. For example I know a property in Pushakar who charges only 7000 INR to start with for a stay plan , in their super cool hostel, and work from their. High speed wifi to connect and work, and amazing places in Pushkar in vicinity to go around. Ping me up privately if you want to know more.
For a lot of people, they are moving to small towns and villages in the Himalayas, through me. They have rented amazing rooms in the heavenly destination and for next two to three months at least will enjoy travel and work together.
This is one of the brighter side of pandemic, that this chance is on offer, and will surely not repeat. So for people who had a long wish of moving to mountains and staying long, this the perfect time, as your life could be a mix of vacation and work. Check out some amazing properties to work from mountains here.
I hope soon enough, you can hit the roads, and start the journey. Travel will help your mind , and relax the stress we have been going through. Lastly , it will help people and regions economically , when you can take services from them. You can connect with me to know more about planning your travel during this times. Advises and friendship are free to those who love to wander! Do connect with me through my social media buttons on your right top corner.
Lastly , though we did cage up ourselves for the need of survival, I hope all of you can take up a little courage to take calculated risks.
For life is not just about survival, it is To Live!
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"