Have you ever wondered how magically enchanting this creation we live in is? The more you ponder over it, the more there is to ponder about it. Giving into this pondering every now and then, on long airplanes, trains and even haystack tongas is where the real education happens.
I spent a reasonable amount of time in my teenage years, thinking what would I be painting on this canvas of my life, threshold of which I was standing on; I stuck to the family tradition of a business degree; secured my first job; so at the age 20, I had a good degree, a cushy job and my family was overjoyed – their son is “settled”, now, let’s get him married.
However, my banking career did not keep me happy, I made money, I had the fancy stuff but no, I could not see pictures of excel sheets, graphs and all that financial warfare on my canvas. So even though I came from a traditional orthodox Indian family, whose son was “settled”; I QUIT.
Clocked my first air mile on a maiden trip to the United Kingdom in 2006 at the age of 21, for around 40 days, on a tight budget and no experience of International travel. This trip later turned out to be an experience I was to remember. The lessons learnt were rather incomparable to any that were taught in traditional learning modules. I was sold, to the beauty of travel, people, cultures, food and the civilization we live in. This is all it took to convince me that I was a biophile, I knew that the fear that I grew up with during my teenage years that my life could end up as an intimidating blank canvas, or worse with financial jargon I would only memorize not understand, was now leaving me. I thought I got access to the brush that I needed, and the first touch of colors are now visible, albeit far.
Today, almost 10 years later, having added some grey hair, a few extra passports, some failed businesses, some successful businesses and a lot more air miles, I have managed to crisscross around 40 countries of the world in an attempt to learn more about our people, places, cuisines and cultures. My journey has taken me distant countries like Kenya, Japan, UAE, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, United States, Sri Lanka, Scotland, China, Malaysia to name a few. I know the primary hues of my canvas are just how I wanted it.
After having traveled to these countries, the experience had been so overwhelming that I even questioned the relevance of traditional education techniques. Real education for me, was when I got out, met people, saw things and learned cultures. Human Beings according to me are natures wisest, most complete species, but we are at war. War with ourselves, our societies, countries and a general discontent among majority of people. This discontent has a potent answer in travel; knowledge and wisdom that is attained from exploring cultures and people. It’s not until you see how people live in a faraway land with greater or fewer resources than you back home, that you realize, how much you already have or how much you need to achieve; put in a word, inspiration. I learned, I travel to get inspired; and now try to spread this inspiration as much as I can.
Making the shift from thinking that being inspired was about sitting around waiting for ideas to come to you, to now with many flights and a myriad of colors and more to come on my canvas; I have realized spending time in your own head is important. To be truly inspired, you must learn to trust your instinct, enable your creative empathy, and channelize the flow.
To take this endeavor forward, I started a company after some other successful and unsuccessful businesses, and I guess as they say, if you are going to do it with all heart and passion, it’s only going to give you good in return. We are trying to setup backpacking hostels which will nurture the local culture, art, history and cuisine to the traveler that come from far and wide. We have successfully setup the first eco-friendly, art friendly backpackers hostel in Bangalore and the second one should be running shortly in the temple town of Hampi; after which three more are planned. We aim at recruiting local artisans and artists to teach local crafts, food crafts and other specifics to show their culture and let every traveler take a piece of this geography with them. The second vertical of creative/Inspirational tourism is underway and itineraries are being made with the help of historians, professors and local guides. Once these two verticals are ready, a traveler will have low cost access which will make travelling costs and other related costs like boarding and lodging really nominal, so that a traveler can focus on the real reason for his travel, which for me is gaining knowledge, experience and most importantly inspiration. We have been really successful with our Bangalore branch and have already serviced travelers from around 51 countries in 11 months of operations, but the goal will only be met where small hostels are put up in all major cultural extractions, where every traveler will hear the tales of the local folklore, play strings of the local instruments and taste the flavors of the local spices, and with each of these experiences he is going to create a stroke, and with several such strokes, he is going to paint what is going to be his life’s canvas.
If every individual would include Yoga, Meditation and Travel in their formative years, I think we would have a lot more Picasso’s and Da Vinci’s made out of an individual’s canvas. I’m going to go forward and continue my passion to spill some more paint around the world and make this world a more colorful place for all of us and after.
Setup backpacking hostels nurturing local culture, art, history and cuisine to the travelers. Successfully setup the first eco-friendly, art friendly budget travel hostel in Bangalore, more planned soon, after my experience of 40 countries; where local artisans and artists teach local crafts, food crafts and other specifics to show their culture and let every traveler take a piece of this geography with them. Second vertical of creative/Inspirational experiential itineraries are being made with the help of historians, professors and guides. With two verticals being ready, travelling, boarding/lodging really nominal, the focus of a travel plan can shift to gaining knowledge, experience and most importantly inspiration. Successful in Bangalore, and serviced travelers from 51 countries, but passion will be fueled in until hostels are put up in major cultural extractions, where every traveler will hear the tales of the local folklore, play strings of the local instruments and taste the flavors of the local spices; with each of these experiences creating a stroke, and with several such strokes, creating a masterpiece on what is going to be their life’s canvas.