When your dreams wins over your assets, then you truly travel: Vahishta Mistry
How many times in a day do we think “Screw the job”; “I want some peace”; “I want to get away from this monotony”; “I don’t want to be a machine”“I wish I can get out of here” “I WISH I COULD TRAVEL”. Well, that would be the difference between us and someone like Vahishta Mistry.
Inside the Marketing Department of a TV Channel:
Inside one of India’s reputed Television Channel’s marketing team, sat a rather young chap, younger than most of his colleagues. He had started working with various companies at a very young age of 16 and in his late 20’s, he had gotten into a position pretty solid. He thought to himself, I have a house, a car and all the so-called things that make me appear like the “settled” guy for the society. He thought that and realized he didn't have any reasons to not travel. So he sold it all, went on a 2-year adventure trip.
How it all began:
Just like a couple of homestay and houseguest platforms, Vahishta was a part of a community of couch surfers. A platform where you host travellers in your home and also show them around the city, your culture and your way of life. When you have people from all over the world staying with you the thought of being in their shoes is not very far away. After meeting hundreds of diverse people with unique stories to tell, such that one had never heard of before, made him think. He thought for a while and realized that for the first time, he had nothing holding him back from travelling apart from himself and his beautiful cat.
On the road:
After extensively contemplating his decision to travel, simultaneously with planning his trip to the USA, he set off on his 2-year long journey around the planet. But that was just the beginning of all the things he hadn’t accounted for. At the beginning of his trip, he became a tourist and the problem with that is that you try to run behind every single thing that a place has to offer. The fear of missing out on places tries to mess with your head. So his advice to people now is to focus on the experiences and the people would get to meet and not on the number of places he got to see. He made quite a few 5-minute friends because they are the people who are going to get you through the months of staying away from everyone you love. There were moments when he contemplated all the choices he made and thought if it was all worth it. He could have been with his loved ones that very moment but chose to be away from them all.
Traveling for months together without having familiar faces to look at, can become frustrating after a point. But his experiences are what saved him. It blew him away the first time he looked at the Northern lights in Norway; or the time he walked for miles in a desert seeing art installations every couple of meters; or the time he sat for hours gazing at the infinite glittering stars in the sky; or the time he partied at an underground place. Including the time where he was held at gunpoint and was almost mugged. (What saved him? Quick tips: If the mugger is drunk and speaks a language you cannot understand, just smile and repeat whatever he is saying. He could get completely amused and find you absolutely hilarious and just let you live. WARNING: Might not work in most cases. Then you will just have to get shot and lose all your money)
He took up a job with a friend during his stay in the US which helped him monetarily for a bit. He gradually started taking care of immediate expenses. Around this time, he met his future wife in the US who had also come for a work/travel trip. They have been travelling and doing some really cool things since then. If you ask him today, he will tell you “ Travelling together and exploring new places in the initial stages of our relationships was something that helped build the trust and I am glad I got to do that with her”. The couple now not just explore new countries but they are also connoisseurs of some never heard of traditional food and spices as well.
Vahishta during his initial stages of travel discovered the grandeur of time lapses. People, sky, clouds, stars amongst the lot really impressed him. His pictures were pretty good to an extent where people were willing to pay him money for his work. He made tie-ups with brands and websites where he would be able to sell his photographs, time lapses, and write a few articles on his travel. This did give him some money but definitely nothing substantial. Nothing worth filing taxes, but definitely a token of appreciation for your work. He gradually started investing in equipment that would enhance what he was doing and this has become a major part of his travels these days. He now also runs his own blog, where he shares interesting things from his travels and also tries to make a guidebook for all the people who are yet to taste the rush of travel.
After all his travel, 11 countries to be precise and uncountable memories, he feels that he has become a more insular person; more accepting of situations, trying to make the best of everything. He feels like he has become a much calmer person than he was before and can tackle situations better than he could back then. His only advice to all the enthusiasts is, "Know where you are going. Not too less or not too much. Read up on the people and culture of the place you visit, and leave it how you found it. And a fun tip: Hotel fares in Bali for 1 week is the same as taking a furnished home for a month. So stay in Bali for a month and explore. Just keep exploring".