Wednesday, February 22, 2017

You don’t always need a plan in life

I have always been a person with a well decided plan- Be it what's tomorrow's agenda or what I will be doing in the coming months. While heading for a trip, I would have each and every day's itinerary chalked out- where to stay, options of things to do, the possible commute and so on. Because of how much it worries me, I can never be without a plan, or so I thought until recently.

This past month saw me traveling and going on trips I never planned for. I have been on the road for almost the entire month. All the trips were impulsive and were decided at the spur of the moment. There was never enough time to book confirmed tickets and return tickets were not even given the slightest thought. But the month that has gone by has been crazily memorable.

Kayaking at Dandeli. A few minutes after this my friends thought it would be fun to throw me into the water when I was not even wearing the life jacket (and I don't know swimming). It was fun!

Running on the highway to catch my bus in Mumbai, climbing boulders in historic Hampi, getting dunked in the waters at Dandeli Sanctuary, witnessing the pristine beaches and sunset at Gokarna, conversations till the wee morning hours at the Thalassa beach in Goa and then returning to Mumbai only to start another unplanned trip in less than a week. Clicking photos in front of random colourful buildings in Pondicherry and then sitting by the sea under the full moon, staying over for 3 days in Chennai to see the city and spending all the time talking, playing and at the end bidding emotional goodbyes to people who also decided to stay back. Finally visiting Bangalore, travelling in the upper expensive city bus after figuring out the coding of the bus numbers and staying with friends without informing my relatives in the city until the very last day when it was their anniversary and I arrived at the doors with a cake in hand. The month has seen me witness innumerable goodbyes and emotional farewells at various railway stations and airports…


I have met several people and made loads of new good friends in these last few days. Some people have selflessly guided me and some have inspired me with their stories- some untold ones, some full of dedication and hard work, and some simply and smartly inspiring ones. I have met people my age who are successful entrepreneurs with superbly inspiring stories. I have met people who have quit their jobs and gone ahead to do what they wanted to do and been successful in it.

For the last few days my friends in Mumbai have been asking when I would be back in the city, others have blatantly asked who's funding my travels, still others have expressed their desire to travel like this- without having to worry when to go back home- and a few have used the terms 'You inspire me' in varied contexts I wouldn't completely approve of. Only if they knew my state of mind through all these times.

As amazing and wow these travels might look, there is no denying that there are times of sheer uncertainty, when you have absolutely no clue what's next in life or where you should head to next or how you should start thinking of a sustainable source of income before your savings run out and you wouldn't be able to continue traveling as much as you like.

I am sitting at the Bangalore City Railway Station having arrived way too early for my train to Mumbai, reflecting on the month that has gone by and the uncertainty of the time that is to come now. 'I could have been at the Rushikulya beach watching the Olive Ridley Turtles right now had the Odisha Trip plan worked', I think. But then probably that plan was never meant to go through successfully.

Probably it's okay to have days of uncertainty, days when nothing seems right, when nothing feels logical. Probably it's okay to not be worried about what you would do when you wake up tomorrow morning and not have a job to take care of. Probably it's okay to simply live life a day at a time, slowly planning the next big move. Probably it's okay to simply hug a friend and believe them when they say 'All will be well' and not think about tomorrow. Probably it's okay to not have an immediate plan.

Over my travels of the last four months I have come to believe that although it’s always good to have a plan, sometimes it is okay to not have one. All my train tickets this past month were booked at most a day or two in advance and were waitlisted. Every single one of them got confirmed at the right time. What this did allow me to do was to not have a deadline set for myself. I had the freedom of moving around the place as much as I liked and for as long as I liked without having the worry of a train to catch.

Things, I believe, have a way of falling into the right places at the right time. The dots do have a way of connecting sensibly when you look backwards. The only thing to remember is not to give up when it feels the most difficult to sustain.

Do you believe in travelling without a fixed plan? Do you believe life is beyond the certainties we plan for it?

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