"I'm so passionate about traveling. I was working as a manager at a firm after my MBA. Recently I have quit my job and looking for something exciting to do. How can I join you guys?" This was one of the many messages that I was reading.
These kinds of messages were a regular affair when I was made the admin of their Facebook page and I got access to other communication channels at my new office. The amount of emails and query through website forms were even more! People were flocking in to get that best travel job in India!
Then there I was, sitting at their office, silently reading all those emails and messages, even without applying for that job, getting ready to start the best travel job in India!
I was back home after one of those random short trips I was doing at that time. It was a sunny day of September 2015. Weather was getting cleared up after the monsoons in Kerala. At the same time, my life was getting clouded with the thoughts of what to do next.
That was the time when I had finally self published my book. You know, with the completion of every big tasks, comes a void, a vacuum. Once the task which took away most of your time and energy comes to a finish, comes a point of confusion on what is there to do next. I was feeling that!
Those days were challenging and interesting as I was learning by doing each and every steps of self publishing a book! Finally it came to an end; I finally published the book. I had to find something else to do next.
All of a sudden, the bulb above my head lit up, just like the Mysore palace gets lit up during Dasara time. My next trip was on its way!
Somewhere on the social media, I saw a beautiful picture of Mysore palace completely lit up in its grand glory! Each and every lines, curves, domes and other details were shining in bright golden color against the backdrop of a deep blue-hour evening. At that moment, I decided, "I need to see it live"!
My home is a little over four hours drive, away from Mysore palace and even after more than two decades of my existence at that place, I hadn't seen a single Mysore Dasara till that day!
Mysore Dasara is the state-festival of Karnataka. It is a 10-day festival, starting with Navaratri (Nava-ratri means nine-nights) and the last day being Vijayadashami. Mysore palace is the epicenter of this festival.
Lighting at the Mysore palace is the main highlight of this festival for 'visual people' like me! Mysore Palace is illuminated daily with nearly 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm on all days of the festival! (Otherwise it is only during Sundays for an hour)
As usual, before the journey I started looking for Couchsurfing hosts in Mysore. I picked up a few and sent them a personalised message requesting to accept me as a guest at their place. Luckily within a few days someone accepted my request.
He was running a cafe in Mysore and since the cafe was closed due to the Dasara festivals, I could stay at the cafe. I was very happy to find a couchsurfing host; which meant a local help, a better travel experience and a free accommodation.
When the day finally arrived, I took a government run bus and set out to Mysore.
After a bit of struggle with GPS-using-fast-draining-mobile, I finally found the cafe and the host. There he was a smiling young chap, half Malayali, half Mumbaikar, who speaks French, German along with another few Indian languages, the owner of the cafe, Arun! I instantly liked Santosha cafe and it's owner.
Soon I was introduced to the two other couchsurfers too. When it comes to couchsurfing, the more the merrier. So we soon made plans to go out and to do things for the next coming days.
It was fun. We visited many of the museums and monuments in and around Mysore. But priority was to see Mysore palace during the daytime and night time. We also went to see the Mysore Dasara procession which usually gets super crowded. On our hunt to find a better place to view the procession, we tried and failed numerous times to infiltrate nearby buildings by climbing through all possible ways, the proper as well as the improper means. In short it was fun. Well it was so much fun that I actually had to extend my stay for the next two more days!
Finally the day arrived when I had to leave my couchsurfing host. On that day he casually asked me what my next plan was. I said I didn't have any fixed plan for the future. Well, it was the time when I had quit my job and simply wandering around without any purpose.
Then Arun slowly said, " I think I have something for you".
I've always thought about such a moment which I wish had happened while traveling, where things just happen out of the blue!
"I know a couple of guys who are looking for a person in Kerala. The requirement is actually someone who is passionate about traveling, who is a local and who can speak English", he continued.
"Well that fits me quite well", I thought.
After a couple of hours, I was talking to one of the co-founders and a marketing guy from one of the coolest travel start-ups in India. And after almost an hour, I was saying, "Please give me a week's time. I need to go back home after this trip, before the joining date".
There I was sitting in Santosha cafe and sipping a cold coffee, still trying to figure out what had just happened! I couldn't process the information that I just got a job in one of the best travel start-ups in India at that time.
I realized how lucky I was, only when I got to see the resumes and messages the "work with us" page created on a day to day basis. Even now they rank pretty good on search results if you try "India's best travel job".
“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” said Martin Luther King Jr. That is what I felt too, when I landed in one of the best travel jobs in India, even without trying for it!
When looking back, I can see that how this incident has changed the course of my life.
I got into travel industry, started getting paid to travel in certain ways, went to places which I haven't visited before, learned the tricks of travel trade from own experiences. It was a great ride and the ride still continues.
This real life experience of mine is telling me, you don't need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step in faith in whatever things you are passionate about doing. Good things will unfold and a path will be shown up, because not all those who wander are lost!
Do the things that makes you happy and it will show you a way to make your life happier.
Tell me, do you have such stories to share?! Do share if you have any such stories. I'd love to hear those wonderful experiences.