I love lists. I have lists for everything. Things to do this month, things to do this week , things to do today. I even have a list of weekend things to do too. Lists really help me, it gives me a sense of purpose and sense of achievement, once done. So while the year was coming to a peaceful end I was gearing up for the next year , with plans and dreams and yes, as you guessed, lists. During this flurry of activity, I asked myself what was the point of planning ahead, without taking a breath to understand and assimilate how far I have come. To look back at 2018 and understand.
Thus I thought of this 2018 review blog.
2018 was a good year to me. I recovered slowly from a loss of a dear one, and started becoming more mindful about my life, where and with whom I was spending my time and what I wanted from it. Beginnings are always sexy and make you want to be stronger , faster, better, but sustaining something is where its at.
Sustainability was my word for 2018.
So here are the highlights of the year gone by
Revisiting favorite haunts and learning new skills: The year began with a solo trip to Hampi . I spent close to a week in a riverside reverie, in my favourite stay at Virupappur Gadde. On days I set off on the bike to get around, I chased sunsets and evenings were for coca cola and movie nights. I also took a lesson and bouldering and really enjoyed it. When the teacher showed us the boulders and said that we have to climb atop without any props, I could hear myself scoff. But by the end of a sunny February afternoon I was beaming atop these beautiful rounded stones, taking in the sights from there. It was a powerful feeling, for I realized that we are capable of so much more than what we give ourselves credit for.
Lead a convoy of 15 cars deep into West Arunachal: I always wanted to visit Arunachal. And when the opportunity presented itself in terms of a Blueberry Trails for Tata Motors I jumped at it. With the support of our local team, I immediately decided to lead it. Packed my bags, got my woolens, left Doe at a friend’s and set off.
Arunachal was everything I excepted it to be. Quiet, serene, untouched by the city’s lure. People lived simple lives and were happy with it, smiles greeted you everywhere and it was blissful. I left the land with a heavy heart and with a promise to come back . I want to go back and live for a week in Sangti with a book and warm milk for company. Sigh! Definitely something to look forward to for the next year!
Also read Kerala in the monsoons
Invitation by Swiss Tourism Board to visit the country: Come September while I was making my travel plans for the year, I was invited by the Swiss Tourism board to visit the country. Honestly I always looked at Switzerland as a favourite with honeymooners with its beautiful vistas and chocolate brands -I didn’t not expect too much from it to excite me as a traveler. But this trip taught me not to be presumptuous. To stop doing that: air guessing, assuming things will go a certain way. Stop. Stop.Stop!
Let me tell you three things that I loved about my time in Switzerland:
-Swiss rail: Train rides always got the best of me, it is perfumed with nostalgia and it gives you time to yourself, to read, sleep and daze. Well Swiss rail gave me all that and it got me places real fast. And the vistas along the Way-Oh my God! I cannot even begin to describe the number of times the train took a turn around a bend and the sight made me gasp.
-Small towns of Switzerland: The real beautify of the country lay in its small towns for me. From the lake side beauty of Rapperswill, to mountain towns of Lauterburn and Wengen, it was in the rolling green landscapes with the cows grazing, the tiny car traveling with a grandma taking her to the next village. Sitting in the hotel garden at Engelberg surrounded by mountains with silvery mountain tops, basking in the moonlight, that’s when I fell in love with this beautiful country.
–Frescoes of Lucern: Im a big fan for street art but in Lucern I didn’t expect to find the kind of graffitis that I did in the old town. Ornate frescos done by artists canturies ago still adorn the walls of this river side town. They say in the olden times, if you were an artist worth beckoning, then you will be invited to do up the exteriors of the building of the Alstadt. It was a treat walking around the pedestrian only lanes of this part of the town and looking for paintings and not knowing what you will find next A treasure hunt for the curious!
Also Read Why i want to go bac
Digital Nomadism and Move to Goa: For the longest time I felt that I was tied to Mumbai due to my work. I run an online travel company called The Blueberry Trails. Sure I could venture out for a month and travel places, but I would allow myself any more than that and return back to base. I felt the team needed me and we needed my physical presence to function.
Well, that was just a thought.
Created by my self.
And that’s a thought that I could break free from this year.
I had my first stint of Digital nomadism this year, with my move to Goa. I moved with bag, baggage, pet and set up a beautiful home. I operate out of Goa and life has been really generous here. I was so grateful that I could get up and go! Im blessed to have a terrific team who believe in this and work relentlessly alongside me to take our travel philosophy places. On my personal front I have a much better work life balance with plenty of time to do things that I love, this blog being one of them!
Also read “Top destinations for digital nomads“
Some not so great things about 2018
Worked too much: At one point in the year I was working 14 hours a day, I had very little life and very little energy to do anything else. Working hard is good but working smarter is better and that’s a tip I take forth in the new year. And when I started working this long, I started grudging it a bit and it no longer a feeling of passion and was my warning sign. I decided to change things a bit, committed to working 25-30 hour work weeks, started putting time aside for the blog, started studying a bit more and spending time doing things I really enjoy.
Neglected my blog: I buried myself in my work and I put up just one blog post last year. Its dismal! Truth be told, apart from the long work hours I was also feeling quite overwhelmed by the blogging world. Blogging is so much more than writing a piece and curating pictures, there is SEO, there is website design, there is social media, there are affiliates, one needs to find their niche, their voice, their identity : there is so much more to it and it was like a huge wave that I saw coming at me , so I chose not to step into the waters at all. And that was weak of me. The only thing I could do to make it better was to write, and publish , be terrible at it for a while , but slowly get better. That’s exactly what I did.
Battling self doubt: Most of the battles we face are battles that we create in our heads. “Im not good enough” was a recurring thought that plagued me for a while last year and I had to battle it step by step. Meditation, being mindful really helped the process. I have not aced it yet, I still have my bad days , but I recognized the problem and decided to work on it, for that, I am grateful.
2019 here I come:
Build MoonlightKingdom: I plan to put out more articles, guest write in other interesting blogs and be out there in the blogosphere.
Slow travel to two countries: This year I hope to travel with a girl friend on one such trip and one with a partner. I look forward to both. Here’s hopin that I can make it happen . Where do you plan to travel to next this year? I would love to know, it may be an inspiration for me.
Take control of my life: I have many ambitions, not the material kinds, but a will to live a fulfilled , rich life, and instead of them over whelming me, I plan to eat the frog . I plan to work on my skill sets, give in to my creative pursuits, I plan to fail, fail miserably and then I plan to succeed.
Digital nomadism: One new place in india, it could be Pondicherry, it could be Ladakh or maybe I come back to Goa. The important part is that the gate has opened, I just need to decide which way to go, it is an incredibly exciting time to be in. What do you suggest for me to go to?
Thank you for reading my journal on the year that has passed. Tell me what has been your highlights, and what would you want to do for the next year.