This Guy On His Own Trip Will Make You Want To Quit Your Job & Travel All Your Life!

Swagata Dam , 17 Feb 2015
This Guy Is On His Own Trip
This Guy Is On His Own Trip

There’s something about the boys who travel, and the men who write. So I take immense pride in the fact that my friend Neeraj Narayanan is a blend of both and a lot more. A couple of years ago, he was bitten by the wanderlust bug so hard that he quit his 9 to 5 job and took off for a solo backpacking trip to Spain. He headed there to take part in the famous Bull Run and even had a near-death experience! But that never deterred him from embarking on new escapades. And the allure of the unknown took him to places, quite literally! His journeys have been filled with ups and downs and thrills and chills. That’s exactly why I decided to catch up with him and got him to share some of his travel tales. Let’s begin the roller-coaster ride!

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

What have you been up to ever since you quit your job? 

It has been almost nineteen months since I quit my job and started travelling. I have been to ten countries, out of which I have gone to Bhutan five times (thrice as a tour leader). I have hiked to India’s second highest lake and gone back to Ladakh and watched people look at wonder at cute marmots. I jumped off a cliff into an ocean in the South China Sea, and was chased by a bear in a forest in Croatia. I was snorkelling in the sea near Krabi when my life jacket came off, and I fell in front of a bull during the Bull Run. I was a part of Thailand’s Songkran Festival (a water festival like Holi) and I have met certain people from different parts of the world with whom the bonding was so beautiful, that I ended up changing plans to spend more time with them. All of it has been amazing.

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

So what exactly prompted you to leave the corporate world and pursue travelling?   

In an ideal world, I would be standing on the pitches of Lord’s and hitting cover drives and square cuts while the crowd cheers on. But since my cricketing skills weren’t THAT great, I had to settle for other things. Like many other kids, I studied engineering and then worked for a couple of years in the IT giant firm – Cognizant. Post that, I opted for MBA at MICA. Then in 2011, I joined a travel start-up. On my first day in office, we were only four people – three founders and me, the first employee. I loved the world of travel and wanted to promote experiential travel. After two years there, I quit my job and traveled the world. It was an overwhelming experience. So after travelling for a couple of months, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to return to the corporate world or not. I wished to travel more, meet new people and experience new things. An office job would restrict me. So I freelanced for a while and used the money to travel. Gradually, people started reading my stories online and recognized me as an ardent traveler. That’s when I decided to take people on fun trips independently, in a non-conventional way. Soon my venture, This Guy’s On His Own Trip was born. We should all aspire to do the things we love and are passionate about; get up from our comfortable seats and bloody do something about it. I guess that’s who I would want to be remembered as – a cheeky, outrageous guy who was prone to following his heart and inspire people.

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

What is the No. 1 thing on your bucket list right now? 

I recently finished writing a book, so I think if it gets published and hits the stands, that would be an extremely nice feeling. Also, someday I want to be able to sit in the middle of a group of penguins, who do not care two hoots about this silly human amidst them, grinning from ear-to-ear.

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

I know for a fact that many girls drool over you for your wander boy vibe. How does it feel to be the center of attention during your trips?

You know, I would really like to believe that. But unfortunately, the only things they drool about are the places, the landscapes, the dogs, and the local kids. Time and again, I jump in front of the camera, only to see the girls turn direction and shoot somewhere else. There is a certain image that comes along with the ‘traveler’ profile, yes. But I think when we are on the trips, we are too busy teasing, making fun of each other and having a whale of time and everything else becomes secondary.

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

If you were Ranbir Kapoor’s character from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, would you let go of your travel dreams just for a girl you fall for?
If it was Deepika Padukone, yes (winks). Jokes apart, everything needs some balance, right? He should not completely give up on his dreams, and neither should she give up on hers. I would like to believe that two people can co-exist, love, and yet follow their dreams as well as help the other chase theirs.

Neeraj Narayanan
Neeraj Narayanan

Lastly, why do you love travelling so much?  

I travel because it’s the surest way of living in the moment. One second, I am on a boat, with my heart beating fast, and my mind telling me that the water might be too deep or too cold. The next moment, I have jumped and the cold water makes me gasp with joy.

I travel because it throws things at me that make me happy. A mountain, a waterfall, walking through a mango orchard are things which are so much better than sitting in an office or going to a mall.

When I started travelling, I was not searching for any answers nor did I expect myself to change or be transformed. But solo travelling, for a period of time, does that to you. As you keep travelling, by staying in hostels, meeting people, having experiences, there is so much you realize about yourself. The most beautiful thing that travel taught me was to be able to surrender to the environment; to let things come to you; to be graceful when they don’t go your way. I am anyway roaring ecstatically like a tiger when they do go my way, haha!

I travel, because it is harder not to do so.

Oh and it allows me to experience and later share a lot of insane stories!

If this doesn’t inspire you to travel more often, I don’t know what will! Pack your bags and leave already.

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