The Guy on His Own Trip

By Tanasha Amlani

Anyone when asked whether they would like to pack their bags and set off on a travel expedition would never deny it, infant would say yes to it in a heartbeat. Because why not? It’s fun, you get to meet new people, see new and exciting things, stay in beautiful cities and in today’s time most importantly post about it all over social media. But here is the real question- Would you quit your job to travel? The yeses might convert to a No in many cases. But there are a few extremely passionate souls who have done it. They’ve quit their jobs to travel and see the world and are not regretting it one bit. Let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.

Neeraj Narayanan, popularly known for his brand “This guy on his own trip” is slowly starting to become an idol for all the students who do engineering first, followed by an MBA but do not want to do either in their life. The difference is that the moment he felt like doing something else, he quit his job. “After my MBA, I had started working for a travel website.
Over the next two years, I pored over a lot of literature and was constantly reading about places, cultures, things to do around the world etc. All these things created a huge impression on my mind. I was also very taken in and intrigued by the concept of solo travel, though I did not believe it was for me at all. Two years later, all I needed was a button to kick start my desires. It was then I saw a video of the Spain Bull run, and I knew I had to do it. The idea of a sport in which there was no safety gear, no protection, and one had to run for their lives to survive appealed to me a lot. It acted as a catalyst to all my pent up travel desires and in June of that year, 2013, I quit my job and booked tickets for a solo Europe backpacking trip” recalls Neeraj.

But as fancy as it might sound, Neeraj has had his share of troubles and difficulties. When asked about how difficult was it to go ahead with a decision like this, he responded “Firstly, it meant giving up a good stable salary. Secondly, I was still paying my MBA loan, when I quit my job. So, there was always that pressure that I had to keep earning. And travel, of course, requires money. But if you want something, you need to strive for it. You need to make sacrifices. I was passionate about travel, and I kept my priorities clear. There was a time when I’d even say no to movies when friends would ask me to accompany them, because the math insisted that every two times I said no to a movie, I would have saved for one extra day’s stay in South East Asia. Basically, I cut costs, saved money and travelled whenever I could.”

All you people who love to travel, picture yourself at the most beautiful destinations in the world and feel like you have it in you to break free from the monotony, here is what might help you-

It is all right to be a little scared. We have all been conditioned to chase stability and follow certain mainstream professions, so taking the plunge is always going to feel a little uncomfortable. You will have your doubts on how to make it a sustainable way of living etc.

But the truth is, till you actually try it out, you won’t really know.

But what makes travel really what it is, is the memories that one comes back with it. Neeraj had a very interesting one to share- “When we would enter the river, I would bathe my elephant just like the mahouts did, and then she would collect water in her trunk and spray me. When the mahouts would leave, I would sit ten metres away from the elephants and write. I spent th “In 2014, I had gone off on a solo backpacking trip through South East Asia. In North Thailand, ten days into the trip, I signed up for a three day jungle trip. Halfway through the first day, I was abandoned in the forest, in an elephant camp. So my only companions were five wild elephants. There was a small hut nearby that had a bed and a bulb. No fan. Of course there was no network in the forest. Forced to fend for myself, I spent the evening exploring the forest and then returning to the hut as soon as it got dark. For the next three days, every morning, two mahouts would come to bathe and feed the elephants. They would stay exactly for an hour, before disappearing to their village somewhere in the forest. They could not speak English so we mostly communicated in signs. But that one hour that they would be there, I would follow them and soon learned how to mount a standing elephant from the front. For three days, every morning, two mahouts and one Indian boy would ride on five elephants, in one horizontal line, down to the river. As we would go down the slope to the river, I would lose balance, and would slip down the lumbering elephant’s head and frantically grab onto anything I could to avoid getting crushed under the gentle giant’s massive legs. Three days and nights like that before the travel agency came to pick me up. When I was first abandoned, I had been furious and was sure I would give the travel agency hell when I returned. But as the days went by, I fell in love with it all, being alone in a forest with just five elephants. It was the most surreal time ever”

Travel as much as you can, as often as you can. Travel as a traveller and not as a tourist. Meet people not just places. Click emotions and not just selfies. And most importantly, let loose and follow your heart. And everything else will follow right back making sure you have your surreal experience too, just like Neeraj!


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