[Photo Source: Facebook/The Shooting Star]
Not every twenty-something has it in them to give up their job and live out their dream—but Shivya Nath is no ordinary twenty-something. Having quit a corporate job at 23, Nath has gone on to become one of the top travel bloggers in India. She tells us all about her adventures across the globe, what helped her take the plunge and how she deals with sticky situations on her own.
Nath’s globetrotting began unintentionally, although the desire to travel was latent within her for quite a while. After graduating from college in 2009, she landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board and learned the intricate workings of a successful social media campaign—which are skills that still make her a popular choice as a social media consultant.
During her stint as a social media strategist in Singapore, Nath entered a contest and won two tickets to Paris. The trip to western Europe, combined with a volunteering opportunity to develop responsible tourism in the remote Spiti desert in the northern Himalayas, put things in perspective: Nath realized that the cubicle-bound nine-to-five job was not for her. In the middle of crowded Parisian streets and the solitude of the quiet mountainside, she found her true calling.
Nath told BBC Travel the story of how she quit her job to travel.”I had experienced and lived more in those two months than in all my 23 years, and knew I wanted to make a fresh start,” she shared. “I quit my first and only corporate job within the week, [and] I revived my blog, The Shooting Star, with a travel focus—and I started to travel the world.”
Since then, her journey has been extraordinary. Talking about this big change, Nath said, “I lived off my savings for the first six months, traveled constantly, blogged relentlessly, pitched for freelance work tirelessly and relied on my virtual social networks for support.” And it all paid off: in 2013, she was awarded India’s Best Travel Blogger.
Since Nath freelances as a travel writer too, she often gets press invites from tourism boards as well. And being on the road has its own unique rewards—swimming with black-tip sharks on Malaysia’s east coast, living with the White Thai tribe in Vietnam and hiking across eastern Europe are just some of the many offbeat experiences Nath has had.
[Photo Source: Facebook/The Shooting Star]
According to Nath, her most fulfilling adventures have included living with young nuns in Ladakh, indigenous chocolate farmers in Costa Rica and a Mayan family in Guatemala. She said that what she enjoys most about her experiences “is interacting with people, who on the outset seem far different from me, yet have the same soul—that travel really impacts and fulfills me.”
With many years of travel behind her, Nath is enthusiastic about her dream destination. “I have been dreaming of going to Japan for the longest time, slowing down, experiencing the whims of the local culture, witnessing cherry blossoms in all their glory, rubbing shoulders with Buddhism, and delving into the world of Japanese literature and poetry,” she said.
On her blog, The Shooting Star, she advises those who want to take up traveling full time to “know that you really want to travel.”
“Traveling long term is not the same as a luxury vacation,” Nath stated frankly. “When you travel more days than you stay at home, you’re not only on a smaller budget, but also quickly tire of sightseeing and superficial experiences. Ask yourself if you really like being out of your comfort zone for long periods. Then club your long weekends and annual leave, give yourself a realistic budget, travel for at least a month at a stretch, and determine whether a life of travel is really for you.”
Nath suggests making travel and rainy day funds to help along the way—and stresses the importance of figuring out ways to make money after quitting a regular job. Networking and the backing of the organization where one has worked help in getting freelance assignments while on the road.
She also warns potential travelers to ‘prepare for a lonely journey ahead’. Though she feels it is very important to keep someone you trust in the loop about your whereabouts at all times, she is realistic about handling things on one’s own. On her blog she says, “…even now, after all these years, when I feel lost, I only have myself to rely on and figure a way out.” She is candid about ways to break ones offbeat lifestyle choices and plans to one’s family—and suggests doing it slowly and with baby steps. For inspiration, there is nothing like turning to like-minded travel buffs!
The future looks bright for the adventurous youngster. For now, Nath wants to focus on “making my blog more financially sustainable in the coming years, and will be looking at hiring my first employee soon.”
Follow along with Nath on her adventures via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.