“I came across the word Fernweh for the first time when I was looking for travel images on Google, to find a suitable one that I can use as my wallpaper. One that I can stare at, and stare at long enough that it might instigate me to pack my bags and go. Just disappear to some faraway land.
Fernweh means exactly that – an ache for distant places, the craving for travel.”
I quit my job on 25th June, 2015, after having spent three years as a copywriter in advertising, in Mumbai, a city notorious for its acidity-inducing pace and a demand for more and to be more. I had reached a point where I desperately wanted a break. I desperately wanted to do nothing and do everything. I desperately wanted to be more than a mere existence. I wanted to travel. I was willing to trade an arm and a leg to be somewhere else. Anywhere else.
You see, sometimes you gotta stop doing whatever you are doing and believe in the magic of the universe. How it will come sneaking behind you and give you the best surprise of your life, by perfectly aligning the stars. All you have to do then is just nod your head. And get ready to sashay down the red carpet of your life like a blithe idiot.
After quitting my job on an impulse, (an impulse I have been working on for over a year) I tried to keep myself busy by religiously driving myself sick with a desire to travel and wondering how to actualise it or just to die slowly and gradually having not realised it. Not a single day went by when I wasn’t gliding through the zillion listicles on the internet that passive-aggressively recommended places that I should visit this year, THIS MONSOON SEASON, THIS LIFE TIME, BEFORE DEATH DEFINITELY FOR SURE GOD PROMISE. If sighing in despair burnt calories, I would have had a six-pack by now.
May be I succeeded in turning my despondency into the magical energy that universe works on. May be it was the perfect alignment of stars. May be it is something I cannot possibly explain and hence I need to write the next sentence that will tell you what happened.
Abhinav, who is the co-founder of Xplorience, contacted me and told me about a 30-day-long road trip through Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, and asked me if I would be able to be a part of the journey and contribute creatively.
It took me all my might not to yell OFCOURSE on the top of my lungs but be civil about it, and gracefully accept the invitation, with the hashtags #MagicOfUniverse #PerfectAlignmentOfStars. #IcantBelieveThis #TooGoodToBeTrue #AreYouKiddingMeHellYeah glowing in vivid neon colours in my head.
So here I am, with 9 other people who I met for the first time, heading towards the northern most part of India, which I will be beholding for the first time. SNOW. For the first time. Undulating, formidable mountains. For the first time. And my fellow travellers, who couldn’t be more different from each other, whether it is professionally or personally. An astronomer, a dancer, a musician, a painter, a yogini, bona fide vagabonds, poets, writers and a copywriter. And 30 days. I cannot wait to dive deep into each one of them, hear their stories, tell them mine, spot the analogous patterns that inexplicably lace our collective lives, get amused by my discoveries, secretly make mental notes to ponder over later at night, wake up in the middle of my sleep next to a stranger and feel absolutely safe about it, let myself be overwhelmed and terribly humbled, let myself love and be loved and most importantly, let myself lose – hopelessly and fiercely, to Fernweh.