Travelling is the new BlACK. The idea of travelling seems to excite everyone these days. As an 80s kid growing up in one of the modest village of South India, never heard about someone taking passport until and unless the person is going abroad for work. Today, this is not the case.The Millenial Generation is open to explore, learn and live differently. Most of them count their years by countries travelled and not by the money stack they managed to save up.
Abhishek Bharadwaj is a part of this new age youth in finding ‘Hygge’. Hygge is a Danish word for a complete state of contentment and wellness. Read this interview excerpt to know more about Abhishek and his take on travelling.
Give us a self-introduction to get to know more about you
I’m just another regular guy who happened to walk a mile further, spent an hour extra for his dreams. Whenever in doubt or scared, I chose to say ‘Yes’ to new opportunities. An ‘Yes’ to a non profit made me represent India at United Nations Environment Program in USA when I was 13.I said yes to a speaking opportunity and that led to me to start the Chennai chapter of ‘Startup Weekend’. One thing led to another and I always welcomed, everything with open arms and worked hard to complete everything I said yes to. I got several chances to represent India at various international forums and this really helped me learn a lot of diverse cultures. Coming to my regular side of life, I work as a Product Manager at PayPal and I love my work. When I’m not working, you can guess it, I spend my time traveling and exploring.
How many countries have you traveled so far and which is your favorite destination?
I have visited 14 countries so far and some of them multiple times. My favourite destination is Ireland. I think the people there really know how to enjoy life and have fun. I also have a special bias towards Ireland as this travel opportunity came when I was at a low point in my life. I was invited to speak at the Accelerator Summit a sub conference at the Web Summit, the biggest technology and startup conference. I still remember the first day when I was walking the streets of Dublin, I had a wide smile on my face throughout.
Why do you travel?
To find a meaning to my life, to find my purpose, to understand myself better etc. Well, I travel for none of those above mentioned reasons. I understand a lot of people derive a lot of meaning for travel, but for me traveling is plain simple.It seems to elongate life. Imagine spending a year doing exactly the same thing, three years and then five years. Now when you look back, you have nothing to cherish and suddenly those 5 years look like 1 major time block. When we travel and see new places and experience different places, looking back fills life with so many beautiful memories. Suddenly you feel that you have lived a lot in that short duration. Travelling slows down time for me. Months pass in a flick when I’m sitting at my cube. When I travel, I suddenly feel I’m doing a lot and living more. It makes me feel alive.
Share one of the most mesmerizing stories that you have had experienced while traveling.
It was my first day in Dublin. I was 24 back then and travelling in the local Irish bus. It was 10 p.m. in the night and the bus was pretty empty. I wanted to get down on O’Connel street and I asked this girl when the setup will come. She gave me a beautiful smile and said she is getting down at the same stop. She was 19 and was from Romania. We started talking and when the stop came, she asked for my number. I never expected her to call back, but she did call the next day and asked if we can go out. I was at the conference and we decided to meet at 1 a.m. when her shift gets over. I was happy and scared. I also ran through the possibilities of getting mugged in the streets if this girl turns up with her gang. I decided to take a risk. I locked my wallet, phone, passport in the hotel safe and went to see her from the bridge with nothing with me. Well, she was alone. She took me around and showed me the best Irish nightlife, secret pubs and places. We were out in the streets enjoying till 4 am in the morning. It was beautiful.
What are your other passions and do you lead a hippie life?
I don’t lead a hippie life, but I really wish to spend a year traveling in an RV.
I’m passionate about startups and technology. I read a lot about them. Off late I have been inclined more towards liberal arts and I spend time learning and doing creative things like reading, writing, learning to make cinematic videos, reading a lot about the history, the origin of humans etc.
The millennial travelers, any advice to them!
When you spend out there 10% time taking pics and 90% enjoying the place and not the other way round.
If you could pack only 5 items to an international travel, what would be those items on your list?
Phone with internet, power bank, 3 pair of clothes, water bottle and protein bars. The list looks too practical, but I have used this for a lot of international travel.
Do you earn by travelling?
If by earning you mean money, then I I don’t earn by traveling as of now.
A message to cherish
Chase your dreams and do what makes you happy. Life is too short to have regrets.