Live to Travel by Paul & Mona
To be able to wake up in a new country, perhaps to the song of an exotic bird; to look out of the window to an enchanting view – a forest, a beach, a mountain, a colourful street; to have the day spread out ahead of us like a blank canvas, eager to be painted with the colours of adventure; to experience diverse cultures, music, aromas, cuisines; to meet people for the first time and therefore not be judged on past impressions; to be able to start afresh; to make new friends; to experience more, discover, introspect, unlearn, learn, and most of all, only to be answerable to the person you love, are some of the many reasons we live to travel.
An indescribable feeling of absolute freedom consumed us as our train departed from our hometown Bareilly in India.
Jan 2nd 2014. We – Paul & Mona – were leaving for the greatest adventure of our lives. For years we had dreamt of traveling the world for as long as possible. It was finally time to live our dream.
Our plan to travel continuously began with a simple thought. The kind of thought that even if entertained to escape the monotony of a dull day at work, is soon forgotten. But it wasn’t. Refusing to yield to the collective intelligence of a society that advocates sacrificing the present to secure the future, the thought persisted.
And, one night, we decided that dreaming about our epic journey wasn’t enough – we had to actually make it happen. The question now was not ‘if or how’, but ‘when’.
To answer to ‘when’, we had to put a price tag on our dream and plan. Planning was exciting as expected. Once our plans began to take shape, saving, although fuelled from sacrifices, was rewarding – every Indian Rupee saved meant more to spend.
It’s remarkable how much can be accomplished when you set a goal. We cut down on all expenses and managed without things that were not absolutely essential. In 9 months we had saved the figure we had in mind – it should have taken us almost 1.5 years.
In December 2013, we quit our jobs and sold all our stuff. We then went home to our hometown to spend Christmas with our families before leaving for our trip.
At that time, our decision did not make sense to anyone. We were living the Indian version of The American Dream – both of us had high paying IT jobs and most things that money can buy.
(Things don’t work the way in India as they do in the West. It’s very difficult to get good jobs. And, because there is no concept of aid or social security, people only leave their jobs if they find a better one).
Don’t get us wrong – we were grateful to be living the good lives we were, but good was not enough. We wanted much more.
So when we announced that we had quit our jobs to travel, most people thought that we had lost our minds. Some refused to believe us, and a few thought that we had been fired (and that we were saving face by saying that we quit).
But that was that. It was a small price to pay for getting to live our dream.
As we write this nearly 5 years later, both of us can honestly say that we didn’t imagine that things would fall so perfectly in place. Life couldn’t have turned out better.
We have come to believe that if you truly want something and work towards it, life will present opportunities and make you strong enough to overcome the obstacles that come along your way. It’s about taking that ‘first step’, and not trying to figure out how everything will fall in place. The biggest decisions of life shouldn’t be taken on the basis of calculations.
Since the time we began following our instinct instead of doing what others do, we’ve been doing just great. Though it seemed like a huge risk back then, quitting our jobs to travel turned out to be the second best decision of our life. (Getting married was the best – we have been together for 12 years).
Life has been a series of adventures since. Photographs of our travels, pasted all over our house, are a constant reminder of our absolutely wonderful journey. We have explored 33 countries since, and this is only the beginning.
In case, you are wondering – yes, we did eventually find work in London. Living in and exploring London has been great too. We get to experience life in another country and explore Europe from here. And, who knows, if things work out for us, we might get to shift to another continent and explore more countries from there.
Once again, we are working towards traveling until the end of our lives. This probably won’t make sense to most people, but, when the time is right, we will do it anyway.
Though we have had amazing times in many countries, Thailand is where our hearts lie. We have explored Thailand 23 times during the past 9 years (24 in December 2018). Each trip has been unique, and as our understanding of Thailand has evolved so has our love grown for this proud Buddhist nation.
One of the ways we plan to sponsor our future travels is through our Thailand Travel website – Toast to Thailand. Our website, Toast to Thailand, is a guide for those visiting our favorite county – Thailand.
More About Us – https://toasttothailand.com/about-us/
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