From paranthas to cereals for breakfast, breaking the boundaries of being born in a joint family in small town India, this young boy found his exploring gene by choosing to live alone and study in unknown lands.
As a child, growing up in Jalandhar, I was fascinated listening to stories of people living in different cities and travelling to different places all across the world. Far off lands were a fantasy for someone tucked away in a small town of Punjab.
Boarding school launches me into the big wide world
My family had a tradition of sending off the children to boarding schools when they entered teenage years. I saw my fantasy turn to a possibility when I saw my brothers difficult but exciting life kick off as they left home. Soon after, I found myself packed off to Mayo College, Ajmer. And my life changed forever. The next 5 years were nothing less than a roller coaster ride.
Yes I cried alone in my room for hours, I felt homesick and I hated the food? but, I also got lifetime friends, I got to meet people from various cultures, I got to travel to places which I would never have visited otherwise. I started representing my school at various events both in India and abroad. That phase taught me how to cope in unknown situations, it helped me evolve, it made me appreciate different cultures. And also it helped me to discover my love for travel.
I was the first person in my family to study abroad
After my graduation at Mayo, I chose to study abroad. Not coming from a travel loving family, this came as a surprise to all. Travel for my family meant going on a holiday in domestic locations or visit a bunch of relatives on special occasions. Thankfully, my parents were always supportive of my decisions and so they sent me to the UK to study and experience life first hand. They said ?no matter where you live, you should be happy, that?s what matters.?
Soon I started pursuing Media and Communications at Loughborough in 2015. I didn?t know what was ahead of me.
When paranthas got replaced by cereals
Of course, my life changed. And personally I think I was ready for that change. Living in a totally different city, with people from all cultures, making food myself, doing my own laundry and what not. The paranthas were replaced by cereals and I had never missed dal chawal this much in my entire life. Yes it was difficult in the starting, but as they say, everything falls into place in the end. I started appreciating the things which I somewhat criticised back home. Everything was new for me there. There were things I saw, ate and experienced for the first time in my life. I got to try so many different cuisines and got my favourites out too things I hadn?t even heard of before.
Moving countries turned me into an explorer
Living in a dorm with Indians, to moving into an apartment with the British, I moved ahead with rapid self growth. I started making trips to nearby cities and started exploring the British culture and trust me, I fell in love. Every weekend, me and a couple of my other friends would hire a cab and set off to explore a new place. I have never felt so happy in my life. It was just that aura and that place that was doing everything.
Learning how to travel solo
Around the end of the first year, I decided I now needed to explore beyond. That feeling of excitement while you are visiting a new city is just different. You realize life is much more than your own personal problems. After my exams, I decided to go to Leeds, York and Blackpool to explore the other side of the UK. No one joined me but that didn?t stop me either. I went alone, met new people, roamed around with them and interestingly they are one of my best friends today.
I want every country stamped on my passport now
From my second year, I have decided to explore at least two countries in all my holidays throughout the year rather than coming back home. When you sit at home and get that feeling that, oh I wish I could see visit this place, or I will someday go her,? Well you need to make that someday TODAY. You have to start learning to make your own choices. As people say, ?what is that one thing you wanna do before you die?? I say, I need every countries stamp on my passport. That?s what my goal is now.
My going away has brought me closer to my family
It?s been six years since I have been away from my parents, but now I feel that I have become even more close to them. It?s been so many years and I have zero regrets. Having my own ups and downs, has given me the strength to live and overcome any difficulties. I now live my life on my own terms and I think that?s the way it should be. I say my parents have given me the greatest gift anyone could have given, the gift to explore, to travel and living an independent life, and I cannot be more thankful to them.
5 reasons as to why every parent should let their child live in a new city at least once in his/her life:
1 It completely changes you as a person. You learn how to live independently. You start feeling confident about yourself.
2 You discover things about yourself that you might not have discovered otherwise. (My cooking skills are on point now, apparently)
3 You get to visit new places, blend with people from different cultures, learn and get to know so many new things.
4 You get a positive approach to life. Never have I felt so happy and positive in my life before.
5 One of the best things travel teaches young adults? learning to let go.