Sanjay Dhawan

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.” - Mark Twain

Sitting in front of the laptop, while trying to work on a client document, our minds slowly drift away to the great holiday we’ve probably just got back from or we might even start planning the next trip to a post that we saw on Instagram of an unknown, never heard before destination.

Travel is often a wonderful stressbuster that takes you away from your hectic work schedules -- an ideal way to rejuvenate oneself. Today’s generation is more adventurous and willing to travel to offbeat places and create new memories as they go along. Similarly, and yet not surprisingly, travel is also one of the top items on the Wishlist of all retirees, like me. 

Almost everyone wants to enjoy visiting new destinations, making new friends, ticking places off their bucket list. I must admit that after a long and successful career at PwC India, I am no different.  I had shared the news of my early retirement over LinkedIn (Read here)  where I shared this intense desire to travel and see more of this wonderful gift of nature that we tend to ignore, buoyed down by our routines and busy lifestyles.

Throughout the pandemic, I too was working from home for the most part and in those 12-15 hour working days that were crammed with video calls and client meetings, my 20-minute lunch break routine would be me seated in front of the TV watching a travel blog. My wife would always ask me in good humour, "Accha toh aaj kahan travel kar ke aaye?" (translated to: “So, where have you travelled today?”).

I would also find myself watching a travel show hosted by a leading travel content creator on YouTube. While watching his episodes I would feel as if I have teleported to that location and holidayed with him.

The travel content creator was inundated with requests from his subscribers to allow them to travel with him. So, in February 2022, he invited his followers to send a note explaining why one would like to ‘Untravel’ with him. For me that was probably the best opportunity to kick-off my travel adventures. (For the record, I have covered more than 75 countries - maybe a 50:50 split between work and holiday).  So, when I sat down to write that note, I poured my heart out and even offered to work as an understudy.

After three weeks of sending the note, I got a call from an unknown number on my phone and I immediately recognised his voice at the other end of the line.  He mentioned that he had already received 700+ entries but found my note to be the best (I am sure my years of working in the consulting industry and writing client reports had a role to play in this).  He invited me to join him for a four-day trip with five other travellers in the last week of April. I did not hesitate even for a second to say - Yes!!!

What followed thereafter was a long wait till the date of travel and the four days of travelling together was a trip that I shall remember throughout my lifetime.  I can’t even begin to explain the experience.  The YouTube episode does a much better job of that. Honestly, even that cannot truly depict the amount of fun and the bonding experience we built on the trip.  My co-travellers are now friends for life. Since the trip, few of us have already met over drinks, coffee, and dinner and a couple of them have planned the next trip, in a smaller group.

Ask yourself: Where should I travel next? And in case you are looking for company, you know whom to ping.

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