I was exhausted from living somebody else’s life.
Since childhood, I had been told what to do, how to act, who to be. I had been instructed through other people’s expectations, their demands, even their unspoken judgment, that the only way to be happy was to become a carbon copy of the people around me. And for many years, I was okay following in their footsteps. I was okay showing up to my office job, wearing the suit, playing the role, but that was the thing: I was playing a role. I wasn’t actually being my truest self.
I was tired of living someone else’s life. I wanted to live on my own. And I wanted my life to be amazing. I wanted it to be filled with adventure. I wanted to live with such unbridled passion that every bit of food would taste richer, every inch of sky would be brighter, every breath of air more alive.
Which is how I ended up in Himachal. It was a haphazard trip, really. I went there with only my plane ticket, a backpack, and the quiet, desperate knowledge that my life had to change. Something did. For two weeks, I followed a guide through the barren landscapes, along treacherous mountain passes, through bustling cities, and crowded slums. I met strangers on buses, and fell in love with every face that greeted me along the way. And I never wanted to leave.
On one of my last mornings in that magnificent land, I woke up to watch the sunrise. I stood out on a balcony overlooking Dharmshala, and as though to announce the beginning of a new life, an eagle flew overhead, calling out in the morning fog, calling out to me. It felt as though I were looking out across the whole of the world—filled with billions of lives and stories waiting to be heard, and adventures waiting to be lived. I wanted to meet every one of them. I wanted to honour their stories. I wanted to live and breathe and embrace adventure in such a way that it would become a part of my DNA, a thread so embedded in my life, I could never again exist without it. And there, on that balcony, on that fateful morning, I began to discover what it meant to live the Way of the Traveller for myself.
During that trip through Himachal, I discovered that the world held more than just landmarks. It held lifetimes of wisdom and centuries of dreams, both fulfilled and unfulfilled. Standing there, looking out at that magnificent sunrise, the eagle soaring ahead just as the first light of day crested the horizon, I realized that for once, I was finally living my dream. For once, I was authentically, brazenly alive.
I had dragged along a Travel Tangible Tool by Mandeha because insights have often been the great stimuli of my adventures, igniting my curiosity and driving me out into the world. At that point in my life, I felt like I was hunting my own white whale: I was searching for my purpose.
The law of inertia dictates that the first few movements toward transformation are always met with the most resistance, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of transforming. In fact, we have to change. We have to grow. We have to challenge ourselves, or we will—spiritually, emotionally, or even physically—die.
The Way of the Traveller is a different path for everyone. We don’t all meet at the same destination, and we certainly take different routes where as we definitely have our story of transformation.