How Have I Managed To Stay On Road Since June 2017

DSC_0077

When I left my job in June 2017, I had a plan in mind. I wanted to take a break, work in a Himalayan NGO and then return with a fresh perspective for a new job inside a new cubicle.

So what when wrong/right that I am still on road, traveling covering one destination after another?

A lot of things happened that shaped my journey the way it is going on today. If you are thinking that I collaborated with brands and hotels for free stay then you are wrong. I mean look at my Instagram followers!

IMG_7040-3

When I resigned from my job, I went straight to Dharmashala and joined Waste Warriors as a volunteer. I realized that NGOs keep getting applications from those who are interested in field work but hardly anyone provides any other skill. I joined Waste Warriors Dharamshala as their content manager and in return I got a chance to join the field teams on their cleaning expeditions. If you were thinking that joining a Himalayan NGO was a free pass to all my problems then imagine carrying a 10 kg bag filled with plastic bottles thrown in every nook and corner of the region’s trekking trail. Doesn’t sound like a free pass now, eh!

Time went by and I decided to give a chance to another lifelong dream of mine. I always wanted to work in Ladakh and learn more about Snow Leopards. So I joined another NGO, again as a content writer. As a reward I got to visit an untouched Ladakhi village on a field trip.

Ladakh road trip

But when you are hopping between Himachal and Ladakh, NGOs don’t cover for your stay and food and transport unless you are going on a field trip. I made sure that I keep earning as I travel.

Being a content writer helps. My experience with digital media industry helped me more. I was soon pitching to brands with proposals to manage their content. This included their blogs, SEO, webs pages, if it was a travel company then I also provided services like itinerary planning. Even during this time, I didn’t think about getting my travel sponsored. I guess self-respect and not surviving on Parle-g and tea was more important than getting a night stay for free in some local stay home. I did experience this style of traveling when I was in my 20s and it lost its fun with the arrival of social media.

Slow but steady growth

DSC_2235

It took time for my work to start. I began with two clients, an Indian travel company and a perfume manufacturing company from USA. I made sure that I charge at-least INR 1 per word for my articles. The clients that couldn’t afford it were free to leave. The work was good but the money was often scarce. I was on a verge of giving up and taking a full time job in December.

Hardwork Pays

In November, after a little to and fro, I managed to get a blog contract for another travel company and soon two another contracts happened. My Instagram followers crossed 4k but by this time I realized how pretentious that world was, I lost my interest in any sort of collaboration.

_DSC0069

December was the first month when I got my paycheck at a time when my earnings from November were still safe. I had travelled to Cherrapunjee and was moving towards Rajasthan in a few days. The first thing I did was to book AC tickets for all the trains that I was traveling on.

And Then Came The Photography Gig

December was also the time when I got my first photography assignment. I had a DSLR but it was just because travel articles look more authentic with self-clicked photographs. I had already done a small photography project in Guwahati but somehow I cracked another project for a luxury hotel launch near Mandawa. It paid better than any of my content works but it involved so much running that I didn’t take any further assignment. Photography gigs are not something to be done alone, you need an assistant and next time when I get one, I’ll make sure that I am ready with my team.

Getting published

DSC_0078

This was the time when I decided to stop pitching to get new clients and get my travel articles published on prestigious platforms. I was now pitching to newspapers and magazines. With help of some established travel bloggers, I learned the perfect way to approach a publication and get the idea for your article across. The first platform that published my article was Manorama Online, soon my work was in print, Spice Jet’s In-flight magazine published my Kila Raipur story.

The Negative Side Of Freelancing

While the work is good, as a freelancer you are never sure when your clients go away. My job gives me freedom to work from anywhere but at times traveling gives you stress and you are not able to deliver the expected result. Despite all the shiny and glittery stuff, there are clients who’ll approach you with offers of paying INR 100 for a 500 word article. I always wonder if I should just say no or give them a mouthful. There are some small time clients that have not made payment in last two months, another client gave article credit to someone else. It is a huge ordeal to send a mail and then wait for their reply. The feeling of giving up is always there.

Tips On Earning While Traveling

_DSC0077

You don’t need to be a freelance writer or a photographer to get yourself going. Today, there are NGOs that require staff on full time basis, Hotels and hostels that require artists and even managers. While freelancing in India does take its time to get you established, my experience guarantee that in 4 to 5 months you’ll get a nice gig to sustain yourself. The demand for social media managers is at an all-time high. Recently I met a digital nomad who was providing physiological consultation in schools, another digital nomad was working with music festivals to sign up artists on a better deal. I know of a person who develops mobile apps while living in an exotic location or another for some time and then moving on. Many freelancers work at one location for three to four months and then go on month long backpacking trips. Freelance web designers are paid even better than writers but their work requires more commitment. You need to identify your jam and then make a move for it.

Patience Is The Key

It will take a lot of time. If you count the period since I am traveling, it took me at-least 5 years to get myself established. I have lost multiple social media campaigns because I don’t have Instagram followers the way these companies desire. Slowly, even I lost my interest with the kind of campaign suggestions I was getting and now I keep my expectations low. There are a majority of Indian sites for freelancing where you can keep pitching as per your interest and see how it turns out.

For me, it is not just about going to places and clicking nice pictures. I need to stay loyal to my clients and give them the product on the desired time and quality. In the lack of both, I’ll lose everything I have created and soon I’ll have to move to another cubicle job.

Feel free to come up with your queries and I’ll try to help you find a solution for the same.

28 thoughts on “How Have I Managed To Stay On Road Since June 2017

Add yours

  1. I’m so inspired by your story! It shows that hard work does pay off and nothing is impossible. I’m glad you didn’t end up giving up and going back to work full time. I’d like to suggest that you write a blog post sharing your tips for how to pitch articles to publications. I know that is a post I would love to read!

  2. It’s amazing how you decided to leave your job for something different! I do not have the guts to do that yet… but maybe in the future I will! Keep enjoying life ♡

  3. Great pictures! This is very inspirational, especially for two folks who are interested in creating the same type of lifestyle. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow! Awesome to know about you. Yes, its better to leave life in its own course! Planning much didn’t work out for me too! Life took its own course… Very true, free-lancing comes with its own set of difficulties and not exactly a cake-walk as some imagine.

  5. Thanks for the honest story about this type of life. I admire your courage and perseverence. The nomadic life is something that I’m working towards and this is a good reality check. We don’t see a lot of the struggle that digital nomads go through. Some make it look so easy, but this makes me feel like I’m on the right track.

  6. Thank you for this candid post. I am really hoping that I can find employment that allows me to travel, and I see lots of people who are just jumping into it and doing well so quickly. It makes me want to give up, but your story inspires me to keep trying until I find something that works for me.

  7. I find this article inspiring and terrifying at the same time. I have asked myself a few times I would be able to face such a big challenge as becoming a freelance digital nomad, and so far I prefer to say money on a full-time job. However, reading your story and lifestyle definitely gives me hope! Thanks for sharing your experience, and for talking about the good and the bad. Too many times I find articles about how great everything is and not mentioning all the challenges and bad experiences.

  8. Wow, knowing that you have joined the Waste Warriors Dharamshala as their content manager and in return you got a chance to join the field teams on their cleaning expeditions, I knew that you’ll go far on your travel journey. I truly adore you with your humble beginning before you can finally start pitching big companies as a content writer. I really feel your heart for volunteerism and that’s something, that really have inspired me. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience with us.

  9. What an inspiring story, it is really admirable that you did volunteer work and are living your dream. Kudos to you.

  10. Oh, I am in a process of switching to freelance, and I never thought it would be so painful. My work is now partly removed, and next step would probably be to leave it, which I am not confident. But I think I can visit the places I love only if I am freelance.
    Glad you made it and good luck with your trips.

  11. That’s great that you were able to quit your job and travel full-time. It is a dream of mine to do that as well. Freelancing can be nerve wracking–I tutor English as a Second Language, so I know how quickly jobs can dry up–but it sounds like you’ve found a good rhythm and it is worth it!

  12. Your article is so encouraging. It makes us realize just how important it is to follow your dreams and never give up no matter what. Working with NGOs can always be rewarding and it’s great that you managed to then find other alternatives that allow you to keep on traveling. And don’t get annoyed with people offering you as low as 100 INR for an article. Your work needs to be appreciated at its true quality and I am sure that people will no longer dare to offer you this kind of amounts. Keep on going and congrats!

  13. It’s so neat that you’ve managed to turn your life of traveling into a money-making endeavor that keeps you on the road! What an inspiration for the rest of us!

  14. Basically read this article of your on a manic Monday which is today such compels me to dream of quitting n living a life out of mundane chores .. all in all reality n behind the scenes is tough than it actually shows . But it’s definitely possible to chase your passion n be successful

  15. I am glad that freelancing suits you. It is tough at first especially for starters. I do have a fulltime day job, and still manage my blog, and accepts paid gigs, so technically my weekends are for my freelancing jobs.
    You have to learn how to balance time and demands of clients.

  16. I think the heading of the last section says it all, ” patience is the key”. While I’m not a full time traveler, I’m sure your tips and advice will certainly come in handy for anyone looking to sustain themselves while pursuing a nomadic life.

  17. Thats pretty awesome and i am kind off doing the same now after 20 years of working in the events and marketing field, i have left my job and focusing on freelance work and travel.. it takes a lot of courage and patience, but I am sure if one keeps hanging in there, it pays off in the end and is totally worth it

  18. I totally enjoyed reading your post and sharing as I got to know a lot more about your, your work, your struggles and what you are doing. I think its so wonderful, keep writing and sharing. You seem to go places that not many go.

  19. You sure have gone alot far and wide in your travels. I sometimes wish i can be this but i cant… Amazing to know there are people who do ehat they love regardless how tough it can be sometimes. Good job

  20. It is very difficult to have a normal life while traveling, a lot of hard work is required. Happy to know that your persistence and hard work is paying off. Great post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: