April 1st, 2012
Exactly one year ago, I set out from my little rabbit hole to explore the World and find out what exactly was my role in this complicated World. A year later, I’ve learnt a great many lessons from amazing places and people alike.
Allow me to talk you through my journey over the past year.
My last day as an employee of a corporate sweatshop. I’ve been handsomely rewarded for my time but that’s the problem. I’ve grown too comfortable with my life to even question whether this fat paycheck, a new computer, another exorbitant dinner is what I wanted from my life and my time. Breaking out from the system is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I don’t even know I’m a part of the system.
AIDS, malaria, hunger, global warming to name a few are silently killing our future while we’re all asleep. What could be more noble and fulfilling than saving the World. Working with an NGO shows me that there is still some hope. Nice people who care about our future do exist. Unfortunately it also shows me a dark side of human nature – money matters a whole lot more than what we’d care to admit. Without money to incentivize people, efficiency plummets. In these circles bureaucracy is the weapon of choice. With a loss of faith in NGOs and corporations I’m left with little choice but to strike out on my own.
But while I’m in South America, I may as well have a little wander around.
Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Suriname, Thailand, Singapore, India – you’ve read about it here. The World’s beauty continues to astound me and remind me that our existence is fragile. Camping atop Mount Roraima which stood alone for centuries is a testimony of our ability to conquer anything.
The problem is that we don’t stop there. Rapid deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil, illegal diamond mining in Guyana, relentless trawler fishing in Thailand are all destroying, in a heartbeat, habitats that took years on end to evolve. It dawns on me at this stage that if we let our greed run unbridled, very soon there won’t be much left.
Most small businesses fail. Who were we to break the norm. Seeing an opportunity in the market, we throw caution to the winds and jump right in. Selling Italian sports shoes in the Worlds fastest growing economy is great business. But the Gods were against us and so were the Italians. However, while it lasted, working for myself was satisfying, liberating and incredibly efficient. Let me explain this new found efficiency. If I felt like sleeping at 10am, I took a nap. If I was working, I was working and not toggling between screens wishing I were somewhere else. I now understand what it is to be master of your own destiny. And it feels good. Moving on, its time for plan B.
The lack of a plan B leads to a mini-retirement. Retirement is to work as marriage is to romance – the end goal (I’m kidding). However before spending my entire life working towards this elusive retirement, I spend 3 months on a mini retirement. I live by the beach and do nothing. Mainly because I have nothing to do. I wake up every morning and (if not hungover), head to the beach for a run.
3 days later…I’m bored. 3 months later…I’m ready to pay someone for work. And this is when it becomes blatantly obvious that retirement is not for me. I will work as long as I can but not for money. I intend to work to earn the satisfaction of having worked and for the joy of creating, building, contributing and learning among other factors.
While spending time on the beach, it becomes very apparent that beach side dwelling places in Goa can do with a facelift. Frogs jumping on you in the showers doesn’t make for a good guesthouse experience. After countless hours of speculating, house hunting, constructing and gardening, Asterix Hostel is born. A few reviews later and we’re at the top of Hostelworld and Hostelbookers as the best hostel in Goa by overall rating. And that’s where we stand right now.
With so much happening in the past year, I find that I still don’t know the answers to most of the questions I began to ask. I’ve come to realize that it’s ok to not have answers but it’s still incredibly important to question everything. Accepting status quo is a disease that will prevent you from achieving the impossible. And with that philosophy in mind, it’s time to see what the next year has in store for us..
Thank you for following my journey here at theOrangeMango over the past year. Stay tuned for stories from a crazy unplanned motorcycle road trip through the beautiful slopes of Nepal..