This Time Last Year – a Year in a Snapshot

This Time Last Year – a Year in a Snapshot

Woke Hostel, Arpora, Goa, India
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
I know, I know! I have not written anything for really a long time. But, in my defense, there was so much happening in my life that I just didn’t realize how time flew. Here I will try to summarize last one year of my life – not sure if words will do justice to my experiences, but I will try.
 
Exactly one year back I started a trip which I never thought will become a journey for me. Last year on 4th of September I landed in Goa to explore it differently and to volunteer with a backpacker hostel – Woke, Arpora. What I did as volunteer? Mostly guest interaction, handle hostel’s Instagram, and explore Goa along with guests. I was their first volunteer and they were my first volunteering experience.
 
I was there for about a month, met dozens of new people – some stayed in touch, some moved on and some became part of my life. One person I cannot thank enough, who helped me explore the side of Goa that I never thought existed, is Vamsi. Simplest, most humble, and helpful person I have ever known. He literally drove me around Goa. Thanks partly to my inability to ride a scooter and partly to pathetic public transport situation in the state. So I can safely say that most of Goa I explored was because of him and with him.
 
I am not sure how to summarize my experience of this month in words, so I would let my pictures speak for it.
While I stayed in backpacker hostels during my Europe trips, I never thought that this concept of backpacker hostels existed India and even if it did, I never imagined them to be this clean, safe, and interesting space for travelers. My first hostel in India was The Hosteller Manali, and since then I have not stopped exploring.
 
One month later I came back home with new energy but it wasn’t long that I started to miss the hostel life. Two months went by, I worked on some of my freelancing projects but thought of hostel never left my mind. I got another opportunity to be associated with a hostel, this time to work with one and setup processes and operations in Mumbai – Locomo Mumbai. It really made me realize that I can actually marry my experience as a consultant with my new found love for hostels in India.
Mumbai Local, Mumbai, India

After completing my work at Locomo, I headed back to Goa, somehow this place kept calling me back. Only this time, I met Ashwin and decided to take a leap of faith and decided to join hands with them to explore new opportunities in the space. I came back home for a wedding and before I know it, it was April this year. I spent about a month in Bangalore and next 3.5 months back in Goa managing Woke.

Woke Hostel, Arpora, Goa, India
In this last one year I did so many new things – finally I learnt to ride a scooter (I am not perfect, but I am trying), I swam with planktons in the ocean at middle of the night, explored new places with total strangers (people who know me since childhood know what an achievement this is for me), took people out on walking tours, petted cats and fell in love with them (I was not a pets person – I might be a cat person now) and much more. For the first time, I celebrated my birthday with people I didn’t know for long time but I felt comfortable being my stupid self with. To hell with people who judge!  
 
Now that I moved to Bangalore to pursue this partnership, I look back and feel as if it was just yesterday that I walked through those blue gates of Woke Arpora with Vamsi saying – Welcome to Woke, keep your bags here, let me show you around the property first!
 
Today, I feel excited to have embarked on this unexplored (for me) journey with faith and trust in people and destiny. I know the path won’t be all rosy, I don’t know where I will reach, and I don’t even know how long I will walk. Only thing I know is that I will not give up! Not anytime soon!

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