Travel Breakthrough: Why I Stepped Back and How I'm Returning Stronger


Those little nudges in my head, reminding me to smell the roses before they wilt, suddenly made sense. As travel bloggers, they say our greatest passion is to explore. Life might take a backseat, but our wanderlust and desire to share beautiful content with the world never wanes. In the past three years, I've been asked countless times: What's going on? Where did I disappear to?

                                            Shifting Focus beyond Screens to Embrace Life's rawness in Himachal                  

Some have even joked they can't imagine me doing anything else. Yet, I've struggled to find a balance between settling down and continuing to wander, feeling like I have no roots or a place to call home, and I must!

In a time when packing bags is the norm for many vloggers, I've found myself taking things a bit slower. Sure, some may argue that taking a three-year break had put us behind in the competitive world of travel blogging, where everyone seems to be always on the go and living their best life. But for me, it was about finding what felt right.

Excitement and Connections

Today, I'd love to share why life is more than just travel—it's a beautiful part of it, but not the whole picture. While exploring new places can be magical, nothing compares to the warmth and comfort of loved ones back home. I've admittedly brushed aside this truth a few times, but both before and after Covid, reality has gently nudged me back to it.

Life Can Be Hard

Contrary to what others might think, I can't center my whole life around travel alone. Over the past three years, I've faced tough losses—from the passing of my father to setbacks in my relationship, fertility struggles/losses, and four bouts of Covid. With all these challenges, I've realized that while travel is something I enjoy, I'm still searching for whether it's my ultimate passion amidst everything else going on. Life can be hard sometimes, and we have to choose.

What Drives Me Now...

However, I haven't stopped traveling altogether, though I'm not always driven to document every moment on vlogs or social media. Why, you might wonder?

Mainly because I'm disheartened by the excessive exploitation of every corner of the globe in the name of exploration. It leaves me questioning whether future generations will have any sense of wonder left, as our relentless pursuit of new experiences risks exhausting the charm and curiosity of these places. 

  Dreams may be limitless, but places have their limits too.

          2021 was the last time I used my camera. Isn't travel supposed to be lightweight anyways?

The past three years also have been a tough journey filled with pain and loss, but they've also pushed me to seek deeper fulfillment beyond quick bursts of happiness. While I might love the idea of visiting 30 countries in a year, I also have to consider how much time I'd have left for my family and friends, who are integral parts of my life.

Lessons from Covid

Covid taught me that while travel can be exciting, it comes with challenges. For instance, think about the spouses of Merchant Navy officers—they might enjoy the constant travel, but it's still a job and can be draining.

Back in 2020, we all remember the height of Covid when hospitals were overwhelmed. I was living in New York, one of the first places in the USA to detect the virus. In December 2020, I attended the Global Travel Fair in New York and came back very sick. At that time, Covid tests were rare and only done in emergencies. My husband caught the virus from me, and we both had a 104-degree fever, a bad cough, and extreme weakness for over a month. It took a heavy toll on me, forcing me to cancel all my modeling assignments for the next two months because I couldn’t walk a mile without struggling to breathe.

After recovering, I traveled from New Jersey to New York for a modeling assignment. Despite wearing a mask, I had breathing difficulties after a woman next to me coughed badly. The clinic doctor in PPE advised a chest x-ray if symptoms persisted, as only severe Covid cases were being tested. The symptoms subsided with self-medication. That’s when I paused taking risks with my life knowing that my immunity has taken a backseat.

That same year, my father passed away in India due to medical neglect post lung disease. The rest of 2020 was spent grieving his loss and helping my family recover.

Realizations in Leh

The following year in 2021, we traveled to Leh as soon as flights no longer required Covid tests, but the crowded plane was overwhelming. We stayed for two weeks and enjoyed visiting apple orchards and flower beds, staying in homestays with home-cooked food, soaking in hot springs, and my partner's cycling excursions. Despite these pleasant experiences, we both ended up with an infection and had to be on steroids for almost a month.

It was then I realized I was stretching myself a little too much. It felt like my body was telling me to stop. Travel was an escape I enjoyed, but it could never make me whole.

           Many vloggers call this hamlet in Leh offbeat, but locals wash their clothes here and is very dirty...
                                     We couldn't stand here for more than 15 odd minutes. 

Seeking Healing

I needed time to heal and to let go of life's adversities. I went through intense fertility treatments(IVF), which unfortunately failed twice. That same year, I took on written assignments with tourism boards and brands, but my heart wasn’t fully in it. I needed to find emotional renewal after such distress, and that's something you can't achieve in front of a camera.

After that, everyone recommended we try Ayurvedic treatment, specifically Panchakarma. If you think it's all about spa treatments and massages, you're mistaken—that's just a small part of it. Real Ayurveda is tough, but when done properly, it can lead to a new you. However, the benefits don't happen immediately; they come after a month of recovery.

We stayed in Udupi for over a month. A friend showed us around the coast and temples, and we underwent Ayurvedic treatment. We played volleyball with newfound friends, shared cultural exchanges, and had lots of laughs.

Unfortunately, it backfired (yes, Ayurvedic treatments can have side effects no one warns you about). For the first time since my teens, my face broke out with pus and pimples, and it took me several months to recover.

                                               Me, playing water volleyball in the ocean
                                                  with new found friends from Ayurveda!

Embracing Slow Travel 

After that, we spent three months in Himachal, mostly in Dharamshala and Bir, and enjoyed countless simple, everyday experiences. We talked with locals, took walks, watched clouds drift by, strolled through mustard fields with views of the snow-covered Dhauladar, cycled in Bir, tried bhang with taxi drivers on Shivratri, picked rhododendron flowers, watched corn being harvested and dried, and just breathed and lived.

Living in different places for short periods made me recognize the importance of stability in each new "home" I temporarily settled in. Basics like access to groceries, friendship circles, healthcare, electricity, internet, and reliable utilities are crucial for a sense of stability. While this setup can be enriching, it can also present challenges. Our urban lifestyles often shield us from the day-to-day struggles, but smaller locales come with their own set of obstacles.

Living amidst the stunning sunsets in the mountains or the breathtaking snowy landscapes was initially exhilarating. However, with time, the novelty wore off. While we continued to appreciate these natural wonders, my partner began to feel bored after three months. He started craving change and missing home.

He no longer enjoyed the bus rides (45 minutes downhill) to the Dharamshala market for groceries, nor did he like being stuck indoors during the monsoon season.

Wherever I've stayed for an extended period, I've faced this recurring challenge: turning it into my home. When I do establish a place as my home, I expect it to have all the comforts and necessities right from the start, which can often be a financial investment. However, despite these challenges, the idea of having a permanent home in Dharamshala, where we could have our belongings and establish a sense of stability, still holds appeal for us.

This slow travel also made me realize how locals are starting to resent influencers—they see the environmental harm even as the economy gets a boost. I wonder why no one talks about de-influencing fast travel!

Holistic Healing in Coimbatore

After that, we went to Coimbatore for another Ayurvedic treatment, which pleasantly surprised me and opened doors to holistic spiritual healing. It was also enjoyable because the doctor was a friend's sister, and we had a great time both at the institute and outside, traveling together with their family.

Returning to Stability

Twelve years ago, I quit my job to embrace the unknown of travel. However, I found myself missing the financial stability it provided. I started working as a video anchor(journalist) for a local media channel, covering food, women entrepreneurs, and now animals.

                        Me as a journalist , interviewing Naina Jaiswal; National Tennis Player for local channel

After a year of hard work, I learned to appreciate the small things in life, like gardening, waking up with purpose, healing my body, and talking to locals every day. Yet, this job doesn't compare to my first love: travel.

It's frustratingly busy, leaving little room for my travel blogging endeavors to flourish. With only Sundays off and field work filling up the rest of my week, I often find myself using that time to rest, despite wanting to invest more of my imagination into travel blogging and vlogging. I occasionally find myself reminiscing about my IT career. Although the work was monotonous, it allowed me ample time for other activities, and the pay was good.

The essence of travel is undeniably alluring and addictive. Who wouldn't crave a life filled with endless adventures, meeting new people, and exploring new paths every week? However, life encompasses more than just travel.

Balance Amongst Complexities

I once tried to prioritize travel above all else, setting aside my other life goals. Yet, I came to realize that true happiness and contentment lie in finding a balance—a pace of travel that doesn't consume my entire life. I still aspire to nurture my marital life and pursue reasonable goals like having a place to call home, and I wouldn't trade those aspirations for anything.

Now I grasp the complexities of life. When my father passed away while we were living in the US, I couldn't be here in India, due to travel restrictions amidst the extreme Covid situation. It took me months to overcome the regret. I always longed to start a family of my own, but constant instability made it challenging to settle down and pursue parenthood.

By the time we were ready to root ourselves and undergo painful procedures, the obstacles seemed insurmountable. I initially believed that travel could fill the void left by these losses, but now I understand that hurried travel only provides temporary excitement.

Instead, deep, slow travel—immersing oneself in a place for months—has the power to heal. While it may be financially burdensome and challenging to take leave from a job, such travel doesn't negatively impact the places we visit and prevents us from becoming emotionally drained.

Certainly, adoption is an option, but it requires a deep sense of stability for the child we bring into our lives. Even if we decide to remain child-free, any long-term relationship eventually needs a sense of security—whether it’s a stable home, financial reliability, a companion we can enjoy life with or a family who can need us. While I've enjoyed solo travel, I've discovered that I gravitate towards people who make journeys more interesting and fun. It's about not simply accepting things as they are. Am I wrong somewhere?

This realization has shown me that both can coexist. I've found balance in my life by caring for my mother, and she, in turn, cares for me. Spending time with my three newborn nieces has brought moments of joy and hope, helping me heal from past losses that also strained my relationship.

Honestly, there are times when I wish I could fly off like I did ten years ago, with reckless abandon and endless wonder.

However, my heart now finds fulfillment in a life that extends beyond travel. I've come to understand that I am not someone who can find happiness in lavish hotels for a day or two or be content with a few drone shots, merely appreciating a view. Instead, I prefer to save and embrace stillness.

Perhaps being a nomad isn't suitable for everyone. Maybe in my 30's, I had different stories to share. I would rather be a traveler who has truly lived.

Finding a New Perspective

The universe has put me in the backseat for a reason. I began to see life differently, realizing that "you only live once - zindagi na milegi dobara" doesn't mean constantly chasing excitement. Instead, it means truly living and not missing out on life, at any given point in life.

Don't worry, my dear readers. Let's not feel disheartened. As Indians, we're already on the move constantly, breaking out of our comfort zones without anyone's urging. The real challenge lies not in exploring the external world, but in delving deep within ourselves and making the changes the world truly needs from us.

Traveling isn't something to be frowned upon. Yet, there are times when all we crave is the comfort and familiarity of being with our loved ones, cherishing the simple moments together. Remember how, after their adventurous trip to Spain, the "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" friends returned to Mumbai to revel in the joy of togetherness!

Certainly, when we are young, rebellion often defines us. Yet, as time passes, we evolve beyond it. We begin to see ourselves and others as flawed beings. With age comes a heightened awareness of life's complexities.

When faced with a breakup, traveling offers solace—a breath of fresh air, a change of scenery that heals. However, as we age, life's decisions become more daunting. Questions about stability, finances, healthcare, and familial responsibilities weigh heavily, often influenced by our desire to travel.

Our homes aren't merely unfulfilling spaces; they're the very purpose of our existence. But can we discover all the answers we seek beyond our home? Perhaps the key lies in transforming where we are, turning it into a welcoming haven for others.

Maybe we should adopt a slower pace of travel, embracing each location as our own, leaving a positive impact without causing harm. Maybe we must begin by calling the world "Our Home" rather than another "Offbeat Place" we can visit!

I now approach travel with intention and tranquility, seeking both purpose and peace in my journeys. Do I want to sacrifice one aspect of life just to boast about visiting 100 countries in life? Probably not!

So, stay tuned for updates that aren't fueled by social media, but rather reflect real-life experiences, genuine travel, actual challenges, and true moments of happiness!


  1. Hi Ankita. I have been reading your blog for years. What a heartfelt post. Life is tough but it’s tougher to express yourself like you did. I wish you all the best.

  2. Thank you so much Param. I am really glad that after all these years of my absence, your still came to my blog and read the article. Thank you so much for the wishes. Life can be indeed tough sometimes.


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