When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
It’s been 9 months now, since we had conceived a new way of life for ourselves – A nomadic journey of sorts, travelling in Europe with our 22 months old daughter, keeping our base at Konstanz in Germany. We continue to live in a single hotel room, which we very fondly, call our home, with the bare minimum necessities that we call our belongings. We continue to travel with three luggage ( One small suitcase, one 40 L backpack, one laptop backpack) and one stroller at all times, irrespective of the distance and duration of our stay at any place. And that has been pretty much it. Interesting right ? It indeed is.
But what’s even more fascinating is our story behind the scenes, offstage, outside of social media – Our real life – which is very much like yours – an intriguing mix of rolling laughter and crying spells.
Also read: Apartment Hotel: Home away from home
Real life, begets real issues, unlike what we see on social media.
Sometimes I too, do wonder, what is it that will really make me HAPPY. In spite of having it all, there is a dull ache, and an yearning for more. My heart is filled with gratitude, but also with longingness to be something more.
More than, just being a wanderer, my life has taken a complete U-turn, since we moved in here. Everything that was normal back in India cease to exist in my life now. And to top that list, is the very fact that i had a full-time job there, which, now, i don’t. Well bringing up a toddler isn’t any less than a full-time job :). But what i mean to say here is, i do not have a go-to-place where i can work and expect a salary at the end of the month come what may. Though everything else is so honky dory in my new way of life, quite often a strange feeling of insecurity envelopes me and i must confess, it very often, turns into sleepless nights. I sdo have a loving, caring, understanding and an extremely supportive husband. But it isn’t about him, it’s about me and my emotions – a mountain of self-inflicted guilt and insecurities.
What do you think anyone should do, if, faced with such a situation ?
Well, for me, it wasn’t so easy, till about a few months back. Long before, i could realize, what really was bothering me, so that i could pick myself up to do something about it, and not sulk everyday, I got eaten up slowly by the Conceptualised Self – my recently acquired in capabilities of having an identity that i could identify myself with – that somehow. i believed, came from a Job or a Paycheck. Its sad, but we are really harsh on ourselves, at times, to put our worth down to the value of a Paycheck. So in that context, my value was ZERO. It continues to be so.
To recover from the setback that these weird emotions were leading me to, I started to look out for jobs, in spite of being cognizant of the fact that finding anything here in Konstanz was next to impossible. But that didn’t stop me, and i started to apply to more than at least 20 openings everyday, anywhere within Europe.
And then, i started receiving, a series of well crafted soft mailers from these organisations saying, how much they liked me yet they can’t hire me, because I couldn’t speak in German, or i wasn’t based out of the same city, or that they are looking for someone who would fit more into the profile ( as my profile is more of a Generalist than a Specialist – From hard-core sales, to sale support, digital marketing and then digital product manager. Phew ! I think i took this figure of speech rather seriously – “Jack of all trays and master of none” :). And this is what i have on my résumé – A mish mash of everything – which has been a logical and organic shift for me, but never perceived in the same way by the interviewer, barring a few.)
Was it really coming to an end ?
Rejection, that too to the count of few hundreds over few months can’t be taken up with any kind of optimism. You surely feel miserable. Your world comes crashing down, before its perceived disastrous end. No amount of travel could really keep me motivated to apply for more jobs or for that matter learn German, when i had no idea where my daughter would go, while I learn the language sitting in a class( Getting a day care here is an incredibly difficult task). So I stopped. And my world of desire for jobs that dint belong to me anyways, came to a disastrous end, on its own.
When you are happy, you bring out the best in yourself. Don’t take it light.
Few weeks later, when i found myself in a happy space again, I started to write, just like that, about random things. I also made a few of my very close friends read the raw drafts. And there came all the encouragement and cheer, when they said – ” You make sense. You must write.” And there has been, no looking back since then. I kept writing, though I wasn’t really sure of who my audience was. What came out from the deep recesses of my mind, wasn’t easy to comprehend to be pointed to one set of people who may relate to it. It was all mixed, quiet random – a glorious cocktail of all my emotions manifested through different stories and events. There was no one thing, that i wanted to talk about. I wanted to express everything, that I felt about everything. I knew somewhere deep down, that i will never have any audience this way.
Or may be I did believe, that someday I will get there.
Footinstincts happened. I found a way to express myself, through travel and photography. I also found my audience who could connect with me. I reclaimed my life, my smile and my peace of mind back. While i still didn’t earn any money, I also realized, it wasn’t really about money after all. It was about who I am, and what made me feel content and worthy of anything. I was happy and on a high. Life was quite good. I had clarity on what I wanted to do. Just when i was about to dive in deep into my new-found love interest of writing while I traveled and photographed the world around me and become a storyteller, there was something else waiting around the corner to take me off my path and pace.
When you think, this is it, you will definitely be up for surprises
Few weeks later, when i was savoring on some home-made caramel custard at a local restaurant sitting by the magnificent view of Atlantic Ocean at Lanzarote, i got a mail in my inbox from the HR of an organisation, who had liked my profile and wanted to meet me at the earliest. I just couldn’t believe what i had read. I felt quite happy and excited about the fact that i wasn’t really shooting in the dark all this while. However, i felt little disappointed, for i had to change gears and hop on a different ride altogether. Somewhere deep down, I didn’t want any kind of distraction from working on cultivating my finally found passion. But as you would have guessed, who can let go a rare-to-find job interview, whose only criteria, apart from the pros of the mish mash background that i have, was that i was proficient in the language of English.
So as soon as we were back in Konstanz, we met online, they liked me and I was qualified for a second round of interview at their site, which until then, i hadn’t realized, had to be reached post travelling through 1 hour by ferry, 15 min by bus and then 2 km of walking. However difficult it may sound, the journey wasn’t so uncomfortable both ways and i was quite kicked about it, as it would have given me 2 hours of ME time which i could use for writing and reading – I was way too optimistic about everything that was happening. And the funniest part was – more than getting the job, I was thrilled about the time I would have in the bargain to do what i was feeling really passionate about.
The on site meeting( read as interview) lasted for 8 hours. All that I could hear during these 8 hours were praises and appreciations on the hard work that i had put in for presenting on their case study which was a real life problem that they were facing( Yeah i had put in more than a couple of hours on it, researching through the product in detail as i had no background of it). There were about a dozen of people sitting through my interview through the day, who kept taking notes and throwing in random questions at me. I had a delicious vegetarian lunch at their office and absolutely loved the ambience and the people. I had already started to visualise how my day would look like if i had got the job which dint seem quite difficult given the fantastic day I had with all of them. I was promised I would get an answer ( read as offer) by the end of that week.
Have patience to wait for the right things to happen at the right moment
Few weeks passed, and for the sake of not sounding desperate, i stopped myself from chasing them for a response ( read as offer). During this wait I wasnt really able to focus on my writing either. I was anxious and nervous. The delay from their end was not natural. It was attributed to another interview which happened weeks after mine, and they had finally decided to go ahead with him and not me, for a variety of reasons inexplicable – What came as a music to my ears was – ” It was a difficult pick. We had really liked you and your diverse background. But we think you would fit in a marketing role far better than a product role. You are a great sales person.”
The HR was kind enough to offer me another interview for a smooth end to our conversation, with a function that they thought i may fit better, which unfortunately i did believe in, and went through the same process again after few weeks, only to get rejected one more time. This time quite bluntly – my presentation wasnt up to the mark ( Ofcourse it wasnt. I knew, I wasnt doing any justice to myself, by appearing for these interviews, when all i wanted to do was write and never go to a place where i would just look occupied, with my heart and soul devoid of the real essence of working for my passion).
This whole episode, broke my heart and just when i had imagined a certain life in a certain way, everything fell apart. I didn’t have the motivation to get back to either – finding another job that would convert into a potential interview or write for my blog. I was in a constant state of dilemma – whether to run after a certain life, job and money or to listen to my heart and cultivate my passion( After all it takes an entire lifetime for many, to realize what they really love to do. Few, do not realize ever. At least i knew. How could i be agnostic to what my heart was yearning for? All these years I lived because i had to, with no ambition, with no clarity of where I was going, why I was doing what i was doing. Now when I realized, I was turning my back to it as if I never really cared about it anyways. I was lying to myself and it suffocated me. I wanted to break free.
Amidst a sea of things that had turned my life upside down, i was also blessed with far more possibilities and opportunities to rediscover and see myself in a new light altogether. I embraced those opportunities with open arms and however cliché it may sound, I did make lemonade with the lemons life gave me.
So, this is where I stand today!
I have the opportunity to travel, so I travel. I feel the urge to write, so i write. I love photography, so i never leave home without my phone – to capture every possible moment that i can associate with a happy and a refreshing memory. I get all the time to spend with my daughter who is growing so fast that its difficult to catch a glimpse of every small development that’s happening on a daily basis. I now know who my real friends are, after i came so far away. They are beyond social media and no distance can ever fade away the freshness of my relationship with them. I cook my own food and wash my own clothes and vessels. I have less and have very less to worry about. I turned a Vegan a month back because i felt that’s the least i can give back to the world i live in. I have been reading extensively about sustainable living and trying to bring those practices into our lives here so that we can reduce our overall carbon footprint. I share my learning and experiences with the world around me so that they can relate and understand that nothing is impossible.
Also Read: Turning Vegan: Making a sustainable lifestyle choice to reduce carbon footprint
So that is about it. That is all i ever wanted to have, which up until now, i had no idea about. I still do not have any idea about a host of things like – how long we would stay here, how do i make a living out of my passion, what will happen if this strong feeling to keep my passion alive disappears someday etc. But honestly this uncertainty doesn’t worry me now. What i look forward to each day is that very day- how can i steal few hours for myself and just do what makes me feel complete and alive. And my two lovelies have been super supportive in this endeavor of mine. I can’t thank both of them enough. And also my parents, my brother and in-laws who always stand strong besides me for every decision of mine. What more can one ask for ?
I feel free and liberated. I feel more like Me than ever. I am absolutely head over heels for my new-found love in travel, writing and photography. I am very passionate about the causes i stand for – Veganism, Sustainable Living and Minimalism. The journey so far has been enriching and invigorating beyond words. Its teaching me lessons that i had deprived myself of, since many years, when i was not so happy doing what i was doing and continued with my daily rut and became an inseparable part of the very infamous – Rat Race.
Also read- Life Beyond Borders: How did becoming a Digital Nomad Family change my perspective of a GREAT LIFE?
Now in retrospect, I do wonder about the reasons that could have stopped me earlier, but I don’t regret anything, in fact cherish all the beautiful memories that I gathered from places I were, in company of some amazingly wonderful people who I call my friends. Every experience in my life has been a stepping stone for me to move forward as a better individual. Every person who I met, has inspired me in many different ways. And today, I am who I am, is also because of my experiences of the past.
Thank you all of you for constantly being there in my life.
Love and Light to all of you, till we see each other again. Thank you so much for taking time out to invest on reading my post.
Now its your turn –
What’s your story?
Do you think we often get carried away by what is expected of us to do and compromise on what we are actually meant to do?
Do share your thoughts in COMMENTS below. Would love to hear about what you felt about this write up.
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Hey thanks for sharing and I can say at least u r sure about ur passion n living the life u wanted ….Moreover your daughter is looking soooo happy being a part of your story.
Thanks so much. Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.
very honest and relatable 🙂
Thanks Rohini 😘
You write and share your experiences of life so wonderfully, in a very natural way.. You are a great writer.. truly inspiring..
Thanks so much Sir for sharing your feedback
Tanu I love d way u have penned down everything in simple, natural way.. That’s what makes me connect to your blog each time.. It takes immense courage n support from loved ones to break free from worldly definition of ourselves n stop measuring our worth in form of paycheck..glad u have found ur self n enjoying the journey.. Waiting for the next one
It makes me really happy to know, that you are able to connect with my writing and story and you also look forward to my next. Thank you so much. A writer without her reader isnt worth anything. Thanks for reading… Love and light to you..keep coming back..
This is awesome.. really thought provoking and tells us that you never know what you are good at until you try.. you have superb skill of penning down the thoughts.. keep it up and my well wishes are with you.. keep writing.. keep posting.. keep sharing..
Thanks a ton Neetesh for your encouraging words and best wishes.
Nice post Tannu. And good going with being Vegan. 🙂
Thanks Priyank 😊😊
Really well written and inspiring blog.
Thanks Neehar. Glad you found it inspiring
Amazing clarity of thought Tanu. What I like most about your blog is how simply you articulate even the most complex emotion. It’s great that you chose this path. You truly define the term YOLO. Kudos and more power to you.
Thank you Aashir for such a lovely message. Happy to know you liked it. And thank you for your wishes..
Hey Tanu u write fantastic. U have clearly shown us that attitude matters. One can make their life the way they want to be. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you when ur dreams come true & the way you take your defeat & success is very much to learn. I am very lucky to have you as my most beloved friend. Loads of luv…. Priyanka
You must write soon.. I love the way you express your Love.. or may be I must write about you .. the tales of our friendship .. I am truly blessed to have YOU has a friend, philosopher and guide. Love you too…😘😘😘
Amazing blog , this is what we called life. Nothing is important than finding yourself and happiness within . As money can’t buy happiness.
You are an inspiration to all the women who has many such challenges in life and from that we have to choose and apart from that we have to be happy also. It is not so easy.
I like the way you expressed the challenges you faced and you had chosen right which actually makes you happy.
Keep writing dear, I am sure one day I am going to buy book written & published by you. Love your writing.
Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation dear
Nice blog tanu. Actually life is a unpredictable. Acc. To me or acc. to my life experienced life is just like lemon, sometime very sweet and sometime very salty. I didn’t travelling so much so i cant say about that but i love to travelling. So darling keep growing and i always love your each and every line of ur blogs. Its supports me alott….😙
Great to hear this from you Sonali. Happy to know you could relate somewhere
A Life….bit difficult to understand but u made it clear & transparent.
Keep simplifying us Tanu.
Hey Vishal, my avid reader. Thanks again for this one too