This is one of the most common questions that I’ve been asked and every time I begin my answer by saying “it’s a long story”. So I decided to write it down in a blog post.
It all started with my engineering during which I realized that yes! Travelling is my passion and it can be one of my career options. It’s not like that I hadn’t traveled before college. My family also loves traveling but the kind of traveling they usually do, I don’t call that real traveling as most of the time my family prefers to travel to pilgrimage destinations like Shirdi, Vaishnodevi, etc. Though I enjoyed travelling to these places as well or I would say I had to enjoy, there was no other option. Exploring crowded temples is anyday better than being at home. LOL. But travelling with family couldn’t actually help me in recognising my passion as I was always in a comfort zone.
I was never good in academics and I never liked studying. In the 10th and 12th board exams, I somehow managed to score average marks, however, it was good marks as per me and my family (my family didn’t even expect these marks. LOL). In India, the majority of students remain confused at various stages of life and career. Whether deciding between science and commerce after 10th, or engineering, CA, doctor and other fields after 12th, or between the first job and higher studies after graduation, and so on. Alike, everyone, I was also confused after 12th so, I chose to do engineering. It is truly said that in India very few people choose engineering to become an engineer, a majority of people choose so that they can buy more time and explore himself/herself to find out their true passion. I was also trying to do the same.
The first year of engineering passed with fun and a few backs, as hostel life was really fun. In the second year, I started thinking about the placements & career and the frustration inside me (& my group) began because we started getting a real picture of engineering placements and the life after engineering. I and my college friends always wanted to do something different, apart from engineering. We used to have discussions daily and then the day arrived. Our end semester exams were going on and the next day we had our Maths exam scheduled. As usual, we were having a discussion and one friend (Ashish) came up with an idea of blogging. He told us about a senior who also started blogging and was getting recognition as he was doing great. So we got inspired and decided to start blogging. Only Ashish had knowledge about this field, so we asked him to teach us.
Starting the blog
Initially, we were thinking of creating a single blog but everyone was suggesting different topics according to their interests. So we decided to create separate blogs as per our interests and link them to a parent blog. Everyone chose different topics such as mobile, apps and software, lifestyle, science, etc. I don’t know how but I randomly chose Travel. Then we did some brainstorming to finalize the name of the blog and we ended up finalizing “Harstuff” which is an amalgamation of 2 words, viz, Har + Stuff. My blog was named Harstuff Travel.
At that time we didn’t know about SEO or have any technical knowledge of blogging. We just knew that we have to write and we did the same. We started with the free service of Blogger.com, created a blog, and started writing. I began writing articles about different places like the Taj Mahal, Manali, etc. I can still remember the first few articles that I wrote as it was very bad but I continued writing articles and the blog started getting a little reach (traffic). Then I went to Nainital (first college trip) and Nag Tibba trek with the same group and both the trips went amazing. I wrote the entire experience on my blog and shared it on Facebook. Fortunately, people read and liked the write-up and I started getting appreciation from people in my circle and college. The blog got a little popular and I began earning from the blog by that time. The frustration got lessen, but I was still confused about my career. I did not think about blogging to make it a full-time profession. There were still 2-3 options such as a job in a core electrical company, a job in an IT company, or joining the defense forces. The last option was my priority and I was preparing for that only.
Getting a job
Now it was the 4th year and high time for engineers like me because the placements were about to start. Till that time, I had already given an SSB interview for Army and got rejected. I decided to give it a break for some time and focus on college placements, projects, and final year exams. The mass recruiters started coming and guess what? I was not allowed to sit for those companies as my aggregate percentage was below 60. I didn’t have a problem with that because I wanted to join defense forces. Then some small companies came, out of which one was of Electrical and I got a chance give an interview. Luckily, I got placed in that company and gave the news to my family. Now the thing was, the students (including me) who got placed in that company had to join in February only after getting the NOC from college. I discussed with my family and my dad said no. He advised me to focus on the studies during that time and try to secure at least 60% in the aggregate. He made sense so I did the same and refused the offer letter.
The final year subjects were easy and fortunately, I managed to secure a good percentage, which made my aggregate 61.6%. Yeah! This was the goal. Now by that time, I was aware of the work in small electrical companies so I changed my mind to join them. And to get into the big electrical companies including the PSU, I had to prepare for other exams which wasn’t my cup of tea. So there were two options left, either join defense forces (which was still the priority) or get a job in an IT company. Considering the priority, I decided to stay at home and prepare for defense exams. I gave AFCAT and applied for technical entries in Army. Got the SSB call letters for both and again went for the interview at Dehradun & Allahabad. Unfortunately, I got rejected both the time. I came back home and after discussing with the family, I decided to prepare for job interviews.
I gave a couple of interviews and got a job in an IT company in Delhi and the profile was technical support. I shifted to Delhi and the training started in Dwarka. In 3 days, I got frustrated with the work and decided to leave that company. There was slight pressure, as most of my friends were already placed in big companies like TCS and Accenture and I didn’t have any idea about my career. Though I was not sure about “what I want to do” but I was sure about “what I don’t want to do”.
By that time my earning from the blog was not much but it was regular. So I made a plan and traveled to McleodGanj for a trek to Ilaqa Pass (above Triund). The trip again went a memorable one and I was able to think deeply to make a roadmap for my career. I returned from the trip and decided to apply for a job in travel companies. After good online research, I applied to a couple of companies and got a call from Bikat Adventures. I gave an interview and got a job as a Digital Marketing Executive. As I was into blogging, I knew about SEO and content writing by then. This was my first job and I was excited about it. I worked there for 3 months and then left that job due to some reasons. However, those 3 months were good during which I also went for the Bali Pass trek (sponsored by the company) and that trek made me mad about trekking.
In just a span of weeks’ time, I joined Justwravel as a travel expert. During the tenure at Justwravel, I discovered several things about myself including the skills which I am good at. I also discovered that I am not a job person. The only thing that motivated me to work at Justwravel for 3 years was the work. As it was a startup, I was indulged in almost everything. Be it cracking the sales or handling operations or coordinating with vendors or creating content for the website or leading treks/trips for the company or making strategies for the growth, I did everything and it helped me a lot in choosing the correct things for my career. Also, I never took it as a job, I enjoyed working there.
Starting a company
Though I got promoted to the position of Operations Head at Justwravel but I knew that I cannot work under the supervision of someone else. So I had already decided that I will be starting my own venture and the interesting thing was, I and my group had already planned things in the 4th year of engineering that after 2-3 years, we will start a venture together. But yeah! it was a very random thing that time and we were not serious about it at all. In 2019, I discussed with my group and we agreed to start working on the plan. Later, other group members found out that Travel Company won’t be a good idea for them and they were already well settled in their companies. So they refused to continue and the only person left was me. I had no other option and I decided to not delay it. In 2020, I resigned from Justwravel and started my own travel company, Happy Go Trips.
Currently, I am running the same travel company and trying to give the best experiences to people. Traveling is not a hobby or passion anymore, now it has become an important part of my life 🙂