I think of myself as a globetrotter, more specifically, a nomad. People are often surprised when they hear about my escapades but the truth is I love living out of a suitcase.
I've traveled across the length and breadth of India, and even though I enjoy meeting people everywhere I go, the thing that still fascinates me the most is how similar we are intrinsically.
In 1997, I left home for the first time to study engineering. Living away from family and relatives was tough initially but everything fell in place with support from new friends I made over the years.
I returned home in 2001 after graduating from college. Three years later, I received a lucrative job offer from Oracle and as luck would have it, I relocated from Gurgaon to Bangalore and got to witness the South Indian culture firsthand.
By this time, I had become a nonconformist who wanted to travel outside India and meet people from other nationalities.
In 2005, I was hired by Samsung to work for them in South Korea. I couldn't have asked for a better life experience. It felt like starting a new life in a country where everything was unique and scary sometimes, starting from their culture, language, food, and weather.
I learnt Korean within a year of moving to Korea. I also started to eat beef and pork, something I could've never imagined myself doing in my own country for several reasons that are better left unsaid. Fortunately, I made friends from all parts of the globe, since I worked for a truly global company that hired expats. What better way to know about other countries!
During my short stay in Korea, I practiced Buddhism, pursued hobbies like photography, karaoke, and blogging, watched end number of movies, sometimes in languages other than English and Hindi.
I did a temple stay, traveled to folk villages, went for musicals and percussion performances, and even met some famous K-Pop celebrities.
The best part was I came to Korea as a bachelor, and left the country in 2012 (that's seven long years) with my wife, son, two dogs, and endless memories to choose from.
Not a day passes when I don't remember Korea, and get teary-eyed thinking about what legacy I've left behind.
Never ever in my effing life had I imagined that I'd go to an alien land and start calling that place my own. But then I never stopped believing in the power of dreams.
And you shouldn't as well.
A part of me is so Korean now. Actually, a part of me was always Korean and it took me awhile to realize. That's the real beauty of travel, no?