Have you ever dared to live the life you wanted? Or, you have made yourself comfortable in the mundaneness of life? Maybe you have. Maybe not! But if you need a little motivation today to kindle your love for traveling or fuel your wanderlust, this desi woman is sure to inspire you to live your life to the fullest.
Well, “Not all those who wander are lost“, same goes for this 36-year-old woman!
In a candid conversation with Life Beyond Numbers, Sheetal Pasad shares beautiful moments from her solo, penniless travel, visiting 22 countries in 36 months, living her dreams and staying happy deep down no matter what life throws her way.
Born in a small village of Dumara in Gujarat, Sheetal has been raised in Mumbai’s Dombivli. She feels lucky to have parents who understand her choices, dreams, and passions and still support her to live life on her own terms.
Having itchy feet
The travel bug doesn’t enjoy the comfort of staying at home. Exploring different cultures and countries are her favorite hobbies.
“I was never interested in studies, still I thought of pursuing graduation in Gujarati literature but withdrew myself halfway because of my love for traveling. I left studies and focussed on the summer camps with children. Probably that’s the best decision of my life,” recalls Sheetal with a smile.
“I am clouded with thoughts whenever I am traveling. The possibilities of breaking away from the dullness of life have always excited me,” she says.
Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippine, Taiwan, Sumatra (Indonesia), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu- you name it and she has been there!
Not money but travel makes her richer, feels Sheetal. “Staying under the open sky, in schools, and in religious places with strangers, getting free lifts, having a cultural exchange, trying out different cuisines have made me rich experience-wise,” she says.
Prior to her big solo trip around the world, Sheetal has spent time exploring Vietnam for about a month and China, Mongolia, and Indonesia for four months in 2016. Sheetal says, “Travelling light is extremely crucial so I give a lot of thought to what I should pack. But, my tent and a big sleeping bag is always part of my 10kg luggage.”
Relying on the goodness of humanity
Things do not go as planned for Sheetal but she feels it is important to be patient and move forward. “At times, I don’t get enough lifts to reach my destination. Sometimes, 3 hours journey take 2 days, also at times, it gets delayed by a day. But, things fall in place, when I stay calm. But, the world is full of kind people, who are more than willing to help and that is what keeps me inspired in all my trips,” she explains when asked about her almost zero budget traveling.
She continues, “I am good with mehndi (henna art), can cook and serve food and in exchange people trusted me enough with their resources- a place to stay or sharing food with me. I have recently learned glass painting as well as talking in English. When you are not interested in people’s money, they think of you as an honest person and they are more than happy and willing to help you.”
View this post on Instagram
Dan Jacobson : The Mountain man A man with a different personality. Staying on the mountain for 20 years. Following a vegan lifestyle since 40 years ago. So on the mountain he makes his food from roots, flowers and leaves. He is maps, geology and computer man. Occasionally helping the Taiwan government in house number address planning to avoid people getting lost due to bad addresses. He never accepts money from people, as money is boring for him 😘 It was an amazing experience to stay in his world. ○ Hunting leaves, flowers, roots from the forest and cooking various food. ○ I also drank some old musty fermented sweet/sour mysterious fruit juices approx 15 to 20 years old .Dan didn’t dare to touch it because he said it might have developed contain alcohol so he was scared to try it😉 ○ Staying in his amazing house with full facilities (including hot shower and hair dryer). ○ Lacking any bathroom facilities, Dan has developed his own patented way of going to the bathroom which involves the large leaves of the Alocasia odora plant. ○ Living a sustainable/eco friendly life. ○ Watching 100s of fireflies, the mountain hills and a lot more.. Thanks a lot for inviting me to experience your mountain life and your amazing world. #Mountainlife #sustainableliving #ecofriendly #solotraveler #intothewild #danjacobson #travellife #nomadlife #explorar #liveauthentic #freespirit #happytraveller #theworldisonefamily #VasudhaivaKutumbakam #SheetalTheDesinomad #indianfemalesolotraveler
Keeping yourself safe while traveling is your responsibility, so it is always essential to have a backup plan if things don’t turn out as planned or if there are any health-related issues. “I keep emergency cash always with me so that I can pull myself out of trouble if need be. Only in the 27 days of my travel in Vanuatu, I didn’t exchange money with local currency,” she says.
“In Taiwan, once country police caught me as I walked on the freeway. They not only helped me by making me a signboard for hitchhiking but offered me food and guided me so that I don’t get lost. This taught me a lot about humanity and selfless behavior,” she recalls.
Taking the road less traveled by
We have often heard this thought-provoking quote that “A ship in a harbour is safe, but it is not what ships are built for.” This applies for everyone perhaps, but only a handful of people are willing to take the risk when it comes to living their dreams.
Sheetal suffers from “Ankylosing spondylitis,” a type of arthritis that affects the spine but says, that proper medication has helped her to overcome it to a great extent.
View this post on Instagram
*10 countries:Stories of penniless travel , hitchhiking , minimalist , barter , culture exchange of 13+ months* Dear friends , My journey is about to finish by this week.I tried to writing few experiences and what I feel about my journey in my broken English 🙂 . Its not perfect and many mistakes but i don’t want to change it.I hope you guys able to understand it, your comments will be important for me to write more in future. https://goo.gl/5MtQ3F Kindly write comment/feedback on blog post if you feel like ..😊 #travellingwithoutmoney #travelingonlowbudget #backpacking #hitchhiking #cultureexchange #travellife #traveltolearn #netgeotravel #travelgram #solotraveller #femalesolotraveler #indianfemaletraveller #thedesinomad #giftculture #gifteconomy #explorar #goexplore #sheetalthedesinomad #sheexplore #travelwithoutmoney #indiantraveller #desitraveller #femaletraveller #travellinglady #alternativeTravel #alternativeliving #minimalism #minimalist #womenintravel #travelblog
“Medicine could hardly ease my pain, I googled a bit and found out about more about my condition, so instead of ending up bed-ridden, I wanted to explore the world and traveling helped to improve my health condition as well.”
Why have one goal in life, when you can set a goal for yourself every single day? Accept your situation and deal with your problems, and turn crisis into opportunity. This is exactly what this desi woman does!
Her travels leave her completely inspired and motivated, so she thinks it is best to pen down her thoughts about the incredible trips. She runs a blog The Desi Nomad, where you can read more about her travel.
To all young women who are judged for their choices, Sheetal says, “Don’t let society decide your standard or character. Take charge of your life and feel free to do whatever you want to do. Follow your dreams and give yourself permission to live your life to the fullest.”