I have always believed that it is not the traveller that selects the place he wishes to travel; it is the destination that picks out travellers!
Only this could explain how during my Class X board exams, my father gave me the news that I was selected for a Rotary Exchange Program to Brasil. As a 16 year old, this news came as a complete stunner. Till date, I had led a completely sheltered life and had never even gone for my tuitions unattended….and here I was about to start out for a sojourn to the other side of the hemisphere, to a land I had not even dreamed of going to!
For a girl who was in her early teens and fresh out of a Convent school, Brasil was a complete culture shock initially. But the non familiarity of the place was its biggest allure.
The weeks I spent rafting in the mighty Foz do Iguazu, trekking in the thick jungles, canoeing in the Parana river that is home to the man-eating Piranha fish, gorging on chocolate pizza and some 32 varieties of local ice cream, staying with friendly Brasilian families and making friends with the locals changed my perception of life forever.
I was out of my little cocoon and had finally found wings to explore the beautiful world around me…to meet people from varied cultures and backgrounds….to experience the generosity and hospitality of absolute strangers and feeling as if I have known them forever…and so much more!!
I didn’t know it then, but the world I had seen as a 16-year-old came back much later to challenge my perceptions of life in a corporate law firm, where the moolah was big, but I found my world compressed to a cubicle and a computer.
I had to make a very clear decision: did I want the big bucks and maybe a fancy car and a mansion a few years down the line or was I willing to rough it out and experience life the way it is meant to be and survive with just the bare minimum. Every atom in me screamed for the latter option and one fine day I made the big decision of getting out of the corporate set up and pursue my passion for the roads!!