Career-oriented and stable. Well, that used to be a good way to describe me.
And then, on my 32nd birthday I quit my job of eight years.
When others my age begin changing baby diapers, I started living out of a backpack. It has been nine months since and I won’t trade this for anything.
There are others like me pursuing a full or part-time MBA. Truth is that I pondered over this ‘herd mentality’ option too.
But instinct prevailed and I am pursuing ‘The 12 Project’. It involves me traveling to 12 countries undertaking a challenge in each one of them. You can read more about it here.
Every challenge has been rewarding and has taught me something unique. Traveling on trains helped me understand my country and to build my patience. Rock climbing in Thailand helped me break my mental barriers. Traveling around Sri Lanka gave me an insight into people’s dreams & disappointments.
After completing three challenges, I can surely say that classroom learning is overrated.
An MBA can never match up to what this odd travel project has taught me.
Financial Management In The Real World:
My excruciatingly low budget has forced me to become an ace in managing finances. Despite splurging every once in a while I manage to keep costs pretty low.
Converting currencies, understanding cost of living and making every dollar stretch is a way of life for me. And these skills will stay handy forever.
Business Development With A Difference:
Travel helped me realise that business development is more than fancy looking powerpoint presentations.
Certainly those skills are useful, there’s no denying that.
But I have a better understanding of making a sales pitch due to the multiple brands I approached for support.
Well, most of it did not work out. But I did manage to convince Airbnb and that’s a great deal in itself. Now I have free access to coolest hosts and houses in different countries.
If you haven’t, you should try this amazing way to travel too – you can peep in here.
Continuous Product Development:
My stories are my product. And I have to consistently work on making this product better.
But integral to this are my experiences that have to be worth sharing. This reason took me on the longest train journey in India, to a terrorist’s house and to war memorials in Sri Lanka among others things.
Marketing In The New World:
Most would agree that we live in a network dominated world. Social media, forums, interest groups; etc are networks we thrive on.
New age marketers have to learn to develop and use these networks to their benefit. That’s precisely what my project is training me to do.
From appealing to facebook forums & twitter influencers and to using connections, I have had to try it all.
This probably has resulted in me being hosted by people and getting access to great mentors in various countries.
Entrepreneurship On The Move:
If you feel entrepreneurship lessons are missing, then listen to this.
An entrepreneur’s primary job is to possess a vision and communicate convincingly so that others join.
My quest is to build The Odd Traveller into an alternative travel platform.
This meant that I had to appeal to investors. Some of these potential investors are now my partners. Airbnb, Flarepath and Criss Cross communications are the reason I am able to focus on the travel and the challenges.
Now, like with a business degree, don’t get pressurised to travel. You don’t need to because people like me or some others are so-called ‘world travelers’.
In the end, it is about getting close to who you want to be.
Each one of us has a certain path that will help us become better than we were yesterday.
If what you do today is not doing that for you, then the answer may not be as simple as an MBA. It may not even be travel.
You just might have to dig deeper. And find your own odd path.