10 Years And Counting... I Blog, Therefore I Am.

The journey continues... Nashik Ghat

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.
No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.
The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey -
and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.

- Bob Moawad.

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A couple of weeks back, I made my resume. For the first time in my life.

I wasn’t looking for a job, just responding to a call.

But as I made my resume, I felt a tinge of pride, just a tinge, less for my achievements per se but more for where I’d started, and how far I’d come.

The fact that this event was so close to my 10th blogging anniversary (21st November) made me even more nostalgic.

In an era of 'working women' and 'non working women' or 'travel bloggers who quit their jobs to travel' and 'travel bloggers who travel along with a full-fledged career' – I have often wondered how do I qualify in the whole paradigm: Where would I, 'A woman travel blogger who never did a (regular) job' fit?

Nah! I think I won’t, and neither do I want to.

So, What Is Blogging and What Does A Blogger Do?

Blogging is hard work. Work requiring a lot of active effort and entails responsibilities akin to running a business. It’s a space where we invest our time and efforts in our own ideas, emotions, thoughts, stories and opinions. We are responsible for the things we feel, for the words we write, for the stories we share for they wring our experiences and bring out the truth…  that truth which impacts and influences whoever it is touching through this space called blog, an influence that is far more authoritative and any day beyond the attempted calculative reach measured in mere numbers, followers and figures.

And since there is so much of our own self mirroring in it, Blogging is not just hard work but a sacred work as well.

Nature weaving magic in the fields in Varanasi

And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.
- Khalil Gibran.

No One Box, Fits All.


It’s been a long time blogging… and as I sit down to contemplate and reflect on this journey, what dawns on me is that in those 10 years, things outside may or may not have changed, but what has changed for sure is the person behind it.

One of the primary lessons I have learnt over the years is that our God given dreams aren’t meant to fit inside the box of people’s mindsets, even our own. They stretch beyond what’s possible, what’s visible and far beyond what we are capable of accomplishing on our own.

I remember the times when, all I thought I ever wanted in life was a place to fit in. To my mind, fitting in seemed safe, secure, fitting in seemed to earn respect and fitting in seemed… seemed just right and peaceful.

Oh, how naïve I was!

Fitting in would have been right, of course …but to everyone else except me.

Just as it would have been peaceful, only to everyone outside leaving my entire inner world hung in turmoil.

Morning glitter in the waters of the River Ganga at Prayagraj

Let the waters settle and you will see
the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being.
― Rumi.

Blessings often come in disguises.

It is said that man proposes and God disposes.

What they forget to add is that what a BIG blessing in disguise that disposing part really is - The things that we want but the things that don’t go according to plan because of the things we need but we can never see or understand?

Letting go of ideas and beliefs we once so badly wanted to have can make for a really long story, one that I will leave for some other day.

For now, let me just say that this blog is the part that happened to me after God disposes… opening a doorway for the cracks in the dark to allow all the light that can possibly and does exist in the dark, the unknown... those nooks and crannies that I would otherwise have been too fearful to tread upon and explore.

Sunrise peace by the river Ganga, Varanasi

"Creep down to the black corners,
the corridors unexplored,
and find what once was lost.
These dark recesses hold the secrets you wish would disappear
but it isn't quite that simple.
So write something out of nothing.
The hallways and trapdoors hide much too much of you."
— Rose C.L.

Reclaiming the gifts buried in my own heart.

So as I was contemplating hard of what to write in my 10 year anniversary post - I decided the best way to mark this milestone birthday is still a simple thank you.

Thank You for my naïve beliefs God for else how would I know how much power I held in my own thoughts, my own self? But double thank you God for giving me the gift of blogging, My Yatra Diary, for bringing in the awareness of the power of my own voice and extinguishing all the naiveties (and the associated misconceptions) I held in my mind in due time.

The journey of blogging has put me on one of the most fulfilling, life altering, satisfying journey I could never ever have imagined or ever planned for myself in my wildest dreams. It’s like a sorcery, an alchemy, one that never actually is going to happen in the safe spaces we are sometimes so busy chasing outside.

I am no longer the same person I used to be 10 years back. How can I be? For my heart today is fuller, richer with the sharing of my experiences and journeys with all of you through this beautiful space.

The dance of the trees in the forest of Vrindavan

The journey in between what you once were and
who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place.
- Barbara De Angelis.

The inspiring people I have met, both online and offline, the love and happiness shared, the challenges faced, the churning of my own ocean of thoughts and beliefs in differing directions and finding in this conflict the magical nectar of my growth and freedom… The journey outside is incomplete without the journey within, and the meeting point of the outsides and insides is this blog, My Yatra Diary which in its entirety to me is nothing short of a wild adventure!

THANK YOU!

Offering prayers to the creative forces in Nature - River Ganga

"Magic and madness.
Calm and chaos.
Beauty and exhaustion.
Dirt and air.
Grit and grace.
All necessary.
All divine.
All part of the tapestry
I paint with courage,
create with trust
and bow to
with gratitude."

~ Victoria Erickson.

Thank You, My Yatra Diary. Just for being there. Your mere existence is very inspiring to me. Inspiring to give the best of my genuine love, sincerity and trust I have within me without any need of deriving anything more than what you already are.

Writing (or reading) is not something that came naturally to me but travel is something I received from my parents – so all of us meeting together can be termed as more of a conspiracy guided by the Universe. It’s because of this journey of ours that, I am who I am today, Imperfect, flawed and full of faults… but still rooted (in my truth) and free.

Free from the outdated versions of my own being, free from my biases and prejudices, free to be vulnerable, honest, and claim my needs unconditionally. Free to birth new thoughts and ideas and channel them gently to fit into the grander scheme of life.

Free to be who I am, who my Father has called me to be, unapologetically.

What Shapes You, Makes You.

Birds flying high and free at the Taj Mahal, Agra

Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself.
It begins when you declare you intent.
Stand up tall and say what you are.
- Elizabeth Gilbert.

I may never fit in the many stereotypes built by the society but for all the things that I may have seemingly lost, I have found so much more with my pen and My Yatra Diary… and with all of you - your unconditional love, support, inspiration and encouragement… that my heart is full of gratitude as I write this note at having had this precious opportunity to embark on a unique journey.

There is something Elizabeth Gilbert says about our creative work not being our baby, but we being its baby instead, isn’t it?

It’s true.

My Yatra Diary… might as well be known as my creation but she is the one who creates me, helps me, shapes and inspires me on the road to the person I am today. And has taken me to places I don’t know if I could have reached otherwise.

She is the grace for which I believe in the higher unknown, Father, God or whatever, yes He exists and He is the one who shelters and takes care of me.

This is a time, when I am at a juncture, more than ever before, when people ask me what do I do?

And I wonder: How to describe this sacredness, this freedom, this space and the magic this space holds for me?

How do I show the riches of peace, happiness and satisfaction that I treasure in my heart?

Taking A Fresh Guard.


Fire in the sky, sunset in Jaipur

Commitment is the match that lights the fire.
- Wally Amos.

A decade is a really long time and I have had my own ups and downs, my own battles and struggles in the course. But just like a batsman pauses to take a fresh guard on reaching a milestone in the game of cricket, I would also like to (re)new my vows with my beloved on reaching this milestone.

My Yatra Diary… is not just a hobby or a diary or a blog to me today but it is a commitment to something more, something that is difficult to put a finger to, something that lies deeper within me.

It is a commitment to my own growth and freedom and joy and happiness in my journey of life.

It is a commitment to that child that is very much alive within me, that child who just needs the space to be, to explore, to play, to stumble, to fail and to succeed without any judgments or shoulds or all the noises floating, within and without, mindlessly.

Looking back at 2019 and looking ahead to a new decade…


2019 has been a year of letting go. Letting go of ideas, people, illusions and fantasies that I once held dear to me. Vipassana came as a blessing, a real eye opener and among other things, I hope to continue the practice more sincerely in 2020.

Taj Mahal - An idea of love

In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
– Gautam Buddha.

For 2020, I look for ways in which I can step back from work and step forth playfully out into the world, so as to share more freely the gifts I bring into the world. I look for ways in which I genuinely connect, open my heart to meaningful relationships and ways in which I can add more value to the world.

I look to fill my own gaps within but also those gaps without which can be filled by anyone but will be more beautiful when they are filled by me.

I look forward to a healthy work-play-life balance and a healthier blogging schedule.

Because, I am not a nobody anymore.

I am a somebody and where does my value come from?

Not from my grades nor from my degrees. But from my real life experiences and journeys and what I make of them.

My value, my worth, my merit comes not from any job, nor from the number of likes, comments or shares (though I appreciate all of them immensely) nor anyone or anything else but from my own truth, my own voice. It comes from the deepest cores of my own self.

Diya at the Godavari Ghat, Nasik

I BLOG, THEREFORE I AM.

Comments

  1. Arti, Heartiest Congratulations. Great post.
    Keep blogging. Best wishes. ~ Da

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  2. Hello Arti, I commend you for your long presence in blogland but also for your quest to learn and change and grow. I believe that to see oneself honestly allows our interactions with others to be more meaningful. To practice loving kindness must start with oneself. I’m old, but I believe I’m still becoming the person I’m meant to be. I have loved your blog for many years because I’ve learned a great deal about your country and your culture. However, I’ve also benefited from your sharing of feelings, ideas, and concerns. The young have so much to teach the old. We have much to learn from each other. Hugs to you as you continue to share your life and to learn in the process. Wishing you many more years of successful and rewarding blogging. Barb

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  3. Congratulations Arti on completing a decade. It has been a joy reading you and I wish you all success with your future plans.

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  4. Congrats Arti! Your blog has been as colorful as ever...keep it up

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  5. Congratulations, Arti! Look forward to many many more lovely travel stories from you.

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  6. Thank you for such a wonderful post and most of all for being you. Congratulations on this milestone, here's to many more blogoversaries.

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  7. Thanks for sharing useful post. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Thanks a lot for taking your time to share this amazing post with us. At the same time All of the posts on your blog are having informative and valuable content. Once again thanks for putting out such content.

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  8. Congrats and keep hustle with your never ending journey. Good day to come more for you. Be safe. :)

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  9. Love the photos and the thoughts on blogging :)

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  10. Congratulations! Much more to come...

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  11. I like the blogs and pictures presented in this blog. thank you

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  12. Congrats Arti. A true milestone indeed. Thank for your colourful stories!

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  13. Congratulations!, and thanks for the useful post.

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  14. Thanks for sharing such a nice post. I'll try to read your all shared posts. I also bookmarked your website to stay up to date with your new published articles. The way of explanation in the article is very understandable. Looking forward to hear more from you.

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