Category Archives: Travel

The year round up post! #2014

I know I am late on this, but I thought it’s better than not posting at all. So here we go!

A hell lot of stuff planned, lots accomplished, some pending, little dropped off the list, a few postponed, yet, the most eventful year of my life. It started with travel and ended with that, well, almost. TL;DR, three important talking pointers that sum the year up for me:

  1. I had decided to travel the previous year and I succeeded in traveling 3 new places (not for work reasons) this year, including my first ever trip abroad
  2. Started the year with my status as “single”, ended with “happily married”
  3. Started the year as a loss making company, ended in profits

In a nutshell, a f-a-n-tastic year!

It all started with my solo trip to Dalhousie. Actually I left on 30 Dec 2013 itself and the travel continued till 2nd Jan. So the year started with travel and with snow. Wrote about the experience of traveling alone and about getting out of my comfort zone. I do these solo trips once in a while to get my mojo back. It allows me to be with my being and reenergize the body for the battles ahead!

The inspiration behind the post was Bootstrappers 2014 โ€“ A Year in Review section on a Startup blog. Being a bootstrapped entrepreneur, I felt I should pen down my experience too, however, small they may be. While I was still contemplating writing this, Suma (my partner) wrote the 2014 round up post for Niswey. It got me thinking, yes, we shared what we did as a company but what about us as individuals? And hence, I thought to recollect everything. Went through all my notes, for the first nine months which were on OhLife! and since it shutdown, the remaining were on Little Memory. {Thanks to Ivan for putting up an OhLife import feature overnight.}

Recollecting, here are some notable things that happened this year.

Professional First:
Going Flat. I had been contemplating on this idea since sometime but it was during my Dalhousie break that I took a call, this HAS to be the way forward. That is what would allow us to grow, both as individuals and as a company. I came back from the trip, met Suma on a Saturday and explained everything. It all made sense to her and we thought to roll this out ASAP. Obviously we couldn’t do this the next very day but in a month’s time we were good to go. We organized a discussion for all of us, which ran for about half a day. Initially, there was a lot of mental resistance but as we discussed the concept more and more and as more questions got answered, it started making sense to everyone. Thus, it was put into action immediately. That’s the beauty of a startup, you can get things moving so quickly that you’ll love it!

This is a kickass session on flat #organization @niswey Got to love this place!

A photo posted by Anubhav Tiwari (@tiwarianubhav22) on

We also started a new practice of discussing individual Goals. What do all of us want to do and achieve. Small things as visiting 10 new places within the city to larger goals like building a community portal, it had all. Since it was a successful initiative, we continued the activity this year too! In April, we had another discussion where we discussed professional objectives for the organization. It had 2 major things:

  1. 5X growth (in terms of revenue)
  2. A Product (to be in alpha phase)

Where are we on that, well, that we will figure out in April. But I can share already that we are in good shape. No, we are not about to be 5X but surely will be about 2.5X, which, is a good number in itself and I am glad about it. Somewhere during the year we’d lost track of that but thanks to our people, we could bounce back! For this, I’ll always be grateful. We haven’t moved much on the product side. Somewhere in September it looked all set to take off but it never happened actually. Thankfully, we, finally are restarting this very soon. This time for sure ๐Ÿ™‚ I also started working on a couple of more things in parallel. One is an idea that’s floating since mid-2013. It’s called “Good 2 Fail“. I managed to get an interesting domain, do a small launch and reached out to a few entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, none of them was willing to share their learnings/experiences. Some said they did not have time, some just declined and a few never bothered to respond, even after multiple attempts. If you are one of those whom I approached, you need not be guilty, you can still respond ๐Ÿ™‚ Another initiative on which I started working was in the education sector. This is a long term project (might take a lifetime) and I started doing my homework for this. During one of interactions with someone in the industry, I realized it is too early for me to get into this and has to be pushed back. Which is fine with me, at least I now know that I need to be older, wiser and more resourceful (in terms of time and money) to get into this and the occasional guilt of not working towards that is gone now. Believe me, taking it off your head is equally important. Let’s move to some personalย stuff now The most important event on the personal front was my getting married. After a blockbuster post about how flat, family and marriage are the reasons why youngsters don’t turn entrepreneurs, I myself gave in ๐Ÿ˜› While I am still an entrepreneur, let’s see if both of them survive ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

 

The second most important thing was my promise to myself. It was mid-2013 when I realized I hadn’t taken an off since 18 months (apart from falling ill that is) and had then decided two things. 1. Take frequent breaks and 2. Travel. I am happy that this year I could keep up both promises. And importantly, will continue to do so.

Apart from keeping up those promises, the most bizarre thing was the way in which one of those trips got arranged. Since this post is already long, I will leave that to another post. It’s the Bali trip I am talking about where I went with Matt and the team from Under30Experiences. If you are under 30 (or maybe just a little over but can coolly hang out with other under 30’s), I suggest you must go with them!

Towards the end of the year, in December, I went to another awesome place, Sikkim. Going there just reinstated my thought of traveling more of East India. Need to plan. In between getting married and travel, there are a few other things notable things:

  • A three day NLP Workshop – Made me realize the power of visualization
  • An acquisition offer – Not that were looking for buyers but the offer just does some ego boost, if nothing else
  • Book writing attempt – Participated in a book writing competition by FT & McK. Didn’t win but gave me an inroad towards my dream of writing a book
  • Turned 30 – And spent the birthday in an exquisite and relaxing location like Bali
  • Developed a new habit – Reading books. I read a lot, almost 3-4 articles (not news) a day but wasn’t into reading books much. Read 5 books last year, nothing compared to the global average of 17 but at least got into the habit! This year, my target is the global average. BTW, I am already on my 5th and it’s just the beginning of March ๐Ÿ™‚

While we’ve had the first round of goals discussion this year, I am still finalizing my goals. A little delayed but with so much happening at Niswey in the last 2 months, I am not worried about the delay. Will share what I plan and at the end of the year, how did I fare.

In the end, I am grateful to friends, family, customers, well wishers (like you) and the universe, for making 2014 a successful year!

Your turn. Do you plan/create goals? How was 2014 for you?

Getting out of my comfort zone

I’ve realised, half our lives we live in fear. Various forms of fear:

  • The fear of communicating: “What will happen if I tell him the truth?”, “What if she rejects me?”
  • The fear of doing things, esp when for the first time: “I can’t do that, I’ve never done it before”
  • The fear of taking risks: “I can’t quit my job and start a venture, its way too risky”
  • The fear of losing (things): “What if I lose everything that I have?”
  • Many more …

Have you ever thought what if you did the thing that you feared and then came out…

  • With the love of your life
  • A mentally stronger person
  • Accomplishing tasks that you thought were almost impossible
  • With the experience of a lifetime
  • Successful!

I think most of us know all these things that how it will – might feel but still we don’t take that extra step.

Let me share an experience I recently had.

I have a huge liking for organized trips. I should know which bus/train I am boarding, where to get down, where to go after I get down, where am I staying, etc etc. This time I chose to do it differently. All I knew was that I wanted to travel out of Delhi and to an unseen place. At first, a random trip, alone, far away, seemed too difficult. But then I chose to do it as it pushed me “out of my comfort zone”.

Googled around, found some portals/blogs and made a decision to head to Dalhousie. Google (and some blogs) mentioned that it takes about 2 hours from Pathankot to Dalhousie. <insert pic> They are/were all wrong. It took me 4 hours. You can discount 1 hour that I spent at 2 places waiting for buses, still, 3 hours. That’s a 50-75 % deviation! Anyways.

Pathankot to Dalhousie distance

Pathankot to Dalhousie distance

By the time I reached Dalhousie, I was already uncomfortable with the fact that it had taken me much longer (it 3 PM instead of 9 AM) to reach the destination. More discomfort with the hotel I choose. I imagined to stay in a place that would be warm, cozy, silent where I could work/meditate/write peacefully. Argh! It was none of those. The heater seemed ineffective, the doors had enough space between them that allowed breeze flowing through and in fact the room had wonderful cross ventilation, so all the more breezy, with temperature hovering around zero degrees! I had to make a choice out of:

  1. whether to stay and not work or
  2. move out and find a hotel which gave me the comfort to work

I chose none of the options. I chose to stay and do what I had planned. Initially it was a struggle but then I managed and then in a days time, I accepted the conditions and did whatever I had thought of. I now realise, after I accepted, I got comfortable! And eventually, accomplished my objectives and tasks with which I went!

I am not comfortable writing when I have company, I prefer solace. Being new year time, there were celebrations all around and I barely found peace during the nights in my hotel room. I wanted to write but just couldn’t. So I tried something different, plugged into light music which cut down some of the noise and then wrote. After successfully finishing my writeup, what I realised was that I was uncomfortable with the fact that there are people around or there is noise. In the end they were also playing music (which I myself did to cut them off)! I guess writing in solace is a comfort factor for me but not a necessary condition. It was just about pushing myself out of that zone. I often don’t write when I am at home because I don’t find solace but maybe from now on, I can. Isn’t that a win in itself? For me, it definitely is!

Using cold water: It was snowing in Dalhousie, temperature was below freezing point. Even touching the water seemed a daunting task, so wherever possible I would initially avoid ๐Ÿ˜‰ But then I said to myself, why I am not touching it? Just because its cold? Okay, really cold and I my hands would go numb for sometime. But that’s it no? Nothing more. With that thought I started using it and then got comfortable, so much so that I bathed without heating the water eventually. When I came out of the bathroom, I felt so gooood, I JUST CANNOT EXPLAIN. Its then I remembered, till 2-3 years back, I had never used hot/warm water. And was comfortable. I wouldn’t skip bathing even during winters and that too with cold water, always. So then what changed? I believe its once I started using warm water, I got ‘comfortable’ with it. And then going back to cold water pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I had one of the most wonderful moments when I experienced snowfall for the first time

Snowfall in Dalhousie

Snowfall in Dalhousie

I loved the view next morning, little did I know what was going to come. It kept snowing/raining the entire day and as a result of which, all roads were blocked for the next 2 days. No buses were plying, only people who had their own vehicles, risked their lives to drive out from Dalhousie. I was stuck. I had a return ticket from Pathankot but there was no way I could reach there. Again, things going off plan, initially I got frustrated but then said yeah, lets accept and plan for the next 2 days ๐Ÿ™‚ And spent the rest of my stay in peace and made them productive. Needless to say, once I accepted, I got comfortable.

In fact even 2 days after the snowfall I asked a taxi drive if he could drop me to the nearest bus stop. He asked for Rs.500 – for barely a 6 KM drive. I was like, really? He responded, “sirjee itna risk leke jaenge, 100-200 rupees k liye thodi karenge“. (Sir, I will not take so much risk for just 100-200 bucks!) Now I understood the side effects of snowfall ๐Ÿ˜› I thought let it be, I chose to walk! Yes, I actually grabbed my baggage and started the 6 KM walk. It was too slippery and on the way I found quite a few vehicles stuck as well. I thought to myself, glad I didn’t take that cab! On the way I found boards that said, “Beware of Trespassers” and had the image of a bear. Honestly, that scared me a little and I became more cautious now but didn’t stop and kept walking. Luckily after 4 KMs, when the snow on the road was barely there anymore, I found a bus ๐Ÿ™‚ I heaved a sigh of relief and hopped in!

Now when the trip is over, I feel I am much stronger mentally. I can write even when not in solace, I can get stuck at an unknown place and do something productive instead of cribbing, I obviously am more comfortable traveling alone now and the best part is I got back to Delhi’s cold and bathed with cold water ๐Ÿ˜€