If the road is calling you, maybe it's time to answer. Author Bhavana Gesota shares her insights from 25 years of what she calls, "Slow Travel." Hear what she's learned of herself and others on this cosmic walk through life, and learn of a whole new dimension of yourself. Even if the idea of global travel doesn't excite you, Bhavana shares how you can get similar value from experiencing your own city with a fresh perspective.
Bhavana Gesota is an Indian American former technology professional, a self-taught artist, writer, thinker, and meditator. Her working life coupled with her own desire since she was a child to explore the world led her to living in nine countries, working in seven, and traveling to twenty-two more over five continents. What began as fast vacation travel eventually gave way to a love for slow travel.
What brought her to write this book is her firm belief that slow travel can be a real eye-opener to our very ideas of living through a deep and rich encounter with an unfamiliar culture. Slow travel, thus is not just external traveling but also leads to inner journeying. This book is a sum culmination of her own experiences and is meant to inspire and help you to dive into a journey of discovery—internal and external—and find your insights.
Apart from being a passionate advocate of slow travel, Bhavana is an avid food lover, finds cooking to be therapeutic, and considers food as medicine. She loves natural hot springs, engaging conversations over a cup of good coffee, watching sunsets in silence, long train journeys, playing with children, and has a particular weakness for dark bitter chocolate.
Despite a few attempts, she laments that she is to witness the Aurora Borealis in the Arctic sky. The time for that has not yet come.
Go to author.bhavanagesota.com/home to subscribe to my newsletter and link to purchase the book.
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
3:37 What is “Slow Down” travel? Slow down and take in where you are. Drop the list of to-do things and just soak in the atmosphere and get to feel the essence of the place rather than going from one to another, to the third, to the fourth and so on.
15:31 So again, there's this myth that if you go away for a long period of time, like six months or a year or two years, you won't be able to get back into your career. And I found that and proved that to myself, that that's not true. You can come back. And in fact, actually, when you do go on this type of a travel, it it's such an enriching experience that it adds several different life skills to your sort of portfolio. And if an employer does not appreciate that, you probably don't want to work for that employer.
16:47 Especially in the COVID times, more and more employers are absolutely open to the idea of letting people work remotely. Companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, they've already told the employees, you don't need to come back to office as long as you don't want to. There are many other professions, you know, like editors and writers and yoga teachers and so on, who can take their skills on the road and create an income stream while they're on the road.
--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---
Bhavana Gesota (00:00):
As you walk through this kind of a life you fall in love with places you make real connections with people, and then you have to say goodbye. And somewhere in this feelings of sadness and feelings of joy, a deeper journey unfolds.
Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage, and join your host, founder of NotaryCoach.com and Amazon bestselling author of “Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent,” Bill Soroka.
Bill Soroka (00:52):
Cheers and welcome to my next guest, Bhavana Gesota. She's a technology professional, a self-taught artist and writer, and how I discovered her, is she's the author of The Art Of Slow Travel, See the World and Savor the Journey on a Budget. Bhavana, thank you so much for being here.
Bhavana Gesota (01:15):
Thank you so much, Bill, for inviting me on this podcast. And before we continue on, I just want to say that I listened to some of the prior podcasts that you have, and I absolutely love the way the introduction comes on, you know. I feel like, especially with the ching ching of the glasses, I feel like I'm sitting in a jazz lounge and Nora Jones is about to pick up a guitar and start crooning, Come Away With Me.
Bill Soroka (01:46):
I love it. Well, I'm glad it creates that image for you. That's exactly. Kind of the vibe I was going for. Nora Jones should be here anytime for you.
Bhavana Gesota (01:54):
Yes, I think so. I'm just filling in the time now until she shows up.
Bill Soroka (02:00):
Exactly. You're the you're, I can't even remember it, you're kicking off a concert, the Nora Jones concert. Well, that's awesome. I love it. For those who are listening in and don't know what you mean by slow travel. Can you tell us what is slow travel and why did you write a book about it?
Bhavana Gesota (02:19):
Yeah. People often ask me what is slow travel. And actually to be honest, it's not something very new. It's something that I think we as humans or as nomads and travelers have been doing for a very long time. It's just that, like now we have a name for this idea of where we travel slow and like the name suggests it means traveling slow. So it's kind of like the opposite of the fast-paced life and the fast-paced vacations that we tend to take, you know? So the opposite of flying for a week and having ten different places to travel to and visit in that one week. And you have this whole itinerary; so, 8:00 AM breakfast, 10:00 AM go here, 12:00 PM there, 2:00 PM there, 5:00 PM a break, 7:00 PM, dinner and so on and so forth. You know, it's like when it's, it's so fast paced itineraries where you are just constantly going from one to another to another, and slow travel is the exact opposite of that.
Bhavana Gesota (03:37):
It says, slow down and take in where you are and drop the list of to-do things and just soak in the atmosphere and get to feel the essence of the place rather than going from one to another, to the third, to the fourth and so on. So that's the simplest way of explaining what slow travel is. But if I have to define it in a more concise way, like I have done in the book, I find slow travel to be an off-beat, slow and a responsible way of traveling in which everyday life unfolds within the framework of a different culture. So, you know, everyday life like whatever you might be doing in your everyday life, you could be working and living somewhere or waking up, going for a walk and sitting down somewhere, enjoying breakfast while watching the scene ahead of you without having this thing of, oh, I got to go here. I got to go there and so on and so forth.
Bill Soroka (04:44):
You know, I really love the way that you described that as feeling the essence of a place. I've traveled both ways. I think I traveled like the one week vacation mode of traveling like on cruises, on places where you, like you fly into Toronto, and then I've spend every day, somewhere else besides Toronto. So Toronto is just this hub and then people ask, what did you think about Toronto?
Bill Soroka (05:14):
And I have no idea how I felt about Toronto because I was never there. I didn't stop and experience it. I went all the other places for that. And I've also traveled the slow travel method. Not quite to the extent you have, but I can totally see what you mean. And there's something special about sitting at a sidewalk cafe and getting to know the people next to you or seeing things that you don't always slow down to appreciate in a, in a crammed-in vacation. What I love about your story too, is you're literally living it right now as well. You're in another country as we speak, correct.
Bhavana Gesota (05:50):
That's right. I'm in my home country, India, been here eight months. That's right, I've been here months now and prior to, prior to this, I was in Mexico for a year and a half. And I think, I think the COVID lockdowns slowed down my travels even more because I was, I never thought that I would live in Mexico for a year and a half. But COVID did that. And in a way, I think it was a blessing in disguise because it slowed me down even more. And that's where I ended up writing this book is in Mexico. And I started writing this book exactly when the COVID lockdowns started and I finished it, so to say, you know, at least I finished the editing part of it when the COVID lockdowns lifted. So yeah,
Bill Soroka (06:42):
That's incredible. What a great use of time while you're in lockdown, you write a book and this was your first book, right?
Bhavana Gesota (06:49):
This was my first real book that I wrote. Yeah. Yeah.
Bill Soroka (06:54):
What I love is for all of the guests I bring on the show, I send out a, a form with a series of questions on it. One of which is what's your address because I love sending a thank you card and a gift to all my guests. But the response I got from you just nailed it for me. I absolutely loved it. And you just said that you're on your nomadic track, so you don't really have an address and you'll get back to me when you do. I think for me that tapped into something really special and I crave that life, but for others it might feel a little nerve wracking for them. What advice do you have for people who are wondering if this type of slow dra, travel or nomadic life is for them?
Bhavana Gesota (07:41):
Well, first of all, actually, I do have an address. I do have an address in the United States, but I don't usually give it out because I reserve that address for important things like, you know, driver's license renewals, new credit cards that come, not for personal things. And for personal things. I usually give out the address of where I am, where I currently am. Now in your case, I wouldn't want to keep giving you an updated address every year or so that moves. So I said, I don't really have an address that you can send something to.
New Speaker (08:18):
It can be nerve wracking. Yes. I think the uncertainty of things is what can get to people. But for people who feel this to be a bit daunting, let me just say that it's not really that daunting because well, I mean, it does bring in a certain level of discomfort, especially for people who are always sort of lived in one place and they always had a secure home or at least most part of the lives.
Bhavana Gesota (08:54):
And they have you know, a fixed address where their life and the community sort of is built around that. And then suddenly that gets or dismantled and they don't have that. So it can be quite disconcerting for, for, for people. And that's, I I think that's just one of the challenges. So to say that, that we as slow travelers face and overcome it over time. And to be honest now, I don't really feel that not having a fixed address in the United States other than to, you know, an address to receive mail doesn't really bother me as much as it used to a long time ago. So it's just it's, it's, it's a challenge and it's something that we overcome over time and then you hardly even think about it. You actually don't think about it until somebody asks you for an address and then you say, ah, okay.
Bhavana Gesota (09:53):
What address should I give this person? And for what reason, you know? Okay. So here's the thing. I have a very dear close friend of mine who lives in the Netherlands. And he has made a commitment to me to send me something. He's, he's made a commitment to send me chocolates every single year on my birthday. And every single year, a month before my birthday, he sends me an email saying, what's your address, where should I ship your chocolates to? And every single year I give him a different address. And just this last well, just my last birthday, I told him, Mark, you must keep track of all the addresses I have sent you because at some point in time, I'm going to try and get that list from you.
Bhavana Gesota (10:40):
Bill Soroka (10:41):
That'd be an awesome list. Great memory.
Bhavana Gesota (10:45):
It would be a great memory, you know, let's say ten years down the line, to go through. All right, these are all the addresses that I, I was at, you know? Yeah,
Bill Soroka (10:55):
Yeah. If you ever have to pass the security check, you might need your last 10 years of addresses and this guy's going to be able to help you out.
Bhavana Gesota (11:00):
Yeah, absolutely. And Mark, you're responsible for keeping track of all my addresses.
Bill Soroka (11:07):
Oh, I love that. So, and that brings me to, I think, you know, what I used to talk about Vagabonding all the time and kind of similar to this, this type of lifestyle. People would always ask, how are you going to pay for it, or they would ask, what about your relationships? And you kind of touched on that a little bit is that if you do embark on slow travel, you might disrupt some of your regular relationships in your community. So how did you overcome, or what advice do you have for people who are struggling with number one, the financial means to live a lifestyle like this and two, their sense of community and relationships.
Bhavana Gesota (11:48):
Yeah. So let's talk about the first, the financial means because, what I find is that a lot of times people want to go on these type of long trips away from their home, but what really stops them is this question about how am I going to finance it? And let's say they have ways to finance it. Then the next question that comes up is when I return, will I be able to get back into my career or my working life that I put a pause on while I was away. And this concern is more with people who are, you know, there's the other, other set of travelers who are retired people or who have enough investments. So they don't really need to worry about where their finances are going to come from. But this is mostly for people who are in regular ma, regular mainstream careers, want to take a step back, go away, explore another dimension of themselves and this wor, and then this worry does come up.
Bhavana Gesota (12:47):
So let me just say, from my own life, what I've done, like my working life. So I used to work in technology and there was a time when I was really just working in my gray cubicle office in the Silicon Valley of California, chugging away, you know, like clockwork eight o'clock in the morning, reporting into the office and then working the whole day and then leaving. And at that point in time, at some point in time, I decided to walk away from that kind of a life. So in the beginning days, you know, I had enough savings to be able to, that that funded my travels. And subsequently it was also during that time, actually that, you know, I'll always use to dream about, oh, I wish I could take my laptop, go to a beach and work from there.
Bhavana Gesota (13:42):
That would be a dream come true. And my dream was to be in Hawaii on a beach and work from there. But that was the time when remote working was not possible. So here and I was working in a big company - Intel Corporation and the way the technology world is set up with VPN connections and so on, I could easily work from home or remotely, but that was just such a novel concept, that it was not even something that was, that was being entertained back in the days, you know. Even working from home one day in a week was, no way. You got to come into office clock in at 8:00 AM in the morning, and that's the way things worked. But now things have changed with technology and especially with the COVID times it's much easier to make your, your travel dreams come through without having to give up your mainstream job or your career.
Bhavana Gesota (14:40):
Now, of course, having said that not all kinds of jobs can be done remotely. You know, for example, if you're a nurse, you, you can't be living in Mexico and work as a nurse in the United States. You just can't do that. If you're a bank teller, you can't do that. But there are several professions where I see absolutely no reason why people really can't give wings to their travel dreams and take their jobs with them wherever they go. So that's, that's one aspect of it. That's for certain kinds of, certain, certain people who are in certain kinds of professions that they can really make it happen. The first time I went off on a long trip, I had to really, basically, take a sabbatical, an unpaid sabbatical from my work and take off for a while. And then I was able to come back into my career.
Bhavana Gesota (15:31):
So again, there's this myth that if you go away for a long period of time, like six months or a year or two years, you won't be able to get back into, into your career. And I found that and proved myself, proved that to myself, that that's not true. You can come back. And in fact, actually, when you do go on this type of a travel, it it's such an enriching experience that it adds several different life skills to your sort of portfolio, you know? And if an employer does not appreciate that, you probably don't want to work for that employer. So,
Bill Soroka (16:11):
I'm so glad you said that.
Bhavana Gesota (16:13):
Yeah, you, you want to look for an employer who appreciates what you have gathered in your life, not just through your prior work experience, but also through your life experience, you know. So coming back to work even if you had to give up your prior job, I think it's doable. I've done it. I've seen many other people do it. So that's not, I think that I've broken that myth for myself at least. And so that's what I would suggest to the audience. The people who are listening to this, who read my book is that don't let that hold you down.
Bhavana Gesota (16:47):
The second part, like I said, is that, especially the COVID times now more and more employers are absolutely open to the idea of letting people work remotely. Companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, they've already told the employees, you don't need to come back to office as long as you don't want to. But again, these are tech companies. There are many other professions, you know, like editors and writers and yoga teachers and so on, who can take their skills on the road and create an income stream while they're on the road. So my book also talks about different ways to do, to jump into the gig economy, which can sustain them.
Bhavana Gesota (17:31):
Sometimes yes, some professions, like I said, cannot be taken on the road. And that requires a little bit more creative thinking if one has to go beyond just using up the savings and then there's the gig economy part. And that does require a little bit of work to set up. It may not earn you as much as your prior job did, but it might earn you enough to not blow a big hole in your savings or not blow a hole in your savings at all. One of the things that I've found, a lot of people on the road doing is teach English, remotely, to kids in China, Taiwan, or teach business English to folks in Germany, France, you know, so there are, and it really requires not much office startup to get into that. So there are several ways and I've sort of elaborated those in my book is how to sustain yourself financially. And the other,
Bill Soroka (18:30):
Let's talk about that a little bit too, because, real quick, because if we try to maintain our current lifestyle in the U.S. when we're abroad, that's kind of how we equate things, right? But when you're traveling the rest of the world and specifically slow travel, what are expenses like? Is it the same as in the us? Or is it different?
Bhavana Gesota (18:51):
Right. I'm about to get to that point. So good you ask this question? Yeah. So here's a thing like, how much you spend on the road does not have to be a lot more than how much you spend at home for your everyday life. In fact, it can be much lesser. And the way it can be lesser is if you travel to countries where you have a currency advantage. So for example, you work in the United States, so you have your earnings and U.S. Dollars, or let's say you are European and you have your, your earnings and in Euros. And so your savings are in Euros and so on. If you want to get more bang for your buck, so to say, then the way to do that is to travel to countries where you have a currency advantage. You know, so for example, if you travel to Peru, the currency in Peru is 3 Solas that the local, that's, that's Peruvan currency is approximately 3, 3.5. Solas to 1 USD. So if you travel to Peru, your $1,000 in the U S will take you a longer way in Peru. Then they would in the United States.
Bhavana Gesota (19:57):
Then of course there is a spectrum. It depends on how you want to travel. And what is the kind of lifestyle that you want to have? Do you want to stay in five star hotels? And plus then, yes, you will need a lot more money, but still going to a place with a currency advantage will give you a lot more mileage than the same amount of money we're doing your home country. But part of slow travel for me is, it's also about a shift in your lifestyle. It's a shift about, shift in the way you think about living your life. And the journey for me has been mo, has taken me more and more towards simplicity and towards minimalism. If someone is going to go and is willing to travel to another part of the world and try to maintain the same level of lifestyle, looking for five star accommodation, for example, then your monthly budget is going to be higher.
Bhavana Gesota (20:51):
But when you embark on a journey like slow travel, it's also about rethinking how you want to live and where you want to live. One of the things about solo travel is to be able to connect with the local community, to actually drop into the life of the place of where you're going. And that can happen only if you stay closer to the locals closer to the way the locals live. And that's that, invariably ends up, that it ends up such that you actually are spending much less than you actually did when in your own home country. Now let's look at the other situation like you're earning and your, your earning in the U S dollars and you decide to travel to, let's say on Norway. Norway is tremendously expensive. A cup of just very basic coffee will cost you $6 or $7.
Bhavana Gesota (21:45):
So then you've got to re, you got to really think, hmm how much mileage am I going to get in a country like Norway with what I have and why am I going to Norway? So it really depends, you know, you could still have you know, the lesser amount of money and if you still want, if, if going to Norway is what you really want to do, then you have to get creative in thinking about how you're going to manage things over there. And there's several ways to do that. Like you can do work exchanges or, you know, you can enroll yourself in immersion programs where your, the cost of your day-to-day living drops down. So there's several ways to manage that. Does that kind of answer your question or did I ramble off?
Bill Soroka (22:33):
No. Yeah, you did a really good job answering that in detail. And I'm so glad that you did, because I know this is a major hindrance. But what I take away from what you're saying is that there's always a way. If you really want to visit a country, there's always a way to do it, which brings me to the next part of the original question too. If money is one component, but what about community and relationships? So I think this is a multi-faceted question too, because we've got the relationships we may have left behind, that we try to maintain when we're on the road, and then there's this community that we meet along the way. So can you speak to that a little bit?
Bhavana Gesota (23:09):
Absolutely. This is a double faceted question, Bill, because you give up something and then you get something while you're on the road. So that would be a very big question for some people. Why should I give up the, everything that I have around me? This community of people, relationships around me are very stable, secure kind of life. And why should I get into, why should I bring in so much uncertainty in my life? Well, that's where I think that the love for travel and the love for exploring another place, another country, or another part of this really beautiful planet that we live on comes in. You really have to feel that what I'm going to venture into. It's worth giving up what I have, because otherwise you're not, why would you do it? Why would anybody do it?
Bhavana Gesota (24:08):
Then it's something, something inside you has to say, yes, I'm going to give up this, but I'm going to get something else in return. So every decision we make in life is like that, right, Bill, that we lose something and we gain something. So this is what you lose. And, but then you gain a whole lot more while you're on the road. You meet other people, you plug into different communities, you form relationships along the road. And then again, as you move on or as they move on, because we're all sort of travelers on this path, you again, go through the sense of having to say goodbye. I think for me over a period of time, what this has brought me is to some sort of a place of being detached. But not being detached in a very cold and uncouth manner, but more or less kind of like this understanding that we are all part of some big grand journey.
Bhavana Gesota (25:15):
It's like a cosmic walk on this planet earth. And, literally, every travel that I've been to and I've met the people, the people I've met organically at some point in time, I felt that we were just destined to meet in a way for that short period of time. And then we all walk away in, on our own paths, you know? And of course, then we have technology, which comes, it saves us okay, if you have zoom calls and Facebook, and we can keep in touch and make a promise that we'll meet again, sometime on this big grand earth walk. And sometimes that happens. And sometimes, sometimes it doesn't. What it has also taken away and in turn given is, I really value real connections with people where you have an enriching encounter rather than just chit chatting along and having surface kind of scenario, surface kind of encounters.
Bhavana Gesota (26:19):
And those stay with me even if they are for a short period of time. They kind of, you know stay with me for much, much longer. And so, yeah, this definitely is a challenge, but it's also something that we learn from it as we go along. And this is also where, I guess, as we say, travel is a transformative experience and it brings about several levels of transformation. As you walk through this kind of a life you meet people, you fall in love with places, you make real connections with people, and then you have to say goodbye. And somewhere in this feelings of sadness and feelings of joy, a deeper journey unfolds. Yeah,
Bill Soroka (27:10):
It sounds absolutely beautiful. And you're kind of leading me right to my next question. Earlier, you had said traveling like this offers another perspective or another, you get to know another dimension of ourselves. So with that in mind through your journeys, adventures and all of this emotion that you're describing, what have you learned both of yourself and of the world?
Bhavana Gesota (27:39):
The biggest takeaway I have from this is that we're all the same, no matter where we are, no matter what culture we all from, no matter what traditions we follow, no matter what our spiritual beliefs are. My biggest takeaway from this is that we are all the same. And several years ago, when, you know, I would hear somebody say that we are all one and we are all the same. I would think about it as, oh, it's a cliche. It's, it's kind of like, yeah, people say that there's all different spiritual philosophies, which say that. And then you're actually go through this kind of a life where you connect with people from different parts of the world and what you come to understand that we're all driven by the same things. We all have the same needs. We all have the same desires and we all have the same shadows.
Bhavana Gesota (28:34):
You know, we all long for the same things. We all long for community, for a sense of belonging, for all, for being loved and to love and to share. We all long for that, we all have the same shadows. We have the same feelings of anger and resentment and bitterness and abandonment, and going through similar kind of traumas and how we handle it, that the tears that we cry and the laughter that we laugh is made up of the same stuff. And in the end, we are all the same. It really doesn't matter who we are or, you know, color of her skin or the spiritual beliefs that we follow. All of this doesn't matter if we drop down to our core feelings and emotions, if you drop the story and we go down to our feelings, emotions, desires, longings are all the same. We all want the same. We all longing for the same thing.
Bill Soroka (29:39):
That's very beautiful. Do you find that that actually makes traveling easier with that realization?
Bhavana Gesota (29:45):
Absolutely does. Because, well let me put it this way. The way it becomes easier is, is the way you connect with another person that you might meet, you know another complete stranger that you might meet. You encounter that person, not as of a certain religion and a certain kind of a spiritual belief or following a certain, yeah, those are that part exists. And you know, those layers exist, but you also learn to connect with that person as a human being, as another soul, you know. And sometimes it's easier sometimes it's not. And that doesn't mean to say that every encounter or every person I meet along the way I can connect with them, or it's easy to connect with them. No, it's not like that. It's also, it's a two way dynamic.
Bhavana Gesota (30:41):
But the first encounter is not with the layers that the culture or society imposes on us. The, the, the first layer of connection is, yeah, here's another human being. And that human being is probably not probably the same as me and the depends on how much the other person and you together in that specific dynamic are willing to become open with each other and vulnerable with each other. And that's the, where form the beauty of that relationship. That's what kind of stays in the heart as time goes by, even if we may never see each other again.
Bill Soroka (31:17):
Yeah. So I feel like you're just leading me right. To every question that's popping into my head. So I love this. As you were, speaking, the word, vulnerability came into my head and I think there's, for a lot of people, there's this fear of being vulnerable when you go to another country. If, If we get over the fear of going in the first place and we get there and we land at the airport and we're about to go somewhere, how do you, how do you make those connections in a, in a country where maybe you don't speak the same language? How do you be vulnerable in those environments?
Bhavana Gesota (31:55):
One little ability, I think, no, I think what ability comes with trust, you have to trust. And that is a huge thing. And it's, it's not something that you can just do. It's, it's an ongoing journey. It's an, I think it's a journey that's never ending is this thing of being able to trust that you are in a new country, maybe you don't know the language, maybe you just know a few words of that language. It's a culture that's foreign. Can you relate to it's people? Will I be able to trust people? Will I be able to open up with people here? So it's a journey. It's not something that happens. Oh, you know, here I am, and now I can be completely vulnerable or open. Now it doesn't happen. And it doesn't happen with everyone also. So yeah, it's a journey. It's a journey, Bill.
Bill Soroka (32:49):
In more ways than one. It definitely is. Bhavana this has been a wonderful conversation. And again, I shared with you before we even started recording, I truly enjoyed your book. And it inspired me to take even more action to create my own dream lifestyle of traveling the world, meeting interesting people and writing books and words that touch, move, and inspire. And even after our conversation, now, this was a beautifully deep review of what's possible when we get out in the world. Do you have any closing words of advice for people who are listening today,
Bhavana Gesota (33:29):
If you ever dreamed about it then just do it don't think so much. Because I think a lot of times we wind ourselves up just thinking so much about; oh, what if this happens, what if that happens? We wind ourselves up in fear. And one of the beautiful things about slow traveling is I have learned to trust and I've learned to not let the fears take the better of me. So if you've ever dreamt about doing this start taking action and just go for it start planning for it and just go for it. Yeah.
Bill Soroka (34:12):
Well, excellent advice. And that sparked another question. For me, and I can only speak from my experience, I'd love to hear yours, but I feel like the, the call of the road or the mountains or whatever that is comes from deep inside. I've been a vagabond or a gypsy or whatever it is the idea of just traveling and being on the road comes from within. Do you find that with yourself and with other travelers on the road as well? Are there people who feel this and don't feel this, or is it the human thing?
Bhavana Gesota (34:46):
I definitely feel, feel it for sure. I had this love and I don't know why, like I cannot explain why, but I have had this lure for travel since I was a kid. And geography in school was my favorite subject. You know what, because through geography, I was able to travel the world, you know. I would learn about the tundra and the prairies and the steppes and the arctic. And on growing up in India in a small little town, I would always wonder, how is it like on the other side of people, on the other side of the world, we didn't have TV back in those days and neither did we have internet. So there was a lot of curiosity that was getting generated from the geography textbooks. And people I've met on the road, they've all been fueled by some sort of an inner call to, to journey, this earth.
Bhavana Gesota (35:43):
And there are people that I've met who feel absolutely no calling for this, but those are not the people I've met on the road around. What's the big deal about traveling. Like, I don't understand it. I wouldn't want to pack my bags and go away anywhere and leave my safe, secure world over here. And that's fair too. So it has to be an inner calling. It is an inner calling. And I think that what slow travel is definitely an inner calling because you have to give up a lot in order to live this kind of a life, but even people who go away for short vacations, you know, because not everybody can take time off and there're other responsibilities in life that people have. So not everybody can take away six months or a year and go away. So even people who go for short trips, I would say, even they have an inner or somewhere deep down within them. They have a calling and people do as what is possible within their limited circumstances, not,
Bill Soroka (36:48):
You work with what you've got.
Bhavana Gesota (36:49):
With, what you got, yeah.
Bill Soroka (36:52):
So, here's a piece of advice I'd love to get from you, is if somebody only has two weeks vacation, how can they take that two weeks vacation and apply the principles of slow travel to that one week, maybe it's a three-day weekend or whether it is the full two weeks. How can they apply this, the wisdom of slow travel to what they've got?
Bhavana Gesota (37:15):
Absolutely. This is also a question that some of my friends ask me because not everybody can take time away for various reasons. So here's what I would say, go to, go to one place and stay there for, for the entire duration, you know. Pick a small place somewhere, which is really close by to you instead of flying halfway around the world for a three day weekend or for one week, pick a place that really calls you just somewhere very near you and just spend your time over there. Do what the locals do, get down to that and slow down. And keep going to the same place over and over again. A lot of times what I find people asking travelers is, so how many countries have you gone to? You know, if you've been traveling for awhile, how many countries have you gone to?
Bhavana Gesota (38:09):
And I would say, well, yes, I started traveling, let's say 20 years ago. And I, I probably should have, should say maybe 60 countries or 70 countries, but that's not the point. So it's not a, it's not a number game. I like to go back to the same place again and again, and again, if the place really, if the place has a special place in my heart, I prefer to go back there again and again. So if you have only a few days go to one place. Go to a place that's close by and go to that place again and go to that place again and soak in and savor what that place has to offer. And I think it's also important how you choose the place where you go. It really has. I, I think that the, the, that your heart has to really speak out to you that this is a place I want to go. For some reason, there is some kind of a pull to go there and go there once, twice, thrice, or until there's something inside you, which says, okay, I'm done with this place.
Bill Soroka (39:16):
Hmm. I love that. So do you, do you give people permission to do this travel even in their own countries?
Bhavana Gesota (39:26):
Absolutely. So slow travel is not about going away half, halfway around the world into a completely unfamiliar place. You could just go fifty miles from your own house and, yeah, and just stay there for a, for a few days, for a week or two weeks. Yeah.
Bill Soroka (39:44):
What about experiencing slow travel in your own city?
Bhavana Gesota (39:48):
And that is also another level of slow travel is experiencing slow travel in your own city. Yeah. Take a whole day off. And let's say you are used to driving around your own city. Instead of that, pick a neighborhood and go walking in that neighborhood or go bicycling in that neighborhood, explore a path where you rarely go in your own city and explore it in a different way. You know, when I come back to my hometown in India, my hometown is so familiar to me because I grew up here. But of course, over a period of time or this twenty-five years that I've been away, my hometown itself has changed. And so when I come back here, this is actually one of the things that was a challenge for me, but it's also a desire is to experience my hometown, not from the eyes of how I used to know it, but with a fresh perspective, with fresh set of eyes. So you can travel in your own city, in your own hometown, wherever you are with a different pair of eyes, with a different perspective altogether.
Bill Soroka (40:57):
Yeah. I love that. I'm a huge advocate of doing that because some, you can find adventure everywhere, right in our backyard. And many of us live in cities or states where people travel from all over the world just to experience it. You know, I happened to be in Arizona where the Grand Canyon is, and people travel literally from all over the world just to see the Grand Canyon. But there are people who have been born and raised in Arizona who have never seen the Grand Canyon.
Bhavana Gesota (41:26):
And that happens about the place where you are living. You tend to not think about it as a place that's interesting enough to discover. It tends to become a place where you live, you work, you earn your living and you go about your life, but it's, it's not a place that's interesting for you to discover. It's interesting for the rest of the world to come and discover, but not to. And that kind of tends to happen about the place that you live. So that's what I meant when I said bringing a different perspective, like for example, join a tour group that usually only tourists would go to join a tour group and you might learn something very different about your own city.
Bhavana Gesota (42:00):
Somebody I met in Copenhagen, when I, when I was living in Copenhagen, he decided to become a tourist guide. And he decided to become a tourist guide in his own hometown of Copenhagen, because that brought him in contact with a lot of different travelers who were coming from around the world and showing them around his own city meant that he had to go on a discovery journey of his own city from a very different perspective.
Bhavana Gesota (42:30):
And he just took that up as a profession. So that's a very interesting way of discovering your own city is maybe do weekend or once in a week walking tours of a certain part of your city.
Bill Soroka (42:44):
Love that. Love that. Great idea. It reminds me, I've actually done something kind of similar to that. I've been all kinds of little odd jobs and things, but I took like ATV adventures. I used to be a guide on there or the reservations guy. I used to be a hot air balloon ground crew, you know, and you meet people from all over the world and you get to share your state or your city that way.
Bhavana Gesota (43:09):
Absolutely. And through that sharing somehow you also discover more about your own city, but you also discover more about your own self just through that contact.
Bill Soroka (43:20):
Absolutely. Bhavana. Now this has been such a beautiful conversation. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your evening in India, to hang out with us and share your journey and your book, The Art Of Slow Travel. If you're interested in learning more about Bhavana and tracking her travels with our newsletter or even buying her book, you can do that at SideHustleLounge.com/VIP. That gets you into the free VIP room at the Side Hustle Lounge with all the resources from our guest. Bhavana, thank you so much.
Bhavana Gesota (43:54):
Thank you so, Bill. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Bill Soroka (43:55):
Me too. You have a great evening and safe travels.
New Speaker (43:55):
Bhavana Gesota (43:59):
Me too. You have a great evening and safe travels. Thank you.
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