Machu Pichu: Peru

8 Reasons Why I Left New York To Travel The World

After living in New York for four years, I decided to leave my high flying but stressful life to go back home (India) and join the entrepreneurship revolution. But before I left the US for good, I thought why not travel as much as possible and try to work to fund my travels. So I packed my bags, gave away most of my stuff and booked a one way ticket to Ecuador. Yes Ecuador. My friends think I am crazy. My parents think I am adventurous. And for the rest of them, they don’t know what the hell I am up to. But as much as its sounds like risky behavior, it feels right.

A lot of people want to know why I’m doing this? Especially within Latin America. Why did you leave a well paying job in New York? Why are you looking to go back? Well, for starters there is so much beauty in this continent and its worth seeing every piece of it. The Amazons, the volcanic mountains, a language that’s spoken around half the world that I would love to learn and this fascinating culture that I have no idea about. But, to delve a little deeper:

Here Are 8 Reasons Why

  1. All this while, it wasn’t my baby: All these years, I have always loved working with startups and new exciting projects. Taking startups to that next level, hustling late into the night, seeing founders raise money, being covered on NASDAQ & just going through the trials and tribulations of working with a company. Its been fantastic. But at every point in time, it was never my baby. It wasn’t my dream. I was helping other passionate entrepreneurs make their dreams come true. So now its time to start my own journey where I make the decisions and I am 100% in control.
  2. Entrepreneurship revolution in India: There has never been a better time to start something in India. According to a recent funding report, Indian startup funding has increased by 300% (Q1 of 2015), 1.7 Billion dollars in seed capital was dispersed in the technology space and a lot of individuals have left their full time jobs to start their companies. Uber’s biggest competitor, Ola Cabs raised $350 million dollars and Flipkart raised $1 billion dollars. I am not suggesting that you have to raise money to start a business but accessibility to capital is a good sign towards growth of an ecosystem.
  3. My dad fell sick: It was in the middle of the day sometime in early April and my mom called at an odd hour and said, “Son, dad just had a heart attack. He’s admitted in the hospital and there is a blockage in his arteries.” For a while, I was in a state of shock but was confident that he would pull through. He has always been fit and is still quite young. Today he is back to full health and helping pilots achieve their dreams while spending more time with my mom and his grandson. But this incident suddenly put a lot of things in perspective. I realized life is short, family is all you got and doing things that you don’t like are a waste of time. When I look back, I would like to remember the times I spent having dinner with my parents rather than going to some bar in New York and getting drunk.
  4. Impart that little knowledge I have gained: After working for over 5 years now in the startup space and learning about lean startup & different growth hacking techniques, I feel there are so many methodologies that entrepreneurs should be aware of to help them succeed. Especially, since we are collecting so much data about our users . So, if there is any way I can help entrepreneurs succeed, that would make my day.
  5. Adrenaline Junkie: Growing up playing competitive basketball, I loved the competition and the adrenaline rush. The adrenaline you get from pushing yourself, testing your boundaries and knowing your true potential, there is nothing like it. Imagine the adrenaline you get from traveling while trying to start something on your own. It feels like you’re gonna take over the world and everything is going to fall apart all at the same time.
  6. US Immigration System: Being in the US and living on an H-1 B visa, it can be highly limiting. It forces you to be employed and make money only from one employer. So, if you want to make money by free lancing, you can’t. If you want to quit your job and take a couple of months off, good luck with legal system and if you want to start something on your own, lets just say its easier to beat Usain Bolt at a 100 meter dash.
  7. Inspired by Tim Ferris: If you haven’t picked up the 4 Hour workweek book by Tim Ferris yet, I suggest you close your eyes and buy that book. Its been my inspiration to work and travel around the world. It gives you life hacks on how to improve productivity, how to take advantage of the system and create freedom for yourself. Just to give you perspective on how good the book is, I had close to 25 books in New York. I gave away all except the 4 hour workweek.
  8. Nothing to Lose: Being in a rat race can be stressful. You are thinking about how much money you are making, how much money you need to save; OMG half my friends are married and when am I gonna have all of that. But if you take a step back and for once decided to stop comparing and just focused on what you want, its liberating. Its only been three weeks since I left New York and I have already had so many great first experiences. And as much as it seems scary, what’s to lose? I thought to myself, “I am single, don’t have student debt and still young. What’s the worst that can happen?”

This journey within South America might last forever or end soon. I might fail while trying to build a business. But the good news is I’ll make some new memories, lots of friends along the way and have the satisfaction that I tried and gave it my all.

You gotta believe you can take the winning shot and make it. And the rest will follow.

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