The Lone Wanderer: Debasish Mishra
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
In our society, Internship is a phrase which is taken as something serious relating to academics and a travel internship is something unheard of. Breaking this cliché, Debasish Mishra, a student pursuing Dual Degree in the Metallurgical Department opens up to team MM about his expedition of his which has brought him an epitome of wisdom and commemorations.
MM: What was the internship about and how different was this internship from the others?
DM: This was an internship where I got to visit places and blog about them. So, it was indeed quite different from a normal internship, which people do and I was being remunerated for doing something that I love. These types of internships are for travel bugs like me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
MM: What motivated you to do this internship?
DM: I have been travelling alone since I was in class 8. Hailing from Cuttack, I did my schooling in DAV Public School, CDA. I had been to places like Puri, Bhubaneswar, etc. places which are inside Odisha. The love for travel came when I set out for solo adventures on my own from an early age.
The real excitation came after I went to Darjeeling in my first year. I went there with absolutely no plans and 2000 rupees. That is when I realised how much I love travelling.
My parents have been really supportive in this regard. That is the luckiest thing in my life. Even if I say I am going alone, they aren’t worried as they know that I can take care of myself. I have been a writer, written many proses as well as blogs. Due to the love of writing, I started doing various content writing internships on the internet. This was the internship, which was a mix of writing and travel, two things I loved the most, so I was really attracted to it.
MM: How did you get attracted to travelling?
DM: I constantly watched travel shows on channels like National Geographic, Discovery Channel, etc. but that wasn’t the real motivation for me to take up travelling seriously. The thing is that once I got the nag of travelling, I couldn’t stop myself.
“Once I got the bite of the wanderlust, I told myself to just set out on the road and worry about nothing else.”
So, personal experience of travelling rather than anything else fascinated me.
MM: How did you apply for the internship?
DM: There were no prerequisites as such. I always kept a watch on the website, Internshala.com. I did quite a lot of internships in the past so that I could earn some extra money, which would fund my travel voyages later in my holidays. On Internshala, it was a registered as a blogging internship and I didn’t know that it was a travel internship then. The site was www.gocabanas.com, a new travel startup. You had to write about travelling, write about places and I was all for it. Three days later I got a call and I was asked to do two tasks. The first task was to send them few specimens of my travel writing and second task was to send some of the pictures of my different travel expeditions. I sent the same, writing about Hampi where I had been the earlier year, and sent pictures of two different places. Then I gave my Personal Interview online and I was selected. I was told that I needed to go to Himachal within the next three days, so I had to discontinue my summer course here in Maths and left after three days. That is how I got the internship.
MM: Was it a paid internship?
DM: The company I was interning at, had deals with several hotels at a place. So, when I was writing about that particular place, I would write in my blog about staying in that particular hotel or eating at that particular restaurant. I was advertising about them. In return, my food and travelling expenses was being covered by the company. In addition, I got around Rs.4000 and I spent it for travelling to places.
MM: Which places did you travel during your internship?
DM: The first state I visited was Himachal Pradesh. In Himachal Pradesh I went to Kullu, Manali down south to Baijnath, Pir, Palampur and then towards west McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala and then to the magnum opus Parvathi Valley which included Kasaul, Kutla. Then I had to go to Spiti but it got cancelled and then I went to Rajasthan. In Rajasthan I went to Udaipur, Jaipur and Pushkar. It was one fascinating journey and I enjoyed every moment of it.
MM: What were the most memorable moments during these visits?
DM: The most memorable moments would be the interaction with the people whom I met. I met travelers from different countries. I would like to cite this one person who was a budget traveler and didn’t have enough money to purchase a flight ticket from China to Mongolia. So he bought a horse and went the entire journey on horseback. That amazed me!
MM: Why do you think are Indians afraid to travel alone at an early age unlike you and foreigners?
DM: The students from Western Countries do part time jobs so that they can earn money. They even manage their money well and spend it for trips to Eastern Countries which are economically cheap for them. Here, you are judged by society if you work part time as a waiter or a nurse. It can’t be imagined. Therefore, we are not self-sufficient like them. Even with our savings, we tend to spend it on materialistic pleasures and not on activities like travelling which will promote our own growth. We don’t make the best of life’s opportunities in this way.
The right time for us to travel is in our teens because when we grow up later in life, our trips are only limited to five-star hotel stays and clicking selfies. The sole purpose of travelling is getting to know the culture, cuisine and meeting the dwellers of the place which gets lost if we keep travelling for a later age.
MM: What would be your advice to someone here in NITR who wants to follow in your footsteps down this path?
DM: Start doing a blog on your own. The academic pressure is less in the first and second year and so that is the ideal time to travel during the holidays. Money is not the only criteria for travelling. What is more important is your motivation and your will to explore. Save some money and use it wisely. Your blog should be updated regularly and start looking out for opportunities on the internet. There are various organizations like NatGeo and BBC who are looking out for people with such travel experience for internships.
MM: Incredible India is not being appreciated by modern society and our love for our motherland is decreasing. What is your take on that?
DM: I would love to see India as a Non-Indian. I am saying this because I have met foreigners who see Indians on such a nice perspective. Indians look at a mundane sight like a rickshaw puller spitting on the footpath with repulsion, but to a Portuguese, it is entirely something fascinating which he has never witnessed before. Indians should lead by example and only when you change yourself, you can change the country. It is our duty to keep our streets clean and preserve our national heritage. We are blessed with such architectural wonders and natural flora and fauna that it would be a great injustice if we turned a blind eye towards their conservation.
MM: What more places do you want to visit in the future?
DM: I plan to finish travelling India by my fifth year. Then I am thinking of going to Bhutan in the coming December because you don’t require a visa. After that, I have plans of using my GATE stipend money to buy a trip to Ladakh.
MM: Do you think this kind of an internship will benefit your CV and aid in your recruitment?
DM: Honestly, this internship might not have added to my technical skills portion of my CV but on a personal scale, I believe that my interaction with people from various countries has increased my social and conversational skills which will give me confidence to answer any question an interviewer might ask during recruitment.
MM: What are your future plans?
DM: Travelling still isn’t viable on a professional level. Therefore, you have to be responsible for your academics as well. After completing my five years here, I would like to teach English in parts of South East Asia, moving across countries like Thailand and Vietnam teaching in schools. I would love to have a job that keeps me on the move be it working in the Diamond Mines of South Africa or an Iron and Steel factory in Argentina.
MM: What is your advice to juniors?
During these years here in NIT RKL, you are at the top level of your energy and age. Make simple memories such as go for a bike ride with your friend or hang out at a cool spot. These memories will be cherished by you for the rest of your life. Find a fixed purpose for your life which will not change in the future. Then start working towards achieving that purpose. We aren’t sure of what we want to do, but once we realise our purpose be it not related to the engineering stream, we should take steps no matter what to pursue that. If I suddenly realise that I want to be a writer per say at the age of 30, I won’t have the skills then to do it. It will be much easier to develop those skills now so that I can pursue it later in life if need may be.