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The techie who quit job to travel across the globe

While working with a top software firm, Clifin Francis didn't know what he was missing. There was a world waiting to be discovered. Having been inspired by some of the tourists on a vacation, Clifin too decided to travel all around the world but only after quitting his plum job. Here Clifin tells the story. (Don't miss the last line)

I was born in a small town in Alappuzha. During childhood, my life revolved around my school and it was at MEC, a whole new world opened to me. It was where I discovered the traveller in me, particularly during day trips with friends. Later, while working with TCS, I took time off to visit Thailand, Indonesia, where I met people who had been travelling for six months or a year. Listening to their stories was really inspiring.

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Those stories made me decide I should try long travel at least once in my life. And in 2014, I quit my job, decided to travel around India and South East Asia for a year, mostly on public transport and hitch-hiking. It was a totally new experience for me. I met new people, toured different cities, and devoured delicious food. I remember living with a Sadhu during Kumbh Mela, volunteering at Dharamshala , staying with a priest in Meghalaya, bartending in Cambodia… the list just goes on.

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Moreover, I realized one can find peace happiness in small things. During a trip, I met a group of cyclists on the road. Their experiences, stories, freedom in a cycle lit the fire in me. Then onwards I started renting bicycles wherever they are available. I discovered different ways to experience every city. Pedalling through markets, stopping at every street vendor, taking in the sights and sounds- all led me to find my own way around a new city. And in doing this, I explored it in ways I would never otherwise have been able to.

I decided to buy a cycle and next trip ideas were running in my head. Even though I didn't have a clear about what to do, I knew 5-7 office job is not my thing. I started working as a freelance math teacher for CAT students. Meanwhile, I started loving teaching. By February 2018, I was ready for my next adventure, 'The Road to Moscow.' The idea was cycling to Moscow to watch the football World Cup.

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Since getting a Pakistan visa was next to impossible, I started my journey from Dubai and took a ferry to Bandar Abbas, south of Iran. It took four months, 5,000 km through different terrains to reach Moscow, a journey I would remember till my last breath.

I understood that the world is really beautiful with beautiful souls around. Random people I met, warmth and care they showed to a stranger in their land was heart touching. When I started my trip, many warned me against traveling to Iran. Maybe because of the media coverage. But from day one itself, I experienced a different Iran, totally in contrast the Iran media showcased. Random people threw open their homes and treated me like their family, doors of all mosques are open for everyone, regardless of their religion. They taught me how to love and care for others. Those four months on the road were a revelation. You just need to get out of your comfort zone to experience it real and I knew my way of travel is bicycle. Next on the cards is my dream trip to Japan.

The idea of the trip ' The Road to Tokyo' struck during my trip to Moscow. It’s a 10,000-km multi-terrain cycling expedition from Kochi to Tokyo through eight countries, experiencing Asia as never before. This time two of my friends will join me in my expedition. We plan to start our trip on December 15, 2019 and spend the next eight months on the road.

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During our trip, we plan to gather wishes and support for the Indian Olympic team from people we would meet on the road. I believe that the passion Indians show for cricket and South Americans and Europeans for football has played a big role promoting the sport and bettered the performance of respective teams. Thus, we would love to dedicate this trip to Indian Olympic team. I also want to promote a bicycle culture in India so that more people take it up as a hobby/passion/profession. We will also use a reusable plastic bottle for the entire trip. We also have plans to conduct talks in schools and NGOs about sports, mental health and women empowerment. Hopefully, this trip will inspire people to come out of their comfort zones and push limits in any area of their interest.

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Had I not quit my job, I would’ve been still sitting before a laptop, totally unaware of the wonderful world we live in. I think we don't really need to quit the job to travel; most of the people who travel nowadays are digital nomads, techies who can work from everywhere .

Clifin and his team are looking for sponsors for their Japanese expedition and if anyone is interested, they may contact: clifinfrancis@gmail.com



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