Neera and Amit Melwani are two friends I met in San Francisco, who decided to quit their well-paying jobs and travel the world for two years. Some may consider them crazy for abandoning their rent-controlled apartment, selling their new BMW and saying farewell to good jobs.
But both Neera and Amit knew traveling was in the cards, and they wanted to explore the world before it was too late, i.e., before a house and kids.
“The hardest part was timing,” Neera said. “Finally, both our careers lined up perfectly in the sense that it was time for both of us to leave our companies because we were at a point where we felt we learned as much as we could in our respective situations. We had our wedding, and took off.”
“There’s a concept that action is more effective than inaction,” Amit added. “We meet a lot of people who talk about their dreams, but there’s so much social pressure not to go against the norm. A big decision for us was just pulling the trigger, knowing we had to book a one-way ticket.”
How much money they set aside
The two budgeted $35,000 per year for two years, which comes out to about $100 per day, and have traveled to 25 countries in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and South America.
They said they are middle-of-the-road travelers, also called “Flash-Packing”, like the backpacking version of glamping. This means they like a nice bed and a bathroom, but also aren’t staying in a 5-star hotel.
Others go more high-end, others couch surf and sleep on park benches. Neera and Amit just wanted to be comfortable.
What they learned along the way
Seeing the variety of human experienced caused both Amit and Neera to question their fundamental beliefs.
“Why did we get married, legally and with a wedding, instead of just being partners forever?” Neera said. “Instead of ‘how many kids do we want?’ We started asking, ‘Do we want kids?’ We questioned religion, because we saw it in multiple cultures and then actually had the time to self-reflect and think logically and read literature on the subject which led us to atheism.”
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“When you get out of your comfort zone, it gets you thinking about stuff that you just don’t think about at home,” Amit said. “I’m a big fan of growth through adversity. The best way to stay stagnant and not grow and mature is to keep doing the same thing.”
To see pictures and read stories of Neera and Amit’s journey, visit their website: Traveling on a Saturday.