From A Sabbatical to Digital Nomad: Utkarsh's Story

Thursday, May 17, 2018

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your name and where are you originally from?

Hi! I’m Utkarsh from New Delhi, India. I wanted to live stories ever since I was put to sleep with the tale of The Little Red Riding Hood. Life caught up with my dreams and I ended up being an engineer. It was only later that I realized that I don’t want a bigger house or a faster car. In one of the best decisions of my life, I quit my job and ventured ‘into the wild’. I’ve been travelling for past 5 years now. I’m a digital nomad working in various roles on the go to help me travel. I also freelance as a travel writer.

2. Where do you currently reside and is there any place in the world you can say for yourself that you’re local there?

I have been travelling for past two years with New Delhi, India as my base. I grew up in Lucknow at my parents’ house and if there is any place in the world where I can say for myself being a local it will be Lucknow.

3. We saw you had quite amazing adventures during your journey, so could you share the trick with us? How do you fund your trips and for how long you’re on the road? Do you have a home base or you’re constantly on the road?

I ventured out on the road thinking I will take some time off, like a short term sabbatical. But the more I travelled, I realized this is what I want from life. Once my savings exhausted, I started coming up with various jobs where I can use my skills developed over time with travelling to help me travel more.

Now I’m constantly seeking out short/long term assignments which take me to new places. I recently spent 4 months in a remote wildlife sanctuary where I was working as a host & manager for a luxury estate homestay. I also started my travel blog ‘Soul Trails’. For the most part of the year I’m constantly on the road hopping from one assignment to another.

4. What’s the criteria for choosing your next location?

There is always something to see and learn in every corner of the world.

There is no criteria for me. I believe there is something to see and learn in every nook and corner of the world. Be it a city or a forest. Where ever there is an opportunity of a new assignment, I move to that location; exploring one city at a time.

5. What was the breaking point of starting a digital nomad career?

I’d say the breaking point came as a moment of revelation that dreams don’t realise on their own. We have to make happen what we really want in life. I planned my sabbatical for two years. For two years I kept telling myself that I will quit my job and just travel but I could never take that final leap. Until one day it just came to me and typed my resignation email. What followed was just life with no prior plans and two years later, I’m a digital nomad.

6. What kind of job you’re currently working on? How did you find this one?

I’m currently working as an English language teacher. I was recommended by another digital nomad who was working on the same assignment prior to me. Internet is of huge help in finding such assignments.

7. What aspect of your job you like the most?

Traveling is the best teacher if your desire is to learn about different, beutiful cultures of the world.

I love being a digital nomad. I’m learning various skills and interacting with people of different ethnicity and culture. Collecting stories wherever I go. It gives me absolute freedom to live my life the way I always wanted to. There is so much to learn in this world and travelling is the best teacher.

Being a digital nomad not just allows me to travel at my own pace but also helps me to take care of the more practical aspect of life like earning and taking care of basic necessities.

8. What aspect of your job you dislike the most?

As much as uncertainty is fun; it takes some time to get used to of not knowing what you will be doing after a few weeks or where you will be.

9. How’s your regular working day looks like?

My regular working day starts early. I work for 5-6 hours and then I’m free to wander wherever I’m.

10. Do you pay close attention to work-life balance? Could you tell us a bit more about that?

Yes, I firmly believe in work-life balance. I think there is life after and beyond work, too. The world has become very materialistic where more often than not, we all find ourselves running after something so blindly that we didn’t even pause to look around and ask ourselves if we even want it.

The whole work-life balance comes down to not just making a living but living it, too.  

11. What’s your advice for someone who’d like to start with digital nomading, but constantly getting discouraged by the society?

Take initiative for a change that you desire. No one can hold you back as long as you believe in yourself!

As soon as we are born, we are casted into a hierarchy based on our sex, religion and social status. Most of the people follow it blindly without questioning anything. The true spirit of human existence lies in adventure. Seeking experiences which are above and beyond the conditioned life of security and conformity. It is fatal to an adventurous soul.

Don’t restrict yourself to unhappy circumstances just because you are told so or you are supposed to do something aligning to the cumulative understanding of what’s best by the majority of the people around you. Take the initiative to change your circumstances.

The opportunities are endless. Make memories; collect some stories for when you are old. The life is out there!


Meet Utkarsh! He wanted to live stories ever since he was put to sleep with the tale of The Little Red Riding Hood. The roads became his home as he continued collecting stories hopping from one place to another.  When not travelling or writing in his journal, you will find him planning his next trip, daydreaming about places and people he left behind or just pondering over art or meaning of life in general.

He quit his job to travel to and write about the magical lands he visits. He is currently living in New Delhi with his beloved camera and books.

To find out more about Utkarsh and his stories, check his blog. You can also follow him on Instagram, Twitter at thesoultrails and on Facebook.

Antonio Gabric a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
Traveling is the best way to learn about the world and cultures. It changes your mindset and you see possibilities everywhere.