Mundane office jobs are not for everyone. People who crave to follow their heart feel shackled in the four-walls of the corporate premises and freelancing is a way for them to do want they want to do and earn. For Mumbai girl Japleen Kaur the choice was not easy. The distance between her dreams and where she was, was as vast as that between an ocean and a mountain range, literally!
Few months ago, Kaur was doing what any other Mumbaikar would be doing. Travelling everyday two hours in the Mumbai local and fighting maximum city’s traffic to reach office. Talking to Financial Express Online about her days in Mumbai, Japleen Kaur said, “Mumbai and I had a love-hate relationship. I was working here as a content writer, and video producer for around three years.” Describing her work to Kaur said, “From humour to DIY, tech, food, and travel, I was creating almost everything. Attending new restaurant openings, fancy events, tasting food menus was my work, a dream job!”
Kaur had what every youngster would want in their career but there was a void. She was not doing what she really wanted to. “I really, really wanted to travel and I took resigned from my work after much deliberation and headed to Mussorie with my childhood friends.”
So far so good. But once she came back to the Maximum city reality hit. Kaur was jobless. “I almost panicked and started mailing my resume to organizations and potential employers as staying at home or without work was not an option either. I can’t stay without work either,” Kaur told Financial Express Online.
This is where Instagram ‘rescued’ Kaur. “While scrolling through the app, I saw a post by famous travel Instagramer Abhinav Chandel about an internship opportunity in picaresque Spiti valley with a local company. I did not think twice on it and applied for the position of a copywriter. Though I was not expecting anything out of it. About a week later I got a confirmation call saying that the internship was mine. That’s when I told my parents, and they immediately logged on to YouTube to watch all the videos on Spiti that were ever made.
Within 5 days Kaur was on her way to Manali where she met her team, and they spent some 20 odd days documenting the whole of Spiti Valley, from one village to another. It was during this time when she decided that this is home and she couldn’t go back to Mumbai. “It may sound extremely cliché but there was some kind of peace that resonated with me in the hills, the people here, and there was no way I was going to lose it all by returning to the mundane grind.”
But real world is different. One can’t shift on a whim nor can survive without thinking it through. Luckily for Kaur she had a guide in Abhinav. “He believed in me, long before I even decided to shift, and that kind of motivation could help you move mountains. And that’s exactly what I did,” Kaur said.
But for Kaur, breaking the news to her parents was a task in itself. “Before I broke the news to my parents, I called up my previous mentors asking them for freelance projects. Since they knew me, and my work within a few days I had some great brands on my CV, and stable source of income to help me sustain a living. After this, a friend from Himachal supported my stupid sounding idea, and asked me to come visit him. That’s how I found a gorgeous home in Mashobra near Shimla, one that I could call my own.”
“Once this was set, I made that dreadful call to my parents. I had my arguments listed, all ready to debate the pros and cons of my decision with my father. But to my surprise, all he said was – go do it. My parents have had my back since day one. Trust me, if they had any issues my journey wouldn’t have been this smooth,” Kaur recalls.
Kaur then came back to Mumbai for to say goodbye to her closed ones, and pack her bags and then reached Himachal again, and found her forever home not at one but various places.
Now her life is every instagramers dream. She goes on treks, watches sunsets, explores new regions while finishing her articles, shooting videos, and working while living her dream. “You need way more discipline in the mountains to work as the distractions are a plenty,” Kaur warns aspirants who look for similar path.
Kaur’s advice to those who want to pursue freelancing while living their dream is that tough “the mountain may look all amazing but it gets real when you have to walk for kilometers just to throw the garbage, the pipes freeze because of the minus temperatures, you have to think hard before washing the dishes, you don’t bathe for days, and just waking up from the bed becomes a task.” It is not a bed of roses!
Can others do what she is doing, Yes! Said Kaur adding that just be sincere and complete your work no matter what. Build as many contacts as you can and start by not being too demanding in terms of pay. It starts slowly. because first you build your brand and garner attention. Eventually, your work will get noticed.”
“Also, If you’re planning to shift remember to save as much as you can before you take the plunge. If you have sufficient savings you can easily live a comfortable life here. The rents are less, and the cost of living is cheap making your experiences extremely rich if you don’t go down the wrong path. Which again is easy if you’re in the wrong company,” Kaur advises aspirants.
Mountain life is great for your Instagram account, and your friends back in the city may only see the good parts but I stay for a few months before making a permanent decision. “Rest assured, it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do, the best connections you’ll make, and the best life lessons you’ll gain.”
Remembering how Instagram changed her life, Kaur told Financial express Online, “I still can’t believe that an app that I hardly used turned out to be the reason for this change. In the end, I got to know that not all Instagramers are fake, some could impact your lives in way you won’t even know until much later. So, I guess thanks social media for existing and helping me meet people who were catalyst to everything that I’ve done in the latter half of 2018.”