Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To head for the mountains

It seems to be a very common fantasy among Indians working in the US Рto chuck their corporate jobs and head off to the Himalayas. I have heard it from so many that it is practically a clich̩.

And so when we planned our first trip within India, we chose the Himalayas. My wife wanted to spend much longer there, but I was the one who limited it to two weeks. I wanted to start small.

The part of the Himalayas we visited (Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Yamunotri, Gangotri) is mostly in the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. Not snow-clad peaks this time of the year, but very scenic. The Ganges (Bhagirathi) gushes right along the roads wherever we went. The food was hearty, accommodations decent. Some of the bus and jeep journeys were scary due to the narrow roads and the sheer drop.

We took two weeks to make the trip that others routinely finish in 5 days. We overnighted in villages that weren’t even marked in the tourist maps. I consciously stayed away from the Internet for the entire 2 weeks.

The Himalayas, to many who dream of heading there, is an idealized version of a place where you can shed all your worldly worries and get away from it all. Garhwal came close.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interspersing "retirement" into your working years

Daniel Pink, after just returning from TED Global 2009 says:

One of the talks that really stuck with me came from the amazing designer Stefan Sagmeister. He described a typical life timeline: The first 25 or so years are devoted to learning, the next 40 or so to working, and the final 25 to retirement.

Then he asked: Why not cut off 5 years from retirement and intersperse them into your working years?

So every seven years, Sagmeister closes his design shop, tells his clients he won’t be back for a year, and then goes off on a 365-day sabbatical. It sounds costly, I know. But he says the ideas he comes up with during the year “off” are often what provide the income for next seven years.