Bruised Passports: Traveling the World as Digital Nomads

When you sleep in a house, your aims are as high as the ceiling; when you sleep outside, they are as high as the stars …

This rather poignant line is an ancient proverb that the Bedouins — some of the world’s earliest nomadic travelers — have been chanting as their mantra and resolutely living by for centuries now as they pitch their tents on the silky sands of the undulating dunes every night after a day spent traversing the sheer vastness of the desert. Resting under a blanket of twinkling stars, with the cool breeze lulling them into submission.

Paints quite a romantic, wanderlust-saturated portrait, right? Now imagine living a similar lifestyle for almost every single day and night for the rest of your life. One moment you’re mesmerized by the Northern Lights in Finland, and in a jiffy you’re in Bali, studying the island’s unique brand of Hinduism.

For most of us, even for a well-seasoned travel writer like myself, this might seem like a fantasy. Something far, far away from our day to day reality. And more so now; thanks to the last two, travel-bereft, pandemic-marred years!

But for Savi Munjal and Vidit Taneja (Savi and Vid, for short), a married couple and the authors of this interesting little book on the trials and tribulations of life on the road for a digital nomad, this has been a way of life they have chosen for themselves. All this, for almost a decade.

Spinning Around

Emerging in a sort of ‘literary chrysalis’ process from their widely subscribed and read blog, Bruised Passports which they launched in 2013, this eponymous book is a spin off that packs quite a punch. Though quick to point out that this is not just a book filled with “dreamy stories of travel, people and culture”, the authors hope to share their insights on how all of us, too, can live a life full of memories, adventure and the excitement of discovering a new place.

For the most part, they succeed very well at this feat. Liberally endowing the book with some much-needed personal touches and nuances.Whether that be talking about a travel-fascinated childhood spent dreaming about seeing the world, or about channeling the grief of a familial loss into passion, the duo’s individual and collective accounts tug at the heart strings offering us all something very identifiable and sympathetic.

Just as they did odd jobs tutoring students and invigilating exams to collect enough money to go on that first dream holiday, I remember putting aside a little money every month from my first salaried job for over a year, so that I could buy myself a plane ticket to Cairo, Egypt. A country and civilization that I’ve always been obsessed with.

Passion’s Project

It is that same obsession that the reader gets a palpable sense of, as Savi and Vid write about chucking their well-paying, regular ‘stable’ jobs to stare into the great unknown. Embarking on a life of perennial travel and location-independent entrepreneurship that has seen them tick off almost 100 countries.And making them forerunners of the travel blogging and digital nomadic sphere in India.

The chapter on 10 Steps to Digital Success is an invaluable roadmap to all those fascinated by one of the world’s newest professions as a ‘digital content creator’. It also, very rightly, talks in great detail of the pitfalls of getting carried away by the seemingly glamorous lifestyle of an ‘influencer’ that can be a smokescreen of the harsh reality of life on the road.

Putting in much more than one hopes to receive is the only true way to get a foothold on success in this business, is something they keep reiterating.The advice on financial security and having a great sense of self (worth / image / respect .. .take your pick!) are other important tips that they hope readers will glean from the book. And glean, we do. Thanks to the easy prose and none-too-preachy tone of writing they employ.

Most of all, the authors are hopeful that like them, all of us too should dream of living a life that makes us happy and content each day. For as the Masais of Kenya believe “ happiness nourishes you as much as food ”.

(A wearer of many hats in the food and travel space, Mumbai-based Raul Dias is a food-travel writer, a restaurant reviewer and food consultant)

About the Book

Bruised Passports

Savi and Vid

Harper Collins

155 pages; Rs. 399

Check out the book on Amazon

Published on

April 13, 2022

When you sleep in a house, your aims are as high as the ceiling; when you sleep outside, they are as high as the stars … This rather poignant line is an ancient proverb that the Bedouins — some of the world’s earliest nomadic travelers — have been chanting as their mantra and resolutely living…

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