Below is the story of 30-year old Adam Pervez, an IE Business School graduate (MBA), who quit his six-figure paying job to "find a deeper meaning in life." He realised he wanted to see and do much more than what his much-sought-after job was giving him. He hence started what he called the “Happy Nomad Tour” and has, over the last two years, travelled to over 20 countries in order to meet different people, stay with them, and learn from their experiences.
PaGaLGuY and the author of this article have decided to present Adam's story rather differently.
Immediately below is an interactive chart which will tell you all about his travel (in his own words) at the click of a button and further down is a small tête-à-tête with the traveller himself. If going through it all, you still want to read more, go to Adam's website at http://www.HappinessPlunge.com
(Red buttons above are clickable)
Instructions on how to use the map above.
- On the extreme right hand side lies the zoom controls. You can use them to magnify further inside the map to get a clearer picture.
- You can also use the “Full Screen” option.
- The red dots are positioned in a chronological order to represent the country the traveler has visited. For example, 21 represents India and this is where he is currently staying. By positioning the mouse on the red dot, you will get a box with an image in it. Here you can either click on the picture to magnify the image or you can click on the white screen outside to read the comments on the place.
- Please feel free to experiment by clicking on the map and dots that represent each country. Those who want it easier, simply click on the Play (>) button and enjoy the ride.
And here's the interview with Adam...
What is the objective of the Happiness Nomad Tour?
In short, to be happy, spread as much joy and positivity as I can, and learn as much as I can. While working at a perfect MBA job with Siemens Wind Power in Denmark I felt completely unsatisfied with life and the direction I was heading in. I looked within and asked myself questions I had avoided all my life like what my purpose is. I was floating down the river of life and finally I decided to grab the oars. I call this process of self-discovery, planning, and then taking action the Happiness Plunge, hence the name of my website.
I identified my passions of traveling, writing, helping others, teaching, learning, and telling stories. I’m volunteering my way around the world to learn about the world from the community level, having meaningful interactions with people across the globe.
The objective is to learn as much as I can so I can start my own non-profit organization in the future. I think the world would be better if more of us were working hard 40 hours per week toward our passions, which means taking the Happiness Plunge.
What are the obstacles that you have faced during your journey?
On a basic level, I get sick very often on this journey. The combination of long overnight journeys, different climate zones, and questionable local definitions of hygiene have left me sick with a cold or diarrhea once every few weeks for almost the entirety of my journey.
I have also been robbed three times. The first time was in Guatemala, though the thief got nothing as I didn’t understand his Spanish. The second time was in Colombia and it was far scarier. There were three of them and they were violent. Still, they got nothing from me. Lastly, I was pickpocketed in The Philippines. This time they won, but not exactly.
Each country presents new challenges to figure out like transportation, telecommunication, 'normal' behavior, food, how much things cost, etc. These are quite easy to figure out though. There are also language issues, of course, but this isn’t as dire or difficult as you might think.
In the beginning it was hard to explain what I was after and everyone thought I was crazy. But over time I’ve won over my family and friends, though I’m sure many still think I’m crazy. Some still ask when my 'vacation' is over, to which I reply “hopefully no sooner than 50 years from now.” Once you give up caring what other people think of you, you’re free to be yourself and pursue awesomeness however you see fit.
Lastly, there is a lot about the world that my comfortable Western existence prevented me from knowing or seeing. Some aspects of humanity and the human condition are downright ugly and sad. The biggest obstacle is not being able to 'fix' these injustices I see. Instead I accept that life isn’t fair and do what I can to alleviate suffering.
Give an example of a weird or an interesting encounter.
In Medellin, Colombia I went to the botanical garden and had some guanabana juice, post which I developed some intestinal problems. I found a bathroom and did my business. I then walked around town all day, took the metro and then a bus to get back to where I was staying. In the bus, a lady tried to tell me something but she was so soft that I only heard toilet paper. I gave her some from my backpack but she was horrified. I reached home, went to the bathroom and figured out that had a toilet paper tail all day, some toilet paper hanging out the back of my pants for all to see.
How do you sponsor these events/travel?
You can read more about the behind the scenes aspects of The Happy Nomad Tour here. In short, it’s a combination of luck and frugality. I worked in the Middle East for a few years after getting my engineering degree. This gave me the savings to pay for my MBA in cash. I finished my MBA with 500 euros in the bank and headed to Denmark to find a job in the middle of the financial crisis. Working at Siemens replenished my reserves.
I have been living off my savings for the past 19 months, though I made a paltry $900 last year through various writing opportunities. I have always lived a very simple, non-extravagant life. Living way below my means has allowed me to be a perpetual saver.
The few flights I’ve taken have used frequent flier miles. I stay with locals everywhere I go. It gives me an insight into how they live, what family life is like everywhere, and forges friendships. It also helps me save money. In 9 months in Latin America I spent $195 on accommodation. Knowing the language helped me a lot there. Even including my time as a tourist in Myanmar, I’ve spent $780 on accommodation in the past 19 months – less than a month’s rent for my apartment in Denmark.
I have had no sponsors and I don’t advertise on my website. I’m open to sponsors, but I think it would be hard for me to find a corporate sponsor whose mission and vision are aligned with mine.
Which country are you going to next?
After I leave India in the beginning of April I’ll head to Madrid, Spain. I’m giving a speech to the new intake of students at IE Business School. I’ll inspire them to think outside the box regarding their careers over the coming 13-month program, and to use their time in business school to take advantage of all the incredible resources at their disposal to make their dreams come true. To communicate this, I’ll use the stories of the numerous inspirational people I’ve met along my journey who are changing the world one day at a time as well as my own story.
After Spain, I’ll take a break in Cyprus. My intestines need a rest after India, and I need to take a break to get caught up. I want to start writing a book and I will start a small business to help achieve financial sustainability. My break will be 3-6 months and I might give living in Turkey a try as well. Then I’ll resume The Happy Nomad Tour in the Middle East.
What is your advice to Indian students?
My advice to Indian students will be to follow their dreams and to find what motivates them. They don’t have to emulate what I am doing as there will be visa issues. Instead I would ask them to look within and see what excites them and what would make them get up in the morning and follow their dreams.
(Dear Puys - if you liked the way we presented this story, do let us know!)