Traveling the world and yet earning money: Read the fascinating story of this Indian blogger


Unlike us, she has no home. For each one of you reading this thrilling story of Shivya Nath, she doesn’t need to go back home after a long travel. For her it’s just moving on, quite literally. She is different from most of us. For you may be remembering 2016, the year gone by as a year you got hooked to a girl or got promotion, but Shivya remembers the year as “the year I imprinted myself into the sky.”

“Three years ago, I gave up my home, sold most of my stuff and embraced a nomadic way of life. This journey has taken me as far within as with my feet,” that’s what Shivya writes.

Also read: The richest bloggers in India

Just like you go to office every day, Shivya was just like us. From having a 9-5 job, a handsome pay package and a lot of stories stored within. She chose the last one to live with. We take ages to make a plan to meet over coffee on a lazy winter Sunday, but Shivya goes to Guatemala, Romania or a village in Goa when she feels bored.

In 2011, “I had begun resenting my 9-to-5 routine and cubicle-bound life. I told myself that if I don't take the plunge now to experiment with a different way of life, I might never do it.”

Less than half a year later, she had enough to travel in India and set out for her first destination: Spiti. Six years later, Shivya is still on the road, documenting her adventures on her blog, The Shooting Star and her Instagram.

Shivya spoke to Business Insider about what her non-traditional life looks like, the reality of working on the road, and how she affords it.

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Travelling solo

Travelling solo

I travelled solo to Hong Kong and Australia back in 2011 and 2012, but the trip that really left an impression on me and changed my relationship with the world was my first solo trip in India - to the high Himalayas of Spiti. I spent a month volunteer-travelling with Ecosphere, a social enterprise that uses the tenets of responsible travel to support local communities and the sensitive ecology of the Trans-Himalayan region.

On that trip, I hiked and hitch-hiked to remote monasteries for ground research for a 'Monk for a Month' program crafted by Ecosphere. I spent some of my days swapping life stories with nuns who have meditated in solitude for years, and some of my nights tracing the lunar eclipse and spotting shooting stars in the incredibly dark night’s skies.

​ Last day at workplace

​ Last day at workplace
I guess my last day at work was bittersweet. I had learnt so much about about the travel industry and digital world from my work and my colleagues, yet I was ready to put myself out into the world and build a different life for myself.

Becoming full time traveller

Becoming full time traveller

I think it was a series of experiences and realisations. Back in 2011, I was based in Singapore, working a corporate 9 to 5 job with a steady income. Even though I enjoyed my work as a social media strategist, it was my travels around Southeast Asia - living with the White Thai tribe of Vietnam, swimming with black tip sharks on Malaysia's east coast, exploring remote islands in Indonesia's Sulawesi region that really made me feel alive. As part of my work in digital marketing, I had begun following the journeys of travel bloggers and digital nomads around the world , and at the same time, I had begun resenting my 9-to-5 routine and cubicle-bound life. I told myself that if I don't take the plunge now to experiment with a different way of life, I might never do it.

Convincing oneself

Convincing oneself
Comfort zone is a strange thing. The longer you stay in it, the harder it becomes to reach out for the magic outside.
The idea of giving up financial security and a steady income was scary at first. But I decided to give myself a year to try and make an alternate lifestyle work for me. I separated my savings into money I'd initially live off while trying to make it as a freelancer, and a back-up fund. I promised myself that if I had to dig into my back-up fund, I'd straighten up and start looking for a full-time job again.
When the going got scary, I would ask myself: What's the worst that can happen? And I realized that nothing would be worse than never trying, never experimenting, never knowing what else I could do with this one life.

Money saved

Money saved

Enough to travel in India (on a moderate budget) for 6 months, plus a back-up fund to live frugally for 6 months (if I had to go back to look for a job).


First travel experience

First travel experience
I travelled extensively around Southeast Asia while I studied and worked in Singapore.

Earning money from traveling

Earning money from traveling
In the first 2-3 years, the majority of my income came from freelancing travel writing and social media consulting.

Since 2014, I've been making the majority of my income through travel blogging.

​ How much money can a travel blogger earn?

​ How much money can a travel blogger earn?

It is very subjective. Some travel bloggers earn next to nothing from their blogs, while others make 6 figure incomes (in US$). It also depends on your objective as a travel blogger.

Personally for me, I now earn enough from travel blogging to fund my nomadic life. It's not really about the money for me. If it was, I'd still be working a corporate job. But about having the freedom to pick up my bags and go wherever in the world I want (visas permitting, of course) and wakeup to new horizons without a timeline or agenda.
I've written extensively about how I make money as a travel blogger here.

Best three travel experiences till date

Best three travel experiences till date
That's such a tough question!

I loved traveling around Central America - living with an isolated, indigenous community of cacao farmers in Costa Rica, volcano boarding in Nicaragua, learning Spanish in a Mayan village in Guatemala, and living on an island with bioluminescent algae in Panama.

Living without a home

Living  without a home
The only reason I kept coming back to my rented apartment was the need to have a base to recharge my batteries. But I let go off that need. All my work is online, and I’m far more creative when I’m working in a pretty little corner of someplace remote, than I was in my characterless apartment.

So in August 2013, I let go off my apartment, sold most of my belongings, stored some in the boot of a friend's car, and set out with my backpack. For three years, I have moved, uninhibitedly, as much within as with my feet, like a bird without a nest, flapping my wings in the vast skies, swooping down on parts of the world that beckoned me. Much has been learnt, more has been loved – and the one thing that has remained constant is my desire to keep moving.
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