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What I Learned About Compatibility While Travelling This Summer

26 August 2021

Taking a Break from Work.

For the first time in five years, I took a few weeks away from work to travel around Greece and the Balkans. Left the laptop at home. Told everyone I’d be away from my desk. This felt super refreshing.

The bay of Chania, Crete (one of the cities I visited) - Photo by Ilias Nickolarakis)
The bay of Chania, Crete (one of the cities I visited during my summer holidays) – Photo by Ilias Nickolarakis)

The Pressure to Succeed

Growing up in Mumbai, India, we were taught my strict Catholic nuns who frequently talked to us about our good fortune to have electricity at a time when many Indian villages were still off-the-grid (thankfully, this is no longer the case).

“You’d better work hard,” we were often told, “because so many children can’t even read their books at night.” By the time I was six years old, the pressure to get straight A’s and study at night was intense. There was no discussion about anything else.

The Mumbai Skyline (Photo by Vinay Darekar)
Growing up in Mumbai (Photo by Vinay Darekar)

New York City Nightlife

When I lived in the US and attended NYU, it felt normal and even courageous to pull all-nighters, studying in the library into the early hours of dawn, and emerging victorious with my paper completed at 7am or so. This was in addition to working part-time throughout my studies, and on various research and consulting assignments in summers.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City (Photo by Colton Duke)
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City (Photo by Colton Duke)

Hard Lessons in Haiti

A few years after graduation, I went to work for an NGO in Haiti. It’s a small country in the Caribbean that used to be a French colony. Many French people still go there to work, and many Haitians speak excellent French.

Driving to work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Driving to work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

At my job, there was a young colleague from France, named Clément. We were both in our early 20’s, neighbours in the apartment complex provided by the company, and colleagues during the day. Every morning, we scrambled, bleary-eyed, into the company car at 6am to drive one hour to the office, and then came home together through peak traffic around 4pm.

The Mountains of Haiti (Photo by Kelly Lacy)
The Mountains of Haiti (Photo by Kelly Lacy)

As you can imagine, we spent a lot of time together in the car, and during lunch breaks at the office.

During these hours, Clément shared stories of his life in France as a student – he was in Haiti temporarily for an internship. In turn, I shared stories of my past life as a student in New York, and how I spent so much time at the library and at work.

Photo of my neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Photo of my neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

“But Malaika,” Clément said in shock, “The evening is not for working!”

His comment shocked me, because I recognised the truth in his words.

This was the very beginning of my wake-up call to take work a little less seriously, and place more importance on living and on relationships. I went on to experience a burnout a couple of years later, which left me in a zombie-like state, and was one of the triggers for my two-year cycling trip from Alaska to Argentina.

Live to Travel

A summer holiday is but a brief chance to disconnect and live like the locals in a foreign country. But it was a strong reminder of the months and years I spent on the bike, sleeping in a tent, living according to the seasons, with the goal of learning about a new place, and having adventures.

While travelling, I met and was hosted by many people who prioritised their relationships as much as their jobs. Just like Clément, they taught me that life – the daily routines of picking up children from school, kneading bread for dinner, or sharing a meal with loved ones – can be as rich and fulfilling as work, as a career.

Cycling in Alaska, at the beginning of my bike trip
Cycling in Alaska, at the beginning of my 2-year bike trip from Alaska to Argentina

The two-year trip taught me a lot about living in the moment, and helped me find my life purpose as a Professional Indian Matchmaker. Today, my mission is to help global professionals meet a life partner who also loves to travel.

Helping Ambitious Professionals Find Life Partners

As a Professional Indian Matchmaker, I work with smart, ambitious professionals all over Europe.

These folks are goal-oriented, analytical, and always look for ways to evolve and keep moving. They like to feel challenged.

I get it, because I’m the same way. And travel refreshes me so much, so I can come back to work full of new ideas and with more energy to do good work.

Getting Back to Work after Holidays
Getting Back to Work after Holidays

Your job is a very important part of life – getting promoted, earning more. It feels somehow validating. It’s very nice to see your work appreciated. It’s like a little award, it feels nice.

Like-Minded Professionals Who Love to Travel

Before going on holiday, I was worried that I’d fall behind in my work. What I didn’t realise nor expect was to return to my desk with so many new ideas, and so much more motivation and inspiration for my job as a Professional Indian Matchmaker, and for my relationships – partner, family, friends.

Watching the Sunset in Santorini, Greece
Watching the Sunset in Santorini, Greece during my summer holidays

To my own surprise, I realised that I didn’t need to choose which one was more important. My loved ones and my clients were so eager to hear about my travels and see photos, because they, too, love to travel. We were able to bond on a mutual commitment to doing great work, and a commitment to the joy of discovering new cultures and countries.

The good news is that both men and women feel this way. Prioritizing work and travel and a family life is not a gender issue, it’s a lifestyle decision.

A Lifetime Commitment

When I was cycling from Alaska to Argentina, I used to think, ah, no matter how much I could love a person, I will always love travelling more.

But while travelling, I met people who loved to travel as much as I did. They were committed to travel – discovering new places, meeting new people, learning about a different culture and civilisation.

I learnt that you can find a soulmate who is just like you: crazy about travel, committed to work, and ready for a long-term relationship.

An early morning hike in Santorini, Greece
An early morning hike in Santorini, Greece, during my summer holidays

They were also stable professionals, committed to their careers. Our mutual love of travel made us compatible. These are the kinds of people you want to find – who share the same values as you. To borrow a term from marketing, this is your target audience.

These are inspiring people who dream of going off the beaten path. Seeing the Northern Lights, or sleeping in a pine forest in the South of France. They are found in the national parks, small cafés, and outdoor concerts of the world. Rarely do you meet these kinds of people at the office.

The Journey is the Destination

The goal is to find a committed relationship where people actually want to be there for each other, and they have a long-term orientation.

Making New Friends in Greece ;)
Making New Friends in Greece 😉 during my summer holidays

The joy of travelling is multiplied, when you can share new experiences in a beautiful place with a person who you love, trust, and with whom you want to spend a lifetime discovering the world.

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