Rishdeep Thind sees the world in 360 degrees. After saving enough money at 28 to quit his marketing job, he left his home in the UK and is currently travelling around Central America on his own, meeting fellow backpackers and sharing his experiences along the way with a 360-degree camera on his blog, 360Backpacking.
Looking at his group shots with other travellers, where he’s often identifiable by his large, jubilant grin, you would never think that he was almost too timid to begin his journey at all. As it turns out, the inspiration that gave him the kick he needed struck in the most unlikely of places.
He’s sharing his story in the hope of motivating others who think they can’t do something to get out there and give it a try. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
'It reignited the passion I had as a teenager to go travel the world, something that I'd lost the passion for because you get stuck in a routine life,' he told INSIDER.
He contacted the Reddit user who had posted the picture, who encouraged Thind to get out there and see the world. It took him eight more months to build up the courage to book a ticket.
'I had pretty much stuck to the same circle of friends I've had throughout my life. To overcome that was a big issue,' said Thind, who described himself as an introvert.
He did move past his hesitations and spent three weeks travelling alone around Thailand. He said it wasn't easy at first.
'I remember the first night when I arrived in Bangkok...there were a bunch of people sitting around chatting with each other, and just approaching someone was really, really difficult for me, to get over that fear of saying 'Hey, how's it going?' or 'Can I join you?'' he said.
But then, someone invited him to sit with them and join them for a drink. That's when he realised that befriending other solo travellers was different than meeting people back home.
'You can literally approach anyone because they're all in the same boat as you,' he said. 'They're all travelling alone. They all want to interact with each other, as opposed to back at home if you were to approach a random stranger.'
'It's the best thing I could have ever done,' he said of those three weeks in Thailand. 'Literally life-changing for me.'
To document his travels, Thind uses a 360-degree camera to capture the full scope of his experiences, hoping to immerse followers of his story in his surroundings.
'It's a bit of a nerdy thing,' he said of his camera. 'Every person I've shown it whenever I pull it out has always been intrigued about what this device was.'
One of those mistakes happened recently on his way to a music festival in Cuba. A taxi driver drove off with his phone, leaving him without his casa's address or a way to find it -- at 5 A.M.
Thind eventually happened upon a relative of the owner of the casa where he was staying, who gave him a business card with the address.
'That was obviously a super scary moment, but it was a great story to tell because of the way I overcame that,' he said. 'Once you've been in a situation like that, any other situation from that point seems pretty easy to deal with. You have to have those experiences.'
Now three months into his trip, Thind plans to continue backpacking through Central America, then on to South America, then fly home to the UK for Christmas before taking off to Southeast Asia.
He posted about his journey on the same Reddit board where he found the picture that inspired him to embark on it. Six months later, he received a message from another user who said that Thind inspired him to go to Thailand himself.
'That was kind of the only reason why I started the blog, because I felt like I needed to give back,' he said. 'My story has already inspired at least one person to do it. I hope that it'll inspire more.'
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