Antarctica was calling. She was just 22.
Like the many times this Human Scanner hawked for opportunities, this trip was going to be a very special one. She could already see it was going to change her life forever. Stepping on this precious continent, it took her breath away; it also brought her up close to the continent slowly disappearing. This was now her problem and a change she needed to make. She had made up her mind- To come back here one day and with the knowledge that she had made a visible change in the world. Her eyes sparking as always, she says, “I was there, I saw it and now it’s mine to tell”.
Divya Nawale, for me, is a large bundle of happiness and positivity. She strongly subscribes to the idea that you make your own destiny. She also believes that it’s not necessary for something devastating to come by to make you do great things. Great things are something you make happen for yourself. In the couple of hours we spent together, I was left with more than inspiration. “This is my sunshine piece!”, I thought to myself.
If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll notice that her love for exploration seeps through and through. It’s not just about the new places but more so about the overall experience and soaking in the culture of the land. What’s interesting about Div is that she seemed to embody these thoughts even at a very young age.
Exploring Through Childhood
The growing years were precious for Div but very normal even for this star child. Hailing from one of the many progressive Indian families, no barriers were laid on her path and her gender never came up as an excuse. She was an equal and always would be, despite the fact that her family would always worry for her. Being nomadic seemed to be her style and this followed her in dancing as well. She explored both classical Indian and Western styles and fell in love with both. When asked of her favorite dance style she says, “It has to be contemporary”, quite naturally describing the free spirit she is.
All through her childhood, she has always worked towards the goals she set for herself. “Nothing comes easy and nothing presents itself. You need to look for opportunities and then you need to work to achieve them.” Her many soul searching experiences soon saw her picking BITS Pilani an option for growth. “I remember a lecture by a BITSian speaking of going to Antarctica on a project. It suddenly became a personal mission for me, and my dream got a stronghold. My experiences with the people at BITS shaped me to be the person I am today.”
A Melting World
In 2009, when only a handful were aware of the damage the pollutants were doing to our world, Div needed to go see for herself. Little did she know that this one trip would change her view of the world. “Getting there was an experience in itself. I had no idea what pushed me to make this project, but I simply decided to do it. It was a calling with no specific reason.” She was going to Antarctica as a part of an Expedition Team on Environmental Leadership and was the youngest BITSian woman to be a part of this. She traveled through to the south of the Americas and waited patiently for the authorities to work on her visa. Every day was a wait and everyday she would hope. “You need to ask for help. There’s no giving up, there are just new ways to hit your goal”.
Her BITS friends and family pitched in money to make this trip happen for her. 2041, the organization through which she would make the trip, continued to strive for her to ensure everything was smooth sailing. Many calls were made and she continued making her daily visit to the authorities. Unfortunately, The wait was getting longer and she seemed to get no slot for an appointment. Div decided that this would be her last visit, after which she would fly back to India.
As she walked in, something seemed different. “The receptionist, who is usually quite grumpy, looked at me and smiled. It was my lucky day!” she exclaimed. A slot had just opened up and her interview was scheduled right away. The interviewer was beyond impressed with her passion. A deal that usually takes a couple of days to process was cut down and Div was handed her visa immediately.
“Something that you’re passionate about is impossible to not come by if the energies line up,” claims our dreamer.
Healing The World
In the land with the very few, Div was shell-shocked. When at Antarctica, the frozen planet, she watched the glaciers melt away and it scared her. The damage she heard of was suddenly so real and stood like a monster staring at her. She needed to bring this scary story to the rest of the world.
In 2011, she helped set up a 100% renewable energy run education base for children in Maharashtra, working with the Conservation Wildlands Trust. Day in and day out was a drive to make a better planet of where we live. Starting with educating family and friends, she slowly realized that the bigger change needs to come from higher up. She strongly believes that when change is enforced top-down, through a change in mindset, it is easier to implement and delivers greater results. Div feels the strong need to be a part of a bigger change and she knows that a revolution is coming. “When it comes I will be a part of it,” she says, with a determined voice.
As a part of being an endorser of the change the world needs, she now works with a start up, with some of her fellow BITSians, to drive the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) effort. She sounds extremely excited about the new venture that has come her way, and the chance to work with change makers excites her more. Div is big on energy, and endorses the fact that the company you keep serves best in inspiring you as well.
The Globe Trotter
Her crazy work schedules and countless projects did not stop her from exploring. She believes that “with no time and no money, you can still travel if you want to travel”. She found creative ways to make travel happen. Contests and competitions became her favourite path to meet new destinations. She traveled the world, one country at a time, and everywhere she went, she brought back a little bit of the world with her. This meant learning dance forms and foreign languages, living like a local and making permanent connections. She remembers fondly, “I can travel to any part of the world and there will be someone I need to meet”.
Solo travel leaves Div the most excited, smiling from ear to ear. “It helps me discover myself. I do not travel to get away; I love the world I live in too much. I travel to make my world a little bigger.” Egypt is one of the places she travelled to solo and brought back a whole lot of Egypt for India to see. The experiences and the people left her more enriched and down another place on that bucket list. Egypt was a dream, and despite her extensive travel, very new place leaves her a bit more excited. Sure, this comes with its challenges, the family and friends wanting to have you around a bit longer. But well true passion brings out the best in you, and the ones you love see this being the best for you as well.
This globe trotter has covered the 7 continents and now aims to have 50 countries down by the time she touches 30.
We were soon drawing to the end of our conversation, and yet the energy levels stayed top notch. Div shows us so plainly how easy it is to find inspiration with a drive to accomplish. She also believes its ok to not have “clarity”, as it clearly is overrated. You could be still figuring things out, you may be on your way to knowing what you want to do or you may simply never know what you’re really looking for. Regardless of where you are, it’s important to believe that you can still do great things, everyday, in everything you do, and it’s ok for each passing moment to bring you a new dream.
Keep looking though and jump into every passing train. For all you know, you may find that you enjoy the journey even if you don’t find the perfect destination.