Interview Corner

LAABh – Interview with Ms. Mayuri Singh Sengar

Mayuri Singh Sengar is a qualified lawyer, a certified Yoga instructor, an amateur triathlete, a saree enthusiast, a passionate traveller and a blogger. She worked as a full-time legal advisor in different companies for 8 years before starting her independent practice mainly in the fields of electricity, consumer and insurance laws, all the while pursuing her other interests in sports, travel, adventure, lifestyle and fashion. After traveling alone to many countries for many months, she came back and explored the hidden and offbeat places in India like Kashmir and Chhattisgarh and shared her experiences on her blog – Life Beyond Usual. She aspires to live her life wholesomely and also to motivate others to go beyond the usual and explore all the possibilities.

Q. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and about how you got into travelling and blogging for a living after graduating in law? 

I come from a typical middle-class family and so, the expectations from me were pretty basic – study hard, get admission in a good college, get a degree with good grades, get a well-paying job, get married to a good person, and so on. And so I did, one thing after the other. I graduated from Hidayatullah National Law University in 2009; immediately got a job in an electricity distribution company in Greater Noida; worked there for 3-4 years; got married and shifted to Mumbai by the end of 2012 and got another job here before quitting from the corporate-legal world by the end of 2016.

Since then, I have been exploring all different things I always wanted to – travel, sports, Indian textiles, trekking, mountaineering, etc. – all the while working as an independent lawyer. Blogging started only because I wanted to document all the exciting things I was doing and share my experiences. So, though I quit the corporate world, I continued my legal practice and took legal assignments from time to time while trying out other things.

Q. Why did you opt for law as a professional career? When and why did you switch your career? What was your inspiration/motivation for the same? 

Honestly, I didn’t consciously select law as a professional career. No one in my family is even remotely connected to this profession. Being a science-maths student, my obvious choice was definitely not law; but, at the same time, I was sure that I didn’t want to pursue Engineering also. So, as fate would have it, my father suggested law and I gave the entrance exam and got selected. Since I got selected in one of the premier law universities of the country, I went ahead with it. So, you can say that I chose law because of the college I got into, and not vice-versa.

Technically speaking, I never switched my career. When I quit from the corporate world by the end of 2016, I was the Legal-Head in a power sector company. I took a break of almost a year from law, during which I travelled solo to almost all South-Asian countries in 2017. After coming back, I started exploring different corners of India in 2018; at the same time, I slowly started my independent legal work. So basically, I switched my domain in law – from being a legal advisor/manager in a company, I switched to working independently. This allowed me more flexibility in choosing my work and gave me the freedom to spend more time doing things that I always wanted to do.

To be clear, I always loved working in the legal domain; it’s just that after a while, I felt the urge of getting out of the corporate world and pursuing things I loved and cared about. Somehow, I felt that time was passing by, and if I could not do it now, then I would never be able to do it. I could always have excuses, but I was tired of such excuses and wanted to give it a shot. So, I took the leap of faith and pursued the path that gave me happiness; of course, I took the risk, but I preferred the risk of failure over not trying at all! And last but not the least, my husband really supported and encouraged me to give it a try!!

Q. Has your legal background in any way helped in your current professional journey of being a traveler and blogger?

I think legal background is a crucial aspect in one’s life and it always helps in whichever path one chooses to take. Knowledge about the governing laws of the land always made me more confident, especially while solo travelling. Exercises like moot courts, project presentations during my college time and my corporate work experience overall prepared me to take on the challenges of travelling alone in unknown areas and meet complete strangers. In the instances where I felt that I was in trouble, I knew where to look, what to look for and whom to contact. Also, knowing that the person is a lawyer always makes the scamster think twice before trying to dupe; this really helps while travelling.

On the blogging front, I developed research skills during my legal career which helped me a lot while researching about a place, its history, how to reach, what all to see there etc. My drafting skills helped me in articulating my feelings and putting them into words.

Q. You are a fitness enthusiast and have been an Ironman 70.3 finisher! Were you always interested in sports or is it something you picked up while exploring your interest in travelling and bogging?

My love for travel and sports came from my father who has always been physically active and took us on long road trips every year. Even though I was not a fitness enthusiast, I always loved playing sports during my school days. But once I reached high school, studies took over and I became a bookworm/couch potato. Having a sweet tooth didn’t help either. In fact, there came a time in 2013 when I actually started getting uncomfortable in my own body and that altered my choice of clothes. That’s how my fitness journey started – trying to lose weight and look better.

However, that goal eventually shifted to getting fit and feeling fit, rather than looking better, irrespective of weight. I enjoyed the whole process so much that I ended up training for triathlons. I started my fitness journey and trained for Ironman 70.3 while working full time as a legal advisor, much before I started exploring my interests in travelling and blogging. In fact, my triathlon journey truly made me understand Ironman motto – Anything is Possible!

Q. What were some of the things you considered before making such a unique and unconventional career switch? What were some challenges you encountered during this career transition and how did you push through them?

It all started with finding “Why”; I really started thinking about why I wanted to do that change/switch. Money and high career position never lured me. I got tired of just thinking about all the things I wanted to do and waiting for the perfect time or the perfect circumstances. I realized any day could be my last day. So, instead of waiting, I decided to act. Next came analyzing implications of such decision – both career growth-wise and financially. Time is limited and what you do with that limited time makes all the difference; so, one has to prioritize. I did the same and put my personal growth, new experiences and new skills on priority. Of course, no financial liability, no family liability or no such other kind of liability on me made such life-changing decision relatively easy to make. Once I got comfortable with its implications, I brought my husband and my family on board. I have to admit, I am fortunate enough to have such people around me who supported me even when they couldn’t agree completely to such decisions of mine.

However, instead of completely switching from my legal career, I decided to save up, take a break and then decide what I really want to do. So, I used the gap/break time as a test, and based on how I felt during that time, I decided to pursue both – I didn’t want to fully leave law because I enjoyed working in that field; I couldn’t fully embrace law because I loved other crazy things as well. So, I decided to juggle between both. And now, looking at the current uncertain market scenario, I am happy that I kept many options open and when one was not available, others worked as my back-up.

As far as challenges are concerned, every field, be it old or new, has its own share of challenges. One of the challenges I have faced and I am still facing is consistency in content creation. While juggling between legal work and travel/ blogging work, sometimes consistency took a hit.

Another challenge I faced was multitasking. Being a lawyer, I did multitask, but that was mostly related to law. However, in content creation field, multitasking is at a different level; I had to learn the basics of photography, posing, editing, story writing, digital marketing, social media, website designing, SEO, etc. A lot goes behind a travel story and a blog post.

Managing finances is another challenge. In travel and blogging, you cannot expect positive results instantly – patience and persistence is the key. Trust me, this is easier said than done; more so when our social media feeds keep showing us only the bright and happy side of it and we end up comparing our work with others. Getting financial freedom and stability only through travel, blogging and such content creation is extremely difficult as compared to the legal field. It takes time, creativity, blood, sweat and tears.

Q. What advice/suggestions would you like to give to enthusiastic law students who wish to follow your footsteps and enter your field of work out of passion? 

Find out your “Why”. No one understands you better than you, so dig deep and find out what you really want out of your life. Don’t pursue this simply because it looks attractive, fun and cool on social media. Travel, blogging or any such content creation field is as unique and difficult as the field like law. It requires discipline, hard work, multi-tasking, creativity and real love for it. So, no matter how attractive it may look, don’t do it unless you really think it through. Have some sort of back-up plan or alternative source of income – you would require it initially. Have a solid support system from family and friends and your life-partner, especially if you think of pursuing something in the travel industry. In your absence due to your travel obligations/work, you have to rely on that support system.

Find out more about Ms. Mayuri Singh Sengar –

 

Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh.

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