Hey there! I see you want to know more about me and this is what brings you here.
I started travelling when I was 21. Fresh out of graduation, I went for a five-week volunteering programme in a village near Pune where I worked with mentally disabled adults. I was the only Indian volunteer with people from different countries such as Germany and the Americas. I loved every bit of volunteering and travelled with a purpose.
My first solo trip with my own money happened when I was in my first job. I attended a friend’s wedding in Chennai and hopped on a state transport bus and reached Pondicherry. (I was tired of waiting for friends to join me and one day I just decided to set off)
Ever since then, there is no looking back. Back then, my full-time job in the development sector allowed me to travel. I was happy at my work and took up jobs that I liked. Life seemed good. However, since I am on a self-exploration journey, I quit my job.
How do I travel?
I am a solo- backpacker and travel on a budget. I do not have a fixed itinerary. I do not book a hotel/homestay/hostel for long. Most times, I reach my destination and ask the locals for their recommendations and then choose a place. You can read about one such experience: Here
Did I tell you I spent only Rs 500 a day for the food, stay and had one of the best experiences?
Should you travel solo?
Absolutely! Travel to empowers you. In my 6 years of travelling, I have felt safe. Going with my instinct and a bit of common sense has kept me safe. I have realised: Safety is a mindset and unless you go out there, you will never be able to overcome your fear.
There have been times when I reached a destination with no booking whatsoever and was welcomed into the homes of people. I have lived with strangers in villages and have felt safe. You can read about my experience: Here. I learned the tribal Warli art here.
Travelling with a purpose
I thrive on new experiences and I like to travel with a purpose. For me, travel is both an inward and outward journey. The inward journey requires more of self-introspection, learning through reflection. The outward journey is what I see when I am travelling.
Hence, I keep experimenting with the way I travel. On one such trip, I lived without a phone, camera and did not even have a watch! How travelling solo for five days without using technology shaped my perspectives.
I also like to volunteer while I am travelling. I think volunteering is more of unlearning than giving back to people.
Living on a train for 15 days!
As I like purpose driven travels, I was sponsored by Coca-Cola on a 15-day train journey – Jagriti Yatra, where I travelled for 8000 km in 15 days and covered 12 cities in India. I learnt about nation building through enterprise.
That apart, imagine living in a train for 15 days and I mean having a bath on a train! This by far has been one of my best travel experience. You can read about my experiences here:
When Travel helped me restore my faith in humanity
The Better India article talks about my travels and experiencing humanity in India.