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Interview With Venkat Ganesh On BongYatra

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Bongyatra interview

Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Venkat Ganesh. I’m a Bombayite, not born but raised entirely. In 2012, I went traveling around a few states of India on my bike and have never looked back since. Since then, I’ve trekked the Himalayan Mountains, rode motorbikes and taught English in Vietnam and a few other things here and there.
Besides traveling, I liked reading, sitting in cafe and watching the world go by.

After visiting which place you started your blog?

Actually, I started my blog before I went on my ride across India. This was in late 2011, early 2012. I knew that I was gonna travel for a while and so I thought why not start a blog just for people to read my travel stories.

What is the one thing you can never travel without?

I think, a sense of curiosity or a strong desire to experience something. I mean there are a lot of places or experiences that I’ve never been very excited about. For e.g. The south of Thailand. On my first visit to Thailand, I spent two months in the country. But never felt attracted to the beaches or the parties or even Bangkok. I’ve been to the county a few times since but never been to the south. In fact, Although I’ve been to Bangkok a few times, I can’t say that I’ve seen anything of the city except my hotel/hostel room in the city.

What’s the first ever trip in your life and how old were you back then?

Since my family, we based in Bombay and my uncles and aunts and grandparents were down south, growing up yearly trip to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were a must. But except for hanging out with cousins, there was no traveling as such.
I would rather say that I started traveling places when I about 18-19. With my buddies from the university. We’d go on bike rides to some places in western ghats and then trek a mountain. So that was the earliest of my travels

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Is blogging your profession or passion?

It’s neither of those. I just started it to document my stories and information to help people travel more anyway I could. And I haven’t turned it into either yet. A lot of wonders that I might be making money from it and ask me for advice. But I don’t have any practical experience about blogging as a profession to make a steady income. I’ve never made a single penny of it.

What is the unique experience you’ve ever had while traveling?

I think the kindness of the people that I encounter has always been the most memorable factor for me. And each time it has been unique in its own way. There was this really old lady who started chatting me up when I was in a public bus in Ho Chi Minh city. On getting to know, I was looking for teaching gigs, she invited me to her home next day, ( in fact she sent a driver to pick me up from my hostel) gave me a few books and said that she wanted me to teach her child once the school started in a couple of months. She even gave me some money, for the time I spent visiting her and didn’t take no for an answer.

There have been times I’ve asked directions about the road ahead and have been invited to dinner and offered the bed. There have been people who I met in a city and then met the same people again in another city without any plans to meet them and who eventually turned out the be my best friends

How do you decide on a destination? What are key factors behind your every selection?

I don’t have any selection criteria, I just go. As long as I can afford it 😉 As I mentioned earlier if I don’t have an initial attraction or something that’s pulling me towards a place I don’t go. And there are certain places that are nothing more than a village with 10 families, but I loved them and therefore I spent weeks there just walking around and reading books.

By far, what has been your most popular blog post and what was it all about?

I guess, my post about Chadar trek raised quite a few eyebrows. Besides that my post about riding the mountains in North Vietnam was quite popular.

Other than traveling what do you prefer to do?

Reading has always been something that I enjoyed throughout my life. I love cooking and always on the lookout for whip up something. Besides, I dabble in trying to learn ukulele sometimes

What’s the lesson you have learned from your traveling experiences?

For a while, I used to think that travel has taught me a lot. But now I believe, travel doesn’t teach you anything. It’s the attempt to live a deliberate life where you’re conscious of every action of yours, and pursuing something with the conviction that teaches you a lot. It can be anything – writing, cooking learning something new or a job that you love. The point is that you do it to the best of your efforts. And see how it impacts the life of you and everyone around you. Cliched as it may sound, life is too short to while away your time doing things that you don’t love. I think traveling was just a tool or a way for me to learn that.

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