1) Tell us something about yourself.
I am a recent graduate who works in the field of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, currently based at IBM Research Lab in Dublin. I along with my friend, Ankit began the blog 90percenthumour during our undergrad days at IIT Delhi. We began with the vanilla objective to pen down anything and everything that we found interesting. Travel logs was perhaps the most convenient vantage point for this. But now we occasionally diversify to more general articles around science, book reviews, humour etc.
2) How do you plan your trip?
That depends entirely on who we are travelling with and where we are travelling to. I believe both of us have our personal ways to look at it. Although there are a few common traits like, we always extensively google before planning a trip. Also, we always try and balance out the touristy stuff with unconventional exploration. Ankit in particular is always excited to add a bit of adventure-sports to the itinerary.
3) Do you always travel pre-planned or let yourself be a free spirit?
We do pre-plan on logistics like places to stay etc. But then we also enjoying driving and biking which gives us the liberty to go off the beaten path in our travel plans.
4) How often do you travel outstation and how long do you stay over there?
It’s usually professional commitments and finance which determine the how-long part. I believe more vacational-ly trips tend to be about 7-10 days long. However we also enjoy 3-day weekend expeditions.
5) Have you ever gone into a place which turned out to be totally different from how you had imagined it to be?
I would answer my part for this, bearing in mind that these are merely uninformed opinions stemming from highly subjective first impressions. I believe Kashmir, Darjeeling and Dublin were three places which turned out to be different than expected. Darjeeling was long back in 2006, so don’t hold me on that. Kashmir and Darjeeling used to rank high on the popularity chart of scenic places. But I suppose popularity comes with a price and such places often fail to provide a satisfactory tourist experience. My experiences with both were quite disappointing. As to Dublin, I arrived there with a prejudiced impression of European cities and expected to see a laid-back cobble-stoned city centre with some archaic buildings around. On the contrary it was a pleasant surprise to see a professionally driven dynamic city with a noticeably young population.
6) Other than travelling what do you prefer to do?
As much as we enjoy travelling, it’s a luxury constrained by time and money. Luckily, we do harbour a bunch of other interests including biking, running and dancing. Ankit, for instance, has a couple of half-marathon accomplishments in his bag, to which he recently added a triathlon title from Hyderabad. We have also tried our hand at short-movie-making, realising pretty early that our nascent efforts require some serious improvement. So we are still working on that. I, on the other hand, enjoy bird-watching and photography, and have a few compiled albums.
7) Any remarkable experience that taught you something during your travel?
Travelling, by the very virtue of its nature offers a lot of learning opportunities. It would be hard for me to point to one in particular. But from a practical perspective, I would point you to our blog on “secrets of booking tickets on IRCTC” (https://90percenthumour.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/6-secrets-of-booking-train-tickets-on-irctc/) which I think is a nice illustration that evolved out of travel experiences.
8) Who motivated you to get into blogging in the first place?
I think it was more of a ‘what’ than ‘who’. Consolidation of thought. Owing to our congenial natures, both of us happen to share interests and opinions in different walks of life. But then through out academic training, we learnt to appreciate the efforts involved in summarising a piece of knowledge. And I think both of these sort of merged together and resulted in 90percenthumour.
9) Have you travelled internationally? What are the places and how was the experience? Did it somehow differ from the experiences you have garnered in India?
Yes, we have had quite a few opportunities to travel internationally. And fortunately we have also had time to pen down some of those experiences. So I would invite you to read our blogs. International travel and India are certainly different. And being such a diverse country, I believe things are quite refined even within India. So avoiding the risk of stereotypical conclusions, I would refrain from expanding on the cultural aspect and leave that to the individual traveller. However, practical differences surface more often in international travel. The most obvious ones surrounding the choice of transport. European cities, for instance, are known to have a very well laid out public transport system which is something we quite patently avoid using in India. Another one, I believe would be internet facilities. The easy accessibility and reliability of internet has made some of the international travel really safe and easy. For example, I often plan my day on-the-fly if I am visiting a new place. Similarly, there is no need to carry a bus-route or train timetable with you anymore.