Please tell us something about your origin.
I am from Jharkhand, and have lived in many states owing to my dad’s frequent transfers. From Bokaro steel plant to Kolkata, followed by Hyderabad, Pune and finally, Delhi! Most of my education took place Delhi. It is really funny now that I recollect how much I hated shifting places. Now, it is difficult for me to stay in a place for more than 3-4 months.
What’s your favourite holiday destination in India and why?
I love all the places that I have travelled to. Every place has been different and has given me something special. However, it was in Himachal that I gained the confidence and the will to travel solo. So, I have a deep bonding with that place. But, that is due to personal reasons. Otherwise, it is impossible for me to choose one destination!
What did take you into blogging?
I loved writing and every time I went on a trip, I would find very few female solo travellers from India. But each one of them inspired me deeply. They were strong and talented women. So, I started blogging to connect with other solo travellers from my country and share my experience with them. Moreover, I wanted to break the myth that travelling is expensive. I have travelled for 10 days in Rajasthan with just 4k Rupees for everything (foods, stay, transport, shopping).
Did you ever have any inhibition that your travels have helped you vanquish with time?
Oh, yeah! I was bad at starting conversations, continuing them or ending them. Basically, I was pretty awkward socially. Travelling has made me more open to possibilities and people. I can talk and adjust better in social gatherings now. Moreover, I had a very low confidence level. With time, I am gaining more faith and trust in my abilities. Travelling has made me more grateful and environment conscious. Also, I try to understand others’ perspectives now. This makes me less judgemental and more accepting.
How do you manage your fund while travelling? Is there any strategy for the same?
Initially, I started out by saving money that my parents gave me for daily expenses in college. I did not buy gadgets, cut down on ordering food and so on. However, I had started looking for online jobs simultaneously. So, nowadays, I work as a freelance writer to earn for funding my travels.
As for the strategy, there is none. I just polish my skills to get better paying gigs and work with dedication for my present clients.
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Tell us 10 things, a traveller should have in their bag?
-Sleeping bag (I like to be a turtle and carry my bed with me!)
-A simple phone with good battery life (not a smart phone)
-Water bottle with a portable filter
-Small basic first aid kit
-Sunscreen (getting sun burnt can be quite painful!)
-A small diary to de-clutter the mind and note down numbers/contacts (cause your phone can stop working and, it is good to note down the important things to keep in mind)
-Mini Swiss knife
-An identity proof
-A chocolate bar (Well, I happen to faint a lot and chocolate provides me with the instant energy to battle that sudden dizziness.)
Do you have any specific experience that you think every traveller should be aware of?
The world is a big place and there are all types of people. It is important to stay honest and be clear with people. While I strongly believe in travelling with an open mind, trusting a person one has just met completely is not a very wise thing to do.
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?
No, I haven’t travelled internationally yet.
Any common travel myth you disagree with?
“Travelling is not a serious thing to do.”
The first job I got was while travelling. I had no passion in life until I started travelling. For me, travelling is a continuous process and a lifestyle; not a break or a retreat!
And, no, if one is just travelling and “not doing something serious in life”, they should not feel guilty. After all, life is meant to be lived, right? If one likes to work, work. If one likes shopping, shop. If one likes writing, write. If one likes to travel, travel. There is no obligation that one should feel to live in a particular way. There is no way of living life. Just be happy and spread happiness while living! Decide how you want to live your life and practice that lifestyle every day. A travelling artist I met in Himachal told me- “The more you are, the more you become”. That quote really did leave a deep impact on my mind!
Please advice the newbie travellers with some of your advantageous tips.
Well, I am newbie myself. But, one thing that I would have told myself on the eve of my first solo trip (if I could now) would be- “Stay honest. Stay positive. Do not over think, Prachi.”
Also, there is a lot to learn from every person, so keeping an open mind and a learning attitude will impart great lessons along the journey! The travelling community is really understanding and helpful. I have been guided and helped by a lot of travellers on my trips.