My life in 7 stanzas..

My life right now : At 36, when most women of my age are busy planning kids and buying homes, I am happily planning my next travel destination! The social stigma around how ones life needs to be bracketed into doing the same stuff that everyone else around you is doing has only pushed me farther away to seek a life that lies beyond the stereotypical.

Where it all began : My tryst with travel started when I was in college. I was an occasional trekker then. Soon after I started working in 2004, I booked myself for a safari at Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The agony of going for the trip with a Nokia N73 phone is unforgettable. Kanha had kindled an instant liking and interest towards wildlife and birds. When I returned, I bought myself a Bikram Grewal bird book, a binocular and a Nikon point-and-shoot camera from the little savings that I had. I developed a keen interest for birds and just like most hobby-photographers, I could not pull myself back from the addiction. I migrated to an entry-level DSLR with a basic telephoto lens and self-learned photography. When I realised that my equipment had limitations and so did my patience, I decided to deviate from wildlife photography, thus suppressing my desire of owning a good tele-photo lens. For better.

My love for photography : As my travels continued, I started exploring other genres of photography that did not necessarily need expensive gear and that is where my passion for travel photography took off. I began to develop a fascination for culture, color, people streets and landscape. Few good things about travel photography are the spontaneity, the vibrance, the element of surprise and YOUR perspective of looking at things. Though I consider myself as anti-social, the more I traveled, I realised that interacting with unknown people came easily to me. After a few years of dragging on with my basic DSLR, I began renting cameras and lenses for my trips until after my Mathura trip,  when I purchased my canon 7d mark ii. Photography has become an inseparable part of me since!

My tryst with writing : My trip to the breath-taking gorge at Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh in 2015 was so remarkable, that I felt like penning down all that I had experienced. My first blog happened! Little did I know then, that a baby step I had taken, would instigate me to to take up travel blogging. With constant appreciation from friends and family, I started penning down each of my escapades religiously! Within a span of 3 years, I ended up having a decent collection of write-ups. Now, my travels revolve around my thirst for stories, though most of the times, stories just happen and I do not really have to go searching for one!

My dilemma and how I overcame it : Most of the travelers I follow, have left home and live location-independent. I was fascinated by their stories, their world and their courage to take a plunge into the unknown. So much so, that I had bouts of urgency to follow their path. Each time I tried to decide in my head, something kept pulling me back. Somewhere in my head, I wasn’t really sure if that is what I was seeking. Is necessary that you travel like a maniac nomad just because you want to prove to yourself that you are a traveler? No, not at all. An urge to return to the comfort of my home after a long travel, does not mean that I am not a traveler in true sense! And thus I chose to be a  sporadic traveler..

How and where I travel : Luxurious travel for me is alien, moreso, I do not exist in the world of idiotic selfies! I am a rugged and budget traveler. My preferences are mostly home-stays and hostels. The best was to give back to the society as a traveler is when you promote responsible tourism and thus, I prefer going local. I am a foodie as much as I am a traveler! Though most of my travel is around culture and places, my preference would be to drift away into solitude on a mountain or sit over the edge of an ocean, dreaming and watching a sunset.

How travel changed me: Being amid mountains and seas, has taught me to look down and beyond my minuscule problems into the infinite world of vastness and happiness. It has given me knowledge that lies beyond the four walls of my office. It has taught me to be patient and flexible. I now know the importance of giving back to society and to nature. Travel has made me overcome my fears of going solo. Above, everything else, it has taught me to offload pride and live humbly.

My way forward: A coffee table book with my travel stories and pictures when I turn 50 is brewing in my head. I want to be an inspiration for all those women who want to travel but cannot refrain from their current responsibilities.

My message to you : Be a Traveler. Wander limitless. Be Mad. Explore and Inspire!


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