Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 2

This is Part 2 of the monthly series featuring Indian Women Travellers. For this series, a set of questions were sent to Indian women travel bloggers with the aim of finding out a bit more about their lives and what motivated them. The underlying purpose of this series is to get more people from India and around the world to get inspired and seek out the many fantastic adventures and sights that India has to offer.

To know more about this series, please read the post – Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 1.

Featured here in Part 2 are 7 women travellers from India who have gone beyond the norms and decided to take the path less trodden.

1) ANITA BORA (http://www.anitabora.com/blog/)Anita Bora

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: More than 10 years now.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: For me, it was stepping out of my comfort zone. Of trying to appreciate little things. How much we take our lives for granted is something I realised when I got to see how so many people live their lives. On half of what we have. And yet – there is so much life, colour, zest all around. I wouldn’t have known otherwise in the confines of my four walls. Travel helps me appreciate more, to see things from a different perspective. It also teaches me patience, understanding and makes me humbler. Life is one long journey. It’s not the destination that counts. But all the moments, experiences, sights and sounds in between that make it richer and fuller and for me the answer is in travel.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: I actually have not had very horrific experiences, touch wood. I do my research carefully and make sure I don’t wander around places where I shouldn’t be. I find rural India quite non-threatening actually. Cities are much scarier 🙂 Travelling in India for a woman sometimes is a pain due to the lack of rest rooms and proper toilets. Believe, it can get quite frustrating sometimes. But other than that, I’ve had great experiences so far. I am all for travelling solo. I think it gives you another perspective totally.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Instead of that, what I’d like to recommend is that people take an effort to step out and see the world. Make the time! And when I say world, I don’t necessarily mean book themselves a flight out of the country. Sometimes, it’s just an eye opener to visit a village, a small town, stay with locals, home stays, spend a few days just taking in the sights and sounds. Don’t tick of stuff on a list. You will survive if you missed out one temple or sunset point. And don’t rush from place to place. I rarely do “touristy” sights. I try and experience every place a bit differently, sometimes I don’t even have a plan and let things evolve and always come back with great memories.

Follow Anita on Twitter – @anitabora

2) RAKHEE GHELANI (http://rakheeghelani.com/blog/)Rakhee Ghelani

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since I was 6 months old.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I am a curious person and just love seeing new places, exploring cultures and learning new things. I haven’t found a better way to do that, then through travel. 

I also like the freedom of travel. By stepping outside of my daily life, travel lets me break free of preconceptions and ideas.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: To be honest, I have never really thought about it as challenging. I wanted to travel and was happy to go on my own so I did. I have been travelling solo for over 15 years, to countries like Bolivia, Malaysia and Egypt, as well as India. I just make sure I am street smart.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Every traveller is different, but my personal favourite travel destination was the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. I love seeing animals in the wild, and here the animals are fearless. It really is an incredible place.

Follow Rakhee on Twitter – @rakheeghelani

3) BHAVNA MENON (http://www.thelastwilderness.org/)Bhavna Menon

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Almost 17 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: In my opinion, travel in itself is an addiction! Once you start, there is no going back, however my inspiration for travelling has always been and probably always will be – wildlife. Whenever asked, I would always choose a reserve or a National park as a holiday destination.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Thankfully, I haven’t really faced a challenge as such. However as a solo traveler its always important to take the necessary precautions and travel safe.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: As a wildlife enthusiast, I would recommend people visit all the tiger reserves in our country not only because they are stupendously beautiful, but also because as Indians, it’s important to be able to appreciate our natural heritage.That apart, the North-East (Arunachal, Assam etc.) is definitely worth a visit for the sheer remoteness and pristine beauty!

Follow Bhavna on Twitter – @B_menon86

4) PARUL SHARMA (http://www.longingtravel.com/)Parul Sharma

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: On and off for an year.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I have always loved travel. I used to dream traveling evrey weekend and then go permanent. Though responsibilities have still not given us the freedom to travel full time. This makes me crave travel even more. it is something that i try and incorporate in our lives in every way. Another reason I love traveling is the variety of food that comes with it. I love eating and have to still find a cuisine that I don’t like.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: People usually talk about feeling unsafe and not being able to travel with ease. These are a problem and they become bigger as you go to interior parts of the country.

What many miss is the lack of toilets. My biggest concern is availability of clean restrooms around the country. Most public toilets are unclean and not even worth setting foot into.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: India has been well travelled and documented over the years but still there are few places that people don’t really know about. One is the temple belt of Karnataka. If you are interested in temples and heritage do pay a visit to Pattadakal, Aihole and Badami.
Another place I would recommend is the Manas National Park t is beautiful and very close to the Bhutan border. Before we started on the GoUNESCO journey I had not heard about any one of these and I usually am quite aware of places to see.

Follow Parul on Twitter – @messreorganized

5) SNIGDHA JAIN (http://getsetandgo.wordpress.com/)Snigdha Jain

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Over 3 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: My first backpacking trip to Europe turned out to be much more than just a holiday. It led me on a path of constant exploration of new cultures, places, history, art, culture, people and myself (in the process).

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Convincing my family on the safety aspect of a place, keeping my guard always on and the limitation of not being able to camp solo just anywhere I want. 😦

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: There are many places and experiences that I would recommend but my favorite place till date has been Slovenia and the best experiences have been interactions and learnings from people of rural India (especially happiness in simplicity) and Cambodia (meaning of hope).

Follow Snigdha on Twitter – @traveler_budget

6) PRACHI JOSHI (http://www.deliciouslydirectionless.com/)Prachi Joshi

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since childhood.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: My parents made it a point to take one vacation every year, so I have been used to travelling since I was a kid. I guess that has rubbed off on me as I grew older and I have tried to take a trip (or more!) every year. Discovering new places, meeting people and experiencing a different culture is quite addictive; and I can travel anywhere for good food 🙂

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Security has been an increasing concern within India…

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: If you visit touristy Venice, I’d recommend hopping onto a vaporetto and visiting the city’s cemetery island – San Michele. It’s lesser known than the other islands of Murano & Burano, but much more peaceful and really worth a visit.

I wrote about this in detail in my article for Nat Geo Traveller. Read it Here.

Follow Prachi on Twitter – @DelishDirection

7) BHAVANI RAMESH (http://merrytogoaround.com/)Bhavani Ramesh

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: I’d like to believe I’ve been traveling since I started earning but if I go with what I think travel means to me now, which is a much sharper and keener interest in my surroundings, then I would say the last few years. Though on a philosophical note aren’t we traveling from the first breath?

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: It will have to be the joy in the newness of every minute, the excitement in the complete lack of familiar and the thrill of discovery for yourself… because even if millions of people have seen the Taj, you see if for the first time, you experience it for the first time and you feel it for the first time when YOU go… and that’s completely and totally your own experience.

Also I like the fact that in travel a lot of my interests come together, almost a perfect marriage. I like books, art, culture, heritage and of course food! And you get all of that together in one complete thaali when you experience a place through it’s stories, people, monuments, streets, restaurants. It’s very wholesome, very fulfilling, very addictive.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: I don’t know if it’s only as a woman traveler anymore, but just as a woman in India… overall it doesn’t feel safe anymore. 

My biggest issue is my wavering trust in my own intuition about people… Never been strong with that, and tend to think maybe am reading too much into stares and glances, or else I err on the other extreme of ignoring it… 

But having said that, it’s good to be a woman traveller in India… people open up and tell you their stories, they want to help you, guide you and sometimes offer to carry your bags… you just need to be safe and sensible!

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I think the quest to find the ‘new’, the ‘off-beat’ is reaching an even bigger crescendo with everyday. Every traveller wants to talk about their ‘off-beat’, and every travel site is selling you their ‘off-beat’! It’s a tiring word. We need to admit there is nothing un-travelled today in the world.

I would say discover your own backyard!

There is so much to discover in each of our own cities but we tend to ignore that. When I travel to new cities, most people are blind to their city’s beauty and mystery. That got me thinking about how much I know about Mumbai – my current city of residence. I’ve made it a conscious effort to roam around a lot more, be more observant and find those stories about the city I live in. Must say that my association with Audiocompass definitely helps, as they pay me to write stories about my city! 

Follow Bhavani on Twitter – @bhavan1

This is the second post of the series ‘Indian Women Travellers’ and subsequent posts will be published on the first week of every month. If you know of other Indian women travellers or travel writers who you think should feature here, please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.

More of us need to know about these phenomenal women and get inspired.

Cheers! 🙂

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 2

  1. Reblogged this on merry to go around and commented:
    my first ever interview as a travel writer and as a person… it feels very good. and i am extremely pleased to be a part of this elite group of women, if not in reality, at least through this interview.

    note to self: definitely need to learn the art of brevity.
    read on, i am the last interview in this list. thanks vijay 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s