Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 5

This is Part 5 of the 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 5 are 6 women travellers from India who have been exploring destinations solo.

1) JAI BHARATHI (http://www.gounesco.com/traveler/jaibharathi/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Have been travelling on work for almost more than 10 years,but started Solo Travel since last 2 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Never ending roads,Old monuments & beautiful landscapes always lured me to travel often.After winning GoUnesco Challenge for 2012, my curiosity to visit more Heritage Sites increased multifold and hence from then on I have decided to visit all the World Heritage Sites in which ever country I visit.That lead me to a Solo trip to Turkey to visit all the 11 WHS in Turkey in 11 days on a tight budget of just INR 90000/- (including return airfares).

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Safety is always a biggest challenge, but I’m glad I could overcome this with the kind of solo trips I have done until now. Next big thing is finding a proper accommodation, for which my solution is to travel during the nights which cuts down both on finding a better accommodation & also saving up money. Last but not the least, the gut feeling to talk or trust strangers who may not always be harmful.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Champaner Pavagadh in Gujarat, is an amazing example of a prehistoric Mughal city. More than 100 monuments at the site are designated under the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Very few people visit this place & hence its very peaceful & worth spending a day.
Safranbolu in Turkey – the entire city is designated under UNESCO WHS for its well preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture.

Follow Jai Bharathi on Twitter – @JaiBharathi

2) ADITI MITTAL (the-sailing-bee.com)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 5 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: When I first ventured out of India to the UK for studies, I was caught between the diverse cultures from the people I met. Their stories and travel ventures made me realize that there is so much in this world to see and experience and life is too short. It is since then I take every opportunity that allows me to explore far away lands and a new culture to experience.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: For a solo woman traveler even the safest places become not so safe. I think people see opportunity in a solo woman traveler which is definitely not the case when they are ‘women’. I was robbed in Slovenia, stalked in Budapest and cheated by a policeman in Pisa. After facing so much I do take safety measures and am more vigil but sometimes you can’t predict the danger.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: It’s not lesser known, but I would definitely recommend taking the Auschwitz Concentration Camp tour in Krakow, Poland once in life. The whole visit is still so embedded in my mind. Everyone who has read on Jewish memoirs would relate to this. I was appalled by the place and it’s obviously not a happy place instead makes you to introspect that how lucky we are for not losing anyone dear in the Holocaust.

Follow Aditi on Twitter – @My_Mouthpiece

3) SHREYASI GHOSH (http://bhukkadtravelstories.wordpress.com/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Traveling since I was 5. Traveling alone since a year. 🙂

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: We used to travel as a family every year. My parents made it a point that we should go on at least one trip every year. With relatives in the army & a bohemian uncle who also happens to be into wildlife photography helped. Also I grew up on a steady diet of travelogues, travel magazines and travel shows on National Geographic & Discovery Channel.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: I once got followed by a creepy man on a bike in Goa. I ran inside a cafe and asked the owner for help. The biggest challenge would be to convince people that you are not easy game and to know who to trust. Word of mouth helps when booking a hostel or a ride but otherwise when making new acquaintances one should trust their instincts and not take any unnecessary risks!

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: On my last solo trip to Anjuna, Goa, which is notorious for various reasons, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn’t as bad as it is made out to be. I stayed in a hostel where the people were exceptionally nice and helpful. I met a really fun bunch of people with whom I mostly used to hang out. My advice is trust your instincts when you’re traveling solo, irrespective of your gender. If you feel something’s amiss, back off immediately. But having said that, know that you aren’t the only one traveling alone and help is easy to find too, if you ask for it. This is purely subjective and I know detractors of solo travel would disagree. But a little courage is all it takes. 🙂

Follow Shreyasi on Twitter – @gshreyasi

4) SHRUTI SUNDERRAMAN (https://medium.com/@sundermanbegins)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: For almost three years now.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Right since my childhood I’ve been someone who doesn’t like any brackets. Basically, I loved having freedom and cosmological amounts of space for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stepping out, watching life unfold around me gave my annoyingly curious mind a certain amount of satisfaction. I don’t know at what point I “got addicted to travel” per se, because I don’t remember not wanting to travel even for a single minute in my life. I don’t know why I travel. I just know why I cannot stop travelling – because sharks cannot stop swimming.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Surprisingly, it was not safety. Actually, most people (especially in the interiors of India) were very accommodative and in fact, concerned that I was a single woman travelling; some even went out of the way to make me feel comfortable. I’ve faced the same challenge every solo traveller, woman or not, has faced – natural, man-made and unexpected.

The only difference I have come across, is in the reactions people have given me as compared to the ones given to my fellow male travellers. People seem awestruck and almost shocked that I’m ‘a woman travelling alone’. My point is, all the awestruckness aside, doesn’t your shock reflect an assumption that women can’t manage to travel alone? After a while, ‘Oh My God, you’re a solo woman traveller’ doesn’t feel like a compliment. It only feels like a sophisticated attempt at covering subtle misogyny. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: South India has a lot of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. For example, most travellers head to Rishikesh for river rafting. While you can’t deny the fury of the Ganges and the subsequent thrill it gives you, the Kali river in Dandeli, Karnataka, will surprise you with it’s own arrows of adventure. The interiors of Karnataka are definitely something everyone should explore. For that matter, even northern Kerala has a more relaxed, non-commercial vibe floating around. I’d say, skip the bustling beaches of south Kerala and head up north.
South India is much, much more than temples and the heat, if only you are willing to look and experience. Also, in my travels, I’ve felt that South India is more accommodative of solo female travellers.

Similarly, abroad, I’d say Northern Ireland is underrated. The maximum people do is go to Scotland and turn back, not knowing that some of most picturesque and historical locations are just a ferry ride away. Northern Ireland is truly stunning.

Follow Shruti on Twitter – @sundermanbegins

5) SUMAN DOOGAR (http://blog.nomadicshoes.com/)

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

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: The sense of freedom,exploring unknown destinations and connecting to yourself.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Traveling in public transport and men trying to be ‘extra’ helpful. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Aru Valley, trek from Aru Valley to Liddarwat.

Follow Suman on Twitter – @sumandoogar1

6) SARITA SANTOSHINI (http://crumbsfromyourtale.wordpress.com/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: A year.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: For me, travel is the freedom to understand and soak in the world for what it is. What got me addicted was being able to meet such kind and interesting people in the most unexpected of places and learning so much from them. We grow up studying about how diverse the world, or India for that matter is; but it is only since I’ve travelled that I’ve known what that diversity really means, feels and looks like.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: My biggest challenge has been dealing with my own fears. It took me a while to accept that odd stares and questions are going to be a part of the journey, irrespective of where I am. After my first solo trip to a state as hospitable as Kerala, I realised that I would feel safe only as long as I trusted myself enough and was confident. I started out as someone who wouldn’t eat alone in a dhaba en route a long bus journey for the mere reason that I was too conscious of being alone in a crowd. But then, I felt silly to be losing out on experiences (and good food) because of my fear of the way I was being perceived or judged. I’m so glad I’ve shaken it off ever since.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I was born and raised in Assam, and even though I thought I had seen everything there was to see in the state, I explored it last winter only to stumble upon some of its best kept secrets. Pristine rainforests that are best experienced through a hike, British era towns, and quaint villages by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries that have been holding on to the traditions of small immigrant communities for decades now. Most people traverse miles to see something extraordinary, while such great discoveries lie tucked away in their own neighbourhoods. So, I’d say, go back to your home towns and states and rediscover it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Follow Sarita on Twitter – @BlissisTheWord

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 5

  1. Pingback: Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 - Part 5

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