Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 6 (Final Part)

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

1) TRUPTI DEVDAS NAYAK (http://exploringthebluemarble.wordpress.com/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: I’ve been traveling internationally most of my adult life. As a child, I was lucky to get to travel and explore many parts of India with my parents and siblings.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Travel has become a way of life for me. I love discovering new places and learning about various cultures and history. I enjoy meeting and befriending new people. A foodie at heart, I’m always up for trying local cuisines and interesting dishes. With travel, I get to see places and experience things I’ve only read or heard about. The anticipation and planning that goes into travel gives me a lot of joy even before the trip starts. I love nature, national parks and wildlife and have camped in 30+ parks around the world (many in the United States).

You can read about my outdoor adventures at Trailbound, a Wanderlust & Lipstick blog (http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/trailbound/).

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: On the occasions that I have traveled solo, I have been pleasantly surprised by the openness and helpful nature of people, rather than facing any serious challenges. This also depends on where you travel solo. In some countries or cities where women might not generally be perceived as being intrepid or independent, a solo woman traveler might face some prejudices and would need to overcome them bravely. In my experience, being street smart and reasonably cautious goes a long way in safeguarding oneself.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Any destination or experience is lesser known until you’ve seen and experienced it for yourself. As Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. The best way to discover new places is to start in one’s own backyard. You can explore the city you live in, learn about its history and meet the locals. International travel opens up a host of exciting destinations, some well known, some hidden gems, both leaving a lasting impact on the traveler. From my recent travels, two places I recall fondly are Machu Picchu in Peru and the Amazon rainforest. You can read about my 4-day trek to Machu Picchu here (http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/trailbound/2014/02/24/hiking-the-inca-trail-to-machu-picchu/). Having grown up reading about wild adventures in the Amazon, our week-long stay in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Peru was a dream come true. In India, the fabulous ruins of Hampi are close to my heart. You can read more about Hampi in my article “Poetry in Stone” (http://travelthruhistory.com/html/historic118.html). I would encourage everybody to travel to places they have always yearned to see, whether you’ve read about it in a book, seen a documentary on it, or have always just wanted to visit and experience it for yourself.

Follow Trupti on Twitter – @TruptiDevdas

2) SHIKHA GAUTAM (http://nomadscribblings.com/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 4 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: A nomadic life, the realisation that I can wake up to a sunrise in a very different, new landscape if I wish to.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: An acute lack of basic facilities, like washrooms, in India. Also, a simple “hi” is assumed to be a call for more talks and an invitation to get over-friendly. Trying not to talk to people around you even when you’re stuck for 2 nights in a train journey is an ordeal.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I loved Diu for the entirely solitary beaches. For women travellers going solo, the whole of north east India is a blessing. Especially Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, where you meet the finest of folks. These places are so safe that I ended up feeling like being in one of those uber safe Scandinavian countries!

Follow Shikha on Twitter – @shikhagautam

3) SUSHMITA SARKAR (http://www.myunfinishedlife.com/)

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

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I have always been addicted to travel, from my childhood. When I chose to be and Engineer, my profession allowed me to travel to remote places in India, starting with Gujarat. This trip was a great source of inspiration for me to travel solo as a woman.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: For me, the biggest challenge is to find a proper loo in the remote areas.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I would recommend a road trip in Kathiawad region of Gujarat, India. It is remote, hauntingly harsh but beautiful landscape, with colorful and friendly people and very different type of cuisine.

Follow Sushmita on Twitter – @MyUnfinishedlyf

4) DIIPTI (http://www.diipti.in/)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 10 years, may be more…

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Travel is not an addiction. Its like saying what got you addicted to breathing. Humans by nature are made to wander, explore, find new territories, expand their boundaries. I like home as much as I like to travel, the essence being to explore the world and come back to find my place anew.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: I am yet to face a challenge on my travels. People are people, when you treat them with respect they reciprocate. People have their share of peculiarities and prejudices but when you talk to them as an equal, they respect that and see beyond your gender, caste, race; its as simple as that. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Ghoomakad – a community space and eco-stay, 10 kms away from Dharamshala. Travel beyond the sights and sounds, travel to fulfill your incomplete thoughts and ideas to to help a community fulfill theirs, this and more you can fulfill here at Ghoomakad. www.ghoomakad.im

Follow Diipti on Twitter – @diipti

5) SHIRLEY D’COSTA (https://www.flickr.com/photos/wanderblah)

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 7 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I think if you live within 4 walls you’re bound to believe that’s what the world is like, so I like getting out there and surprising myself, and I’ve had a pretty fabulous time doing that. Every single time and every single place I’ve travelled to leaves me sort of humbled about how little I actually know about things around me.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: I’ve never actually bothered about being a solo ‘woman’ traveller per se. I started travelling alone initially cos co-ordinating leaves was difficult, and I wanted to make the most of my ticket to London and so backpacked around. You do the usual – avoid empty streets when late, watch your back, tell people you’re headed some place even if you dont have a plan, and trust your gut! But that apart, travelling alone has meant having some of the nicest conversations with absolute strangers – both locals and tourists, and making some great friends along the way.  

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: In India I’d say Hampi (rent yourself a cycle and explore!), outside I’d say Florence (you’ll never have enough days here. Hop over to Cinque Terre if you can) More importantly, dont bother with detailed itineraries and rushing through checklists. Chuck the museum and the monuments, ask the locals where to eat, get a map and just walk/ cycle around and you’ll have a far more enriching holiday!

Follow Shirley on Twitter – @wanderblah

 

This was the last post of the series ‘Indian Women Travellers’. Over the past six months, 39 solo Indian women travellers were interviewed. Hopefully the example they have set and the stories they have shared in this series will inspire many more women and men to explore Incredible India on their own.

 

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