Few weeks back, took the time to listen to travel stories from travellers, event was hosted by Plan The Unplanned, the company takes people on tours from trekking to Himalayan tours. The speakers on stage were – biker Tejaswi Chittar, Chandana Rao who inspires others to travel spreading travel stories of people through Travelories and Captain Neptune who is a sailor. Travellers always have interesting stories out of their experiences, they motivate you to travel to see that side of the world that you don’t know about and that does change your perspective about the world and you as well. Ultimately, it makes you really interesting as you would have so many stories to share, besides those photos as well.
So, a travel junkie can style his own lifestyle making earnings from blogs, videos, photos and they may even get sponsored to travel, if you spread the word about the destination and other things. Blogging is a great way to make money, but your blog should have interesting content and writing about your travel experiences surely makes for a engaging content for readers.
Now, here are some points on travel, take it as travel tit bits and perspectives from various travellers, this also includes some learnings from cyclist traveller Rakesh and one more cyclist, Dominic Franks. The latter, addressed a session in Bangalore Literature Fest last year, as he wrote a book, ‘Nautanki Diaries’ about his cycle ride from Bangalore to Delhi. He went on that cycle trip to go to the Common Wealth Games taking place at Delhi.
When you travel, it’s not just about visiting places, it’s also about tasting new food, experiencing culture, meeting all kinds of people and managing yourself, it’s a way to rediscover you. It opens up your mind, broadens your perspective, you experience adventure. When you go around to eat, it’s good to come out and ask the locals where is the best food available in the place. So you eat the cuisine that’s special or authentic in that particular place.
Travel gives you varied food experiences. I have heard many cooks on TV shows say that they had tasted a dish on a Dhaba while travelling on the highway, and it made them want to try out that dish at home. Also, it may not be possible to eat in posh restaurants while travelling especially on budget, be open to eat on local eateries, as long as food is fresh and hot, you won’t get sick. Try not to buy bottled water as well, many restaurants have RO water, filter water, fill it up there carrying your own water bottle (that’s preferable not a disposable plastic bottle). Never be shy, be outspoken, it would come in handy to ask for tips, start conversations, and ofcourse we all need to go toilet sometime, ask for restroom, be open to use public toilets as well, though restaurants, eateries should have restroom.
Next, accomodation. For us tourist travellers, we plan in advance, book rooms for stay, all this costs money. However, we can always try for free accomodation. One way is to use Couch surfing – https://www.couchsurfing.com/ , it connects you with people who would host you at their house all for free. People who use it, swear it’s safe and a great way to make friends and travel at low budget. Other ways include keep asking your friends if they know of anyone who can accommodate you for free and generally it works, that’s what these travellers said. Since travellers have stories, people are really willing to keep them over for the day. There are youth hostels as well, that accommodate you on low budget but there are people who can bargain to have their stay and fooding free there as well!! (:
Chandana Rao, managed to solo explore all of Tamil Nadu at a cost of 1800 Rs for 10 days. She gave a tip that you can market yourself and barter your skills for free stay. Your skills can vary from putting a link of the stay establishment in your blog post that has many followers to anything that would be useful for the owner of the stay establishment. For ex, Chandana Rao got free stay at a youth hostel in exchange for which she just went to the bus stand and brought few tourists looking for a place to stay as customers for the youth hostel. Through this she earned her free stay, bringing new customers for the youth hostel. She managed to barter her skills and get free stay at a 6 star hotel as well!!
So being outspoken may help.
Other travellers like Rider Rakesh are humble souls as they have cycled and interacted with so many kinds of people including the poor ones, he would be happy if he gets a small space for him to sleep that’s all. Since he was cycling propagating the message of Ride for Gender Freedom (RFGF), he generally captures support and someone would gladly give him food and place to stay. RFGF campaign had Rakesh traverse 27,000 kms throughout in his cycle for the cause of freeing Gender from violence and discrimination. He addressed people on roads, streets, offices, colleges, schools and many other establishments telling them to throw their patriarchal belief systems that see women poorly and help women folk live freely doing what they what, because it’s their right. This also at times involved people to take a oath to stand up against any instance they encounter that’s attacking women’s right, safety, dignity etc.
Many travellers say temples are good places to stay, and sometimes food there as temple prasada is free. If you are planning to tent camp, do it in a safe place, inside temples or bus stand shelters where your surrounded by local people and take permission for it. I really don’t know if solo travel ladies should do this, if they are alone(in India), but if your having company, its ok I guess , however please make sure that area is safe for tenting, it should be sheltered, and not home to stray dogs, though cyclist Rakesh once said he shared his sleeping area with another dog creature which also laid on the footpath somewhere near him. Looks like some travellers make friends with animals as well in their travels!!
It also appears that cyclists and bikers explore places more indepthly, they meet other bikers and bond over. So, maybe you can start biking or cycling to a near by place first and get a hang of it. It is a great way to reach out small eateries en route, meet locals etc. Almost all travellers say language is no barrier, human beings can communicate with one another without knowing the language, there is some human to human connection. So, never hesitate to go to a place because of language difference.
Also to all travelers (which includes the touristy folks), when you go to any place, be it jungle, or public place, never litter. One can understand, you may at times buy bottled water, for at small places clean water that’s drinkable maybe a question mark, but don’t throw it on the road. You can carry those chip packets with you until you find a dustbin. Looks, like at remote places where there are free flowing rivers and waterfalls, you can drink water from there directly. I am still very surprised that such wild, divine, nature rich places still exist in India as after irresponsible tourism driven by commercialization, greenery declination and garbage accumulation along with river degradation has resulted. However, Captain Neptune showed clips of the birth place of Cauvery with lovely water that’s drinkable flowing there!! (I hope that place is still sacred now, I heard tourists and visitors damaging that eco space, but flowing river water is clean and safe to drink for ever)
Be flexible if you really want to travel a lot. Either you should be able to take a long leave from your job to travel, or work while you travel carrying laptop. Many travellers say they prefer exploring places and experiencing their adventure so they don’t want to spend money on comforts paying for accomodation. For touristy travellers,who need comfort, try to stay at home stays where you can connect with hosting people rather than staying at a isolated room at a lodge. Human touch makes your stay experience that much more nicer(:…
Blend with the locals. Lady travellers say when they are at traditional places they dress up appropriately, so not to attract attention and this is a great way to be blend with the locals. Be open and connect with people with casual conversations, so you get local insider tips on where to eat, what all places to explore etc. That way you get help as well in a new place and learn a lot of things, your all in the real practical world and it’s like getting knowledge, wisdom through your experience rather than studying.
Stop the fear from hindering your travel adventure plans. When you bike or cycle to another place, there is always the chance there may be a puncture or repair, but making it the reason to abandon your adventure not cool. Learn basic repair techniques. You might meet bad elements but don’t sweat over that thought. Over thinking is never good. That being said, you should be careful of course, when you sense there is danger or something not right through your intuition, be cautious and trust in yourself!! Mostly, it’s in our hands to behave responsibly, at times not disclose too many details to utter strangers and maybe don’t venture to unknown spots at night.
It is important you make conversations with people around, it may come in handy. Chandana, when she finds someone is staring at her, she goes to them and introduces herself and asks them what places she can site see, their attention gets diverted. When she was at Danuskoti, a few guys were following her, she told them, she was not alone, her family was there doing puja but she was just pacing about bored of the puja and they left her alone. So, taking out these kind of tips from your sleeve should help. With people connect, you can get your way. Many times through means of casual conversations, Chandana managed getting help to know the place and experience it.
We all know people say that travel helps you make new friends and after travel using couchsurfing many people say now they got friends on every part of the world, so they can travel there and stay happily. However, even RJ jaisy said, you can unexpectedly meet your life partner as well, that’s exactly what happened with Chandana, she found her soul life partner companion through her travels. Soon in a historical 9th century old monument somewhere that is surrounded by nature, she’s going to get married ‘traveler style’ rather than the conventional way of marrying on a boring hall on which you spend so much money to book.
All this aside, travel literally does change lives, rewarding you with people associations!!
Somethings in life many things are unplaned and impromptu experiences and in travel there are so many such experiences which makes it exciting, interesting and instills varied perspective into our lives. It definitely makes you independent as you wander, explore, learn, understand and spend time with yourself properly without distractions of TV, internet. You don’t need to plan so much, just a basic sketch should do with a idea formed on how to go, the place to stay, places to see (from a touristy perspective) and simple packing of what’s needed, then your ready to just go!!
That’s all folks… There may be so much more stuff gained from travelling, but only a real and avid traveller can write on that with passion that comes from their conviction. I end by saying that recently on news, PM Modiji mentioned that when he was young every year he used to go alone and stay at a jungle for 5 days and it helped him introspect on himself and life. So, he too recommends solo travelling and staying in the wilderness maybe even though all these authorities don’t care about greenery, lakes, rivers and on supporting people who work to conserve Nature, but I am not judging on all their double standards, its fruitless to do so.