I am a freelance writer from India and specialize in stories about travel, food, arts and local culture. My stories have appeared in several publications in India and abroad, including:
Here are things about me as a traveler you’ve always wanted to know but didn’t know whom to ask.
Oh, you didn’t want to know. Never mind. Here they are, anyway.
1. To see what I do in my real life, head here.
2. That real life occupation – being a writer – is a dream come true for me. In fact, for many years, I did not even dare to dream about it. I worked in market research for over fourteen years. After year two, I pretty much started hating the work. And it just kept getting worse.
3. The first time I traveled abroad was at the ripe old age of 26. That’s right. It was for my honeymoon in Thailand. Since then, I have been to 17 countries (at the end of 2012). By 40, I want to have visited atleast 25 countries. That shouldn’t be tough.
4. Of all the cities I have visited, I love Prague, Istanbul and Amsterdam the most. In India, my favourites are Hampi, Mcleodganj and Ladakh.
5. My dream destinations are: the Andamans, all of New Zealand, Spain, Brazil, Tanzania, Ireland…
6. I have never understood this whole business about traveler and tourist. Come on, we are all tourists in one way.
7. Related to that, travel snobbery puts me off. It can work both ways – inverse snobbery puts me off too – how cheaply one travels, how lightly one packs, how hostels are the only way to stay and so on.
8. That earlier point. It has one of my biggest travel regrets. Packing light. I just cannot get it right. I end up taking much more than I need. Every single time. My perfect trip would be one where I managed to pack all I need in a backpack and find someone else to carry it for me.
9. I live with chronic, sometimes debilitating back ache. I travel despite that and am very proud of it.
10. In my spare time, I browse through the archives of my favourite travel blogs and flickr photo streams. I can never see myself do a round-the-world trip – but I am certain I will see the world, one bit at a time.
11. Being a vegetarian is sometimes the toughest part of my travels. And not just because I think it is difficult to find vegetarian food in some places but also because I believe that food is an integral part of the travel experience.
12. Despite being a vegetarian, I try to sample as much local food as I can – especially street food. I get Indian food cravings once in a while but these are rare and pass quickly.
13. I love people watching. I could sit at an airport, cafe, park all day and watch the world go past. Ok, not so much the airport.
14. The most stunning thing I have seen in my travels is the Ta Prohm temple at sunset in Siem Reap.
15. I am not a big fan of adventure sports. The most I have managed is parasailing in Goa when I landed splash into the water. Actually, I have a great fear of water – which I want to overcome.
16. I don’t always need luxury travel. But I am definitely all for comfort travel. The words budget and travel don’t go together for me.
17. One of the biggest pleasures of travel is meeting fellow travelers – I have met and made some great friends in my travels.
18. I never take notes when I travel. I use my photographs as notes if I ever need to write about the place or experience.
19. I wish I had a better talent for languages. I am hopeless at picking up new ones.
20. I am an internet junkie. I have to, have to, connect with the world out there even when I am traveling. ‘Switch off’ is definitely not my thing.
21. I love heritage and culture travel – following that, mountains. I am not too hot on beaches. As I said, I travel to recharge, not to relax.
22. I am a big fan of short breaks (long breaks too). If I don’t go somewhere new for three months, I get all antsy.
23. My ideal travel world would be free from inequality, including in visas.
24. I hate traveling in big groups. And a big group is anything more than two. Ouch.
25. I love love road trips. My theme song is Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the open road’ –
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
And to end, I have discovered that I like talking about myself (or in this case, writing) more than I thought.
Anything else you’d like to know?