All posts filed under: Travel Tips

Svaneti georgia, shivya nath, the shooting star blog

Easy Ways to Take Awesome Photos When You Travel Solo.

When I travel alone and post an introspective photo of myself gazing into a magnificent horizon beyond, I often get asked if a photographer is shadowing me. The answer is no, but thanks for the compliment! Those dreamy pictures rarely do justice to the overwhelming feeling of solitude, in a place of raw beauty. Indeed, some of my earliest travels, like to pristine Bunaken in Indonesia and remote north-western Vietnam went completely uncaptured. I eventually decided to start taking photographs on my travels in the hope that it will lure others to kick their comfort zone and go exploring. I now use my beloved iPhone 6 and handy Sony Cybershot RX II on the road, and here are my tips: Remotely control your camera with a smartphone This is my favorite way to get an introspective shot. I connect my camera using its internal wifi to my iPhone, so I can see exactly how I look in the frame and have no time limit. It works brilliantly, so much so that I prefer getting my own photos even when I’m …

tsermang camp ladakh, ladakh where to stay

Simple Ways to Travel More Responsibly in Ladakh.

Exactly one year ago, I was lost amid the dramatic, barren, snow-capped Himalayas of Ladakh. I acclimatized myself to the high altitude at an eco-luxury camp on the shores of the mighty Indus, hitch-hiked along remote villages in western Ladakh, introspected at a nunnery, witnessed a grand traditional welcome for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, hiked through surreal landscapes, met a tight work deadline on the steps of a monastery (the only place I could find 2G internet!), rode in rickety buses, and partook in the wisdom of Buddhist monks. So much has happened since – from discovering the secret lives of chocolate farmers in Costa Rica to hitch-hiking through soulful villages in northern Romania – that I almost forgot why traveling in Ladakh broke my heart. On a rainy day, I lay channel surfing in my Goan abode, when a glimpse of Pangong Lake on the Fox Life show Life Mein Ek Baar caught my eye. Watching the show’s hosts bike along the highest motorable roads in Ladakh and bond with the semi-nomadic Changpa tribe brought back many memories. I could suddenly hear the call …

traveling abroad, travel abroad advice

Traveling Abroad First Time? 10 Questions on Your Mind.

In retrospect, I consider myself incredibly lucky for the opportunity to study and live abroad at the age of 17. I grew up in a protective middle class family in the small bubble town of Dehradun. In search of my independence, I applied to and got accepted in a university abroad, and flew away with a big study loan and bigger dreams. I remember being extremely nervous about traveling out of the country all by myself. There are too many myths circulated among Indian families, and after years of traveling, I hope to simplify it for you: 1) How to choose your first foreign destination?  My advice: Don’t follow the crowds. I’ve met many travelers who swarm to museums abroad just because everyone else does, even though they don’t particularly enjoy art or history. Choose a destination based on your personal interests, check the weather during your travel dates, research the visa process for Indian citizens, and find someplace within your budget. It’s okay to miss popular attractions if they don’t appeal to you; find your bliss and don’t feel judged. Remember …

Statue of liberty nyc, staten island ferry nyc, free things nyc

10 Awesome Free Things To Do in NYC.

It’s easy to spend big money in the big apple. But if you’re like me, you probably want to indulge in some unusual cuisines and be on your way to Central America; I leave in 24 hours for Guatemala! In my three weeks in NYC, I’ve had my fair share of fun with tons of free things to do, free events and free activities to choose from. Take my list and go, and be kind to that wallet of yours:

Goa homestay, Goan Portuguese house, Aldona

The Joy of Slow Travel.

I’m sitting on a window sill as I write this, feeling the cool breeze on my face and watching the incessant rains spring new life into the wilderness that surrounds my (temporary) home in Goa. The joy of driving, walking and just being in the monsoons is not mine alone. The village folk are out in their carpet-like rice paddies, tilling the land in their colorful ponchos, humming along cheerful tunes at the late monsoon arrival. It took me a few days of being here to slip into the susagade mode of Goa, feeling content with life, appreciating the little things like hot tea and freshly-baked Goan poi on rainy evenings, happy to gaze out at the wild beauty that surrounds me.

travel, travel writing, earn while travelling

How to Earn Money While Travelling?

Earlier this week, I arrived in my hometown Dehradun, to find a big box waiting for me to open. I was overwhelmed to find a sparkling trophy inside, engraved with my name – a physical testimony to the “Best Indian Travel Blogger” award that I won at the Indian Blogger Awards 2013, held by Indiblogger! A big THANK YOU to everyone for your support, especially those who spared a moment to write a testimonial for this blog. My inspiration to blog is back with a vengeance, and I’m opening the floor to questions and topics YOU want me to write about. I promise to share honest views on travel, places that I’ve been to, and blogging (and life, if you really want my warped perspective). I also hope to open up the discussion to all of you and seek your inputs in the comments, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Please read these FAQs to see topics that have been covered on the blog before, and send me your questions at with any unanswered questions. WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO …

travel bloggers india, travel planners, travel planning, think places

Planning Your Travels? I Can Help.

I first caught the travel bug as a college student in Singapore. I had very little money, lots of spare time, and all of Southeast Asia to explore. I would pool in my savings with friends and try to find cheap ways to travel far and long. The tables turned when I landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board, one that left me rich (relatively speaking) but at the mercy of weekends, public holidays, and a kind boss who understood my need to head out every chance I got.

Seychelles island, Seychelles photos, Seychelles review

My First Impressions of Seychelles.

My first memory in the Seychelles is standing on the deck of a ferry, with the wind caressing my hair and the seagulls whispering my name, as I counted the shades of blue in the vast ocean before me. I slowly realized it was a pointless task. Over the last three days, I’ve rekindled my love affair with the Indian Ocean, spent lazy afternoons on a hammock, snorkeled into the underwater world, rediscovered the goodness of Creole curries, and settled into the susagade island life. These are my first impressions of Seychelles.

Auroville matrimandir

A Guide to Auroville: Things to Know Before You Go.

Over 2 years ago, when I quit my corporate job to follow my dream to travel the world, I didn’t imagine I would one day land up in a township dedicated to the same ideology. Auroville is it. A place where people come to live their dreams. I’ve come across countless stories; of a market researcher turned organic farmer; a policeman turned village school headmaster; a corporate honcho turned teacher; a teacher turned mechanic. It’s a place to ditch the life you’ve lived, and live the life you’ve always wanted, even if for a few days; here your conviction to follow your passion holds more value than your salary or title (Read: Auroville: Utopia or Something Like it).