10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me.

The shooting star, Shivya Nath

I often look back upon my life, wondering at what point I went from being a regular, 20-something Indian girl trying to figure life out, to someone who (sometimes) gets paid to travel the world! Well, I’m still the regular, 20-something Indian girl, and I haven’t quite figured life out. Someday, this blog will remind me of all the things I was in my twenties, and if you’ve been following my travels, I’m pretty sure this little list is going to surprise you.

1) I’m an introvert.

Given how much I interact on my social networks, and how often I write people-stories on my blog, it can seem like I’m the most social person. But truth is, I’m the loner in the crowd. I hardly ever initiate a conversation. I can hang out with strangers online all day, but it takes me a lot more effort to meet people in person. Luckily for me, stories usually find me on my travels. And I can do all my work online, with little to no interaction offline. Now you know why I love to travel by myself, like my solitude, and rarely reply to ‘catch up’ emails. Forgive me?

Garhwal Himalayas, Kuflon, Uttarakhand villages
Some conversations are worth getting out of the introvert zone for.

2) I carry a taser.

I’m always harping on the positive side of solo travel, especially in India, given how much negativity there is online and in most minds. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get scared. It’s sometimes inevitable to find yourself sitting next to a man on a long overnight bus ride, or walking on a quiet street at a late hour, or stuck on a broken down bus in the middle of the night (Read: Looking Back: My Worst Travel Memories). I trust that the world is largely a good place, but I’m not naive. I know I have to be prepared to face a situation that might arrive someday. It’s a touch electric taser that could send anyone writhing on the floor, and I carry it everywhere I can.

solo female travel india, solo travellers india, mahabaleshwar
Trust the world but stay prepared.

3) I’m not as positive about life as I appear.

Speaking of positivity, I can assure you that I’m not the most positive person you’re going to meet. In fact, some of my friends swear that their perspective of life is so dismal because of me! I think too much, try to find meaning in too many things, and well, just have more than my fair share of down time. I know I’m not allowed to complain about feeling depressed when I’ve had the chance to experience places that many won’t in their lifetime (I’m grateful for it), but I haven’t yet mastered my restless mind. It’s probably a good thing you’re not meeting me anytime soon!

Thomba darjeeling, local brews india
The alcohol helps, especially if it’s warm local brew on a chilly night!

4) Becoming a travel blogger was never the plan.

When I quit my corporate job in August 2011, I intended to work with an NGO or social enterprise, and travel in remote parts of India, hoping to make some kind of difference in someone’s life. That didn’t really work out for me, except that I started writing about my travels. My first writing paycheck and my first blogging invitation in India gave me hope, but considering my first international blogging trip was the result of stalking someone online (seriously), I never thought I could pull of being a travel blogger!

digital nomad, Indian travellers
Never imagined I’d work from such cool offices!

5) I’m not a writer.

Speaking of plans, there’s one I always had – to be a writer. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a child. I would scribble poetry, write short stories, and hide them away, thinking someone would discover them someday and make me famous. I’ve written for several well-known travel publications and hope to pen my own book soon, but it’s not because I’m a writer. It’s only because I think I have stories worth telling.

Pali rajasthan, Pali district, Indian villages
When stories find me, I can’t not pen them.

6) I’m terrible at directions.

For someone who travels so much, I can barely read a map and find my way without getting lost. I can walk around in circles for hours before I realize it. That means I have to get out of my introvert zone and ask for directions ever so often. But that is also how I land myself in unexpected adventures and find unexpected stories. Win-win!

Goa monsoons
Getting lost and loving it.

7) I haven’t always been a vegetarian.

12 years is a long time though. I still distinctly remember sitting in the balcony of a friend’s house in ninth grade, pledging myself off meat and seafood. I couldn’t muster the courage to tell my parents for a week, so I lied about a bad stomach when chicken was cooked in the house. Then one day, while waiting in the car with my dad, someone dropped in a flyer talking about vegetarianism. I told my dad I wanted to convert. He said he would do it if I did it. The rest of my family still eats meat, but my dad and I haven’t for 12 years now.

australia food, south australia, organic food
With such delicious food, no temptation to convert back.

8) I still have to lie at home about travelling solo.

I’m somewhat the black sheep of my family, not having had a regular job in almost three years now. No one at home quite knows how I survive or if I make any money at all. And all that wisdom I shared earlier about dealing with travel-wary parents? You can discard it. Because even after all my solo trips, I still cook up stories at home about it.

Apo island philippines
Underwater selfie, anyone?

9) I do have a partner in crime.

This is probably the only part of my life that I haven’t written about. Well, not till this moment anyway. Without being cheesy, I’ll tell you that I know only one person I’m happy to travel with, and he’s the person who helped me find my own wings, like no dream was impossible. So the next time I tell you a picture was taken by a friend on my travels, you can probably guess who clicked it.

Island life
Two is company 😉

10) I don’t believe in marriage or kids.

I suppose 26 is a mature age to confess that I don’t believe in the concept of marriage. Companionship, yes. But I don’t see why I need a legal contract to validate any relationship. And kids? I know that’s a path I would never walk down. It’s something I’ve known subconsciously while growing up, and adulthood has only convinced me with reasons that are logical to me.

I’ll never walk alone? 😉

Your turn, tell me something no one knows about you!


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Things I Wish I Knew Before I Quit My Job to Travel
Confessions of an Indian Nomad
How I Afford My Travels and How You Can Too

*** ***

The Shooting Star Academy

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    1. Haha, because I might not call you when I get to Florida? :p

  1. Awww… how cute. For a moment there I thought I was a reading a little about me except for the taser gun, traveller and the companion. I am happy for you and may God/universe bless you and your companion in your future travels 😀

    1. Thanks SP! Never thought so many people will identify with this post. Cheers to us!

  2. subzeroricha says:

    Probably I knew most of them. I have no idea how or why but the Shivya I read off in travel posts is the Shivya I read today as well. Well many more such eye opening posts for future as well 🙂


    1. Wow, I’m glad you say that Richa. I feel truer to my blog now 🙂 And yes, more such posts shall be penned!

  3. Wow, I have been reading your posts for a while now and I wouldn’t have guessed half this list. It’s like looking at a whole other person, but more relate-able 😉 #6 is so true for me too, I am just so handicapped when it comes to directions, thankfully I also have a #9 on some trips to help me out 😀

    1. Haha, Richa’s comment before yours says the exact opposite! I’m glad to have both perspectives, and glad I made these personal confessions. Owe it to everyone who reads my travel stories 🙂 And cheers to #6, getting lost!

  4. Aww – thanks for sharing! I did guess some of it from your blog post. I’m not big on future plans and career – just take life as it comes. There – I’ve shared 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing that Mansee, love the attitude of taking life as it comes. I try to stick to it as much as I can, but sometimes my racing thoughts get the better of me 😉

  5. 1,6 and 10 goes for me too
    But the introvert part is no secret. People usually figure it out 😐

    1. Cheers to #10! We need to make a group for that and egg each other on 😉

      1. If there is ever a group for those who “don’t want a car, house or kids” please do send me an invite. I would really love to be a founding member.

    1. Wow Mani, didn’t think so many people will be able to relate! Cheers to us 🙂

  6. This one was straight from the heart, Shivya. And I loved loved reading every word of it. 🙂

  7. I can relate #1 and #10. Happy Travelling Shivya! Takecare 🙂

  8. Lovely..

    I have not known you that much but I felt that there must be someone along.

    #10 is a strange & a difficult 1.

    1. Haha, I think the “we” hints have been on many of my travels lately! And #10 isn’t strange, just a different approach towards life.

  9. widicreations says:

    It is so easy isn’t it to communicate in the online world.. I feel the same.. I struggle to communicate in the real world.. I’m now trying to socialise in the online world but can’t invite my real world friends because I just can’t sound needy.
    Only today I read another article – http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/08/29/confessions-social-media-addict-purba-ray. Very interesting..
    Do your parents read the blog..for your last comment 🙂

    1. True story, but we get by, don’t we?
      Haha, I hope they do read the last one to know I’ve been serious all this time!

  10. Oh! my dear travel guru. You just did not broke but you shattered my heart and my imagination about you.

    3 & 10 are the most devastating revelations that took my breath away for a moment.

    I am not sure about your worldview is but according to my worldview I believe that God made everything that exists. God made everything beautiful for humans to experience and to be happy in life. Life is God’s precious gift. Sadness/evil are something that we have to deal with all our life to make sure we understand the essence of what it means to be happy and to be alive. God created man and women for the sole purpose of inhabiting this vast beautiful earth and the universe. Male, female and sex are God’s gifts to mankind. The purpose and meaning of ourselves as humans, life, relationships, sex within marriage and children are divine in every aspect.

    You are here for a purpose that is far greater than your dreams.

    I am praying for you Shivya. You are too young and hope is for a lifetime.

    Keep yourself busy with travel and keep us busy with stories of your travel adventures.

    Life always gets better!

  11. One of your most interesting posts till date! I’m curious about point 9 now 😉 And please don’t say that you are not a writer! You are and a great one!

    1. Haha, I can imagine it is 😉 I’ll take it as a great complement that you think I write well!

  12. Have been reading about your travels for quite some time now. Good to know a little more about you 🙂 Keep going!

    1. I’m glad you have, Sonika! Hope this post didn’t scare you off 😉

  13. Hey, Shivya, nice post. I can relate to a lot of the things you’ve said. Being an introvert for one, and yet, I’ve had the most intense conversations with strangers while travelling. http://www.twoboots.in/#!about/c1c32

    1. I hear you! Sometimes life just takes you out of your comfort zone to show you life, right?

  14. Wow. An introvert, lack of healthy positivity, landing in a profession that requires one to write, quitting nonveg in ninth grade and no desire for your own children. You must have been my soul mate in one of our previous lives. 🙂

    1. Haha! There are so many like us, and yet we feel we’re the only ones, right?

  15. Interesting post! good to know more about you, Shivya! 🙂

    You stalked someone online and won your first international blogging trip?! Really? Please do tell us the entire story. 🙂

    1. Haha, that story is never going to be told. Maybe you’ll have to get me drunk 😉

  16. Why am I not surprised at No.9? Because you were liberally throwing hints about it in all your stories ;). Love love this personal post of yours.

  17. Glad to know you have a partner who love the things you do and yes companionship is what matters the most…….best wishes Shivya! 🙂 <3

  18. Loved the post… 🙂 Happy for you! 🙂 You keep inspiring me everyday!

  19. Unsolicited. don’t let any of 10 come in the way if you choose to decide something else like going non-veg or getting better at maps or may be kids. I say this because a few of my friends (I am 1/2 a generation ahead of you, 1 generation is 25 years) who are kind of in the same urban/new-world mould decided to not do certain things with a lot of (I do not believe in kind of words) conviction but they changed after things around changed and are loving it (kids). Unsolicited. Enjoy.

    1. Haha. Nandan, thank you. I still remember your comment when I went location independent. And when the going got tough, your words always came back to me. I knew I could always turn back and I know that now again 🙂 Thank you for saying this.

  20. Dear Shivya,

    One of the interesting post that too about u..

    1. By tweets,blogs and other things on social network, it doesn’t look like ur introvert.
    2.About #5 will eagerly wait about your writing a book.
    3.And i too agree with #3.( I can relate )

    Keep rocking, Keep travelling, Keep Blogging.

    1. I know, I actually love interacting online (thank god for that ;))

  21. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a characteristic no one knows about me. I have 1, 6, and especially 10 in common with you. Although when it comes to 1, I don’t really interact much with people either online or offline.

    I am incredibly surprised by 3, seeing how fascinating your nomadic lifestyle is. I wonder if an introverted personality and a lack of a guaranteed steady income (at least I’m guessing it’s less steady than with a corporate job) contribute to your dismal perspective of life.

    1. The “dismal” perspective has been around since much before that. It’s certainly got better when I started chasing the world with such intensity, but the perspective can’t go away entirely I guess. Cheers to #10!

  22. My God ,we’re so darn similar Shivya ! I’d love to meet you someday in person though I’m an introvert too in every sense of the word but guess I can make an exception ;). I;ve never believed in marriages and having kids..m a free bird…fiery and wild…

    You’re a brave, brave girl miss. God bless you.

    1. Haha, question is, would I make an exception? Kidding 😉 Would be lovely to catch up and I hope to run into you on the road sometime! Cheers to us.

  23. No one knows that I crossed railway line, station master caught me & I paid Rs.50 fine!! 😉
    Glad to know many things about you..!!

  24. Nice to see someone being honest but you always come across as a nice person which is important and why I enjoy reading your blog. Number 3 could be any of us and as for 5; having a story worth telling is what makes a writer. Would like to know you better!

    1. Thanks Pete! I’m always glad to see your comments here 🙂 Hope to run into you on the road soon. Or when you finally come to India!

  25. Fellow child-free introvert. 🙂

  26. Pingback: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me. | The Talking Sloth - Asia
  27. Dear, when I read your post , with each paragraph reading I just felt like I want to hug you….I am much older than you, yet I see myself in most of your statements, but I really admire you for your courage to write about yourself in such intimate manner. I think you have an old soul which is so precious and there is much to learn from you. So here comes my HUG!!!

  28. Richa Pandey says:

    it was nice to know more about you since i religiously read all ur blogs.n surely u look for deeper meanings in life dats wy u choose to do wot u do. Thats why u r capable to feel joy and sadness both deeply in heart.And this is why u r living d life ! n merely not surviving it amid shallow ,momentarily distractions and temptations which keeps one entangled throughout dere lives.u r a free bird , meant fr greater things.Experience and feel wot comes ur way. ur quest , defines u n in ur case will surely lead to somthng worthwhile.my best wishes olways wid u ! keep rocking.

  29. I am inspired by you and I have already planned two solo travel plans in the coming months. 🙂 The best part is nobody knows about it yet. I’ll have to make some stories too, it seems! 😉 😀

  30. Ekta Agarwal says:

    Thanks for sharing #9. Do share a pic some day. 🙂

  31. Shivya, Good to know more about it. I could relate to some of the facts shared and hope that all this gives you reasons to keep doing things you want to do & do them in better way every time. Have safe journeys ahead !

  32. all through it seemed i was reading about myself or some things i want to be….keep it up….

  33. this is your first post I am reading and loving your style of writing…I too love to travel and loved reading your travel posts…


  34. Good to know, how a traveler life is about. Hey, I remember couple of months back you visited Badami, did you publish a story on that travel? or to be published?

  35. Can I say…’Soulmate’? 😉

  36. I stumbled across your blog today when my friend sent me an article about a girl who quit her job to travel. I’ve learned a lot from what you’ve written, Shivya. Thanks for keeping it real. Aren’t we always learning about ourselves and the world we live in. You may not be as positive as we think, but I think you have a courageous soul. Keep loving life and living it, you’re a great inspiration and comfort to many!

  37. Number 1 – “I’m the loner in the crowd. I hardly ever initiate a conversation. I can hang out with strangers online all day, but it takes me a lot more effort to meet people in person”

    Number 5 – “I would scribble poetry, write short stories, and hide them away, thinking someone would discover them someday and make me famous.”

    My life summed up!

  38. T.Palaniappan says:

    Really quite interesting. I am not here to preach you , however I feel like telling this to you. I am happy to see a youngster , like a free bird, going to many more places providing great exposure to the external world, many of which I have never seen with travel woes apart. As long as you are young & energetic you can very well be alone without any marriage .When you grow old you will be in need of a reliable & dependable one to take care of you.That goes without saying, that I am old enough to throw some light on your future.If you feel , I am crossing the limits , pl. bear with me. Thank you for sharing a lot. May God bless you always and be happy always.

  39. AJAY GOSH says:

    This post will certainly built a small place for you in my heart !! i am great fan of you !!

  40. Fascinated. Hats off!
    Lived through your blog vicariously.
    And look forward to your book in the near future.
    Take care!

  41. Have spent half a day has already, on your blog while being in office. Need I say more?

    I guess yes, specially about this particular post.
    I could relate to almost everything you have talked about being the introvert thing (I prefer to call myself an Outgoing Introvert) 😉


  42. It’s quite a heartfelt post.It paints a more realistic picture,and as an introvert I am sure it would have taken some courage to open up.I have always enjoyed reading your posts.You are a rockstar.
    Keep Writing and Traveling!!Cheers!!

  43. Shivya, we are soul sisters! haha I was reading through this like yes, yes, yes, yes and then saw #10 and was like YES! I’ve literally never dreamed of being married and have ALWAYS known I never want kids and it’s so refreshing to hear such similar thoughts. You seem like you’re also an INTJ (if you’ve ever taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test…) — especially how you mentioned you’re not as positive as you appear – I’m the same way; my closest friends think I’m quite the cynic and yet I have such a positive energy as well – I’m just a very reflective person – tell-tale signs of an INTJ haha

  44. Shivya, i still lie to my parents because they are kind of over caring and don’t like me travelling alone. I don’t make money with my travel stories though but it doesn’t stop me from travelling, somtimes i jjust walk and walk and walk to save bucks, and eat at temples and gurudwaras. Travelling is more than fun for me now, a medicine for my depression you say, and just to put some break on my restless mind i travel and doing it solo brings the originality in it. I am still fighting between my industrial design and photography design choice, which one to choose to support my freedom because earning a money just to get settled down is too much to ask me for. Personally it’s like murdering your inner child for me. I am done with kids as a solo traveler it isn’t a wise choice and deep down i don’t have the thing for kids or marriage. life is too short and a false facade for the sake of others isn’t a right choice to live. And luckily i have a sister who sometimes travel with me and she kinda enjoys it too. i have been to other countries but in sailing you don’t experience it the way you want to so i left my job, people call me fool to leaving a job like navy but i don’t see any point doing it for the sake of money. Roads are scary when i see homeless people it does scare me sometimes because of my choices but now it doesn’t matter to e anymore though i am still pursuing my dream designing and if it doesn’t make me grow spiritually and gives me freedom to travel then i ll again leave it . and try something else. Depression is severe but i am lucky to have travel on my side thanks for your stories it keeps people like us motivated .

  45. I have a friend similar to you. But could not believe 5 & 7.Great!

  46. Shivya,
    I simply can’t read this and let go. I need to scribble my thoughts 😜.
    Well through my social networking I have met ppl who I identify with. And somewhere from this post I find you as my reflection ( in parts 😉)

    I am also an introvert.
    I am too bad with maps and directions ( though am a civil engineer 😛).
    My plans never worked. And what has started working was never my plan. 😝
    Am a sworn pessimist. 🙌 😂
    Cmn to marriage and children, marriage is smthn I never thought about and children I think adoption is always a better choice. Why not improve one life than spoiling two 😛😉😜
    Freedom is what I aspire and motivate ppl for the same. Having multiple interests is not a crime. Isn’t it? I love dealing with all the stereotypical views of the society. My family tries to influence me every thought and idea but they are left disappointed. Just like a normal person am asked to take up a job and nothing is tempting me for it. Well ppl have got their dreams fulfilled. They sit in a posh AC office relentlessly working at the desk and I pen down my fiction stories in phone with the hope that they’ll get published one day 😜

    My idea of life is simple. If you want to see the change begin with yourself. Try to bring that change in the family. Cz when a family’s perspective becomes progressive it carves a path for the future generation. Only ‘youth’ can bring the change. And you are really one such inspiration.

    Loads of love,

  47. Vegetarian? Don’t you feel restricted as far as availability of vegetarian food is concerned while travelling internationally?

  48. orangewayfarer says:

    “I would scribble poetry, write short stories, and hide them away, thinking someone would discover them someday and make me famous.”How dearly I relate with you. I wanted to be a writer too, loved studying history, dreamt of being an archeologist someday. But gone are those dreams. sigh

  49. Hey shivya,
    One of the coolest post and genuine blogger ever came across. Felt so homely like listening to a friend at my home. Good job. Keep going.

  50. Jenna Karahalios says:

    Shiya!! You are such an incredible inspiring rad lady, how lucky I am to come across your blog. I am traveling, my first time traveling ever, alone to Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in the Doon Valley, a place started by Dr. Shiva Vandanya. Have you ever been or heard of it?!

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