Welcome to The Shooting Star!
Hello. My name is Shivya Nath. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes in the transformative power of travel.
In 2011, at age 23, I quit my 9-to-5 corporate job with a dream of travelling the world.
In 2013, I gave up my home, sold most of my belongings and began living nomadically.
In 2015, I turned vegan and decided to cut out all animal products from my diet and lifestyle, realizing that it’s better for the animals, the planet and my own body.
In 2018, I published a book – called The Shooting Star – about my personal journey and how my travels have shaped my life choices. I was overwhelmed when it became a national bestseller in just over a month of release! It’s currently in its fourth reprint.
In 2019, I released The Shooting Star Collection – sustainable travel-inspired clothing that raises funds to grow forests in Uttarakhand.
In 2020, I co-founded Voices of Rural India – a novel, not-for-profit platform that creates digital storytelling opportunities for rural communities affected by the tourism shutdown following Covid-19.
In 2021, I began to pivot into sustainable tourism consulting and research, aspiring to work with DMOs, governments, businesses and non-profits to meet their environmental and social impact goals.
In 2022, I joined the Work For Humankind project and spent a month on one of the world’s remotest islands – Isla Robinson Crusoe, 700 km off the coast of Chile – working on renewable energy, community farming and conservation storytelling projects.
I believe in slow and sustainable travel, embracing local ways of life, spending time with local communities, exploring places off the beaten path and minimizing my environmental impact.
I grew up in a protective Indian family in Dehradun, a valley at the base of the Himalayas, and spent my childhood wondering what lay beyond the mountains I could see from my rooftop. Upon finishing high school, I went to Singapore to study, with big dreams and a big student loan.
As luck would have it, I graduated in the middle of the financial recession of 2009, when most companies I wanted to work with had ceased hiring. I landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board, where my experiments with social media began, and I first began following the journey of travel bloggers around the world.
It was impossible to tame my restless cubicle-bound soul, so in 2011, I took a 2 month sabbatical from work. I went flash-packing across Western Europe with a friend, and volunteer-travelled by myself in the high Himalayas of India.
In those two months, I saw, experienced and lived more than I ever had before, and decided to quit my first and only corporate job with a dream of travelling the world on my own terms.
In 2014, the story of how I quit my job to travel was featured on BBC Travel.
In 2017, I was featured on the cover of National Geographic Traveller India magazine!
In 2018, I was awarded silver for best writing in a travel blog at TBC Asia Awards.
In 2019, my work was featured on The Washington Post, among travellers changing the way we think of the world.
In 2020, I won gold for best communicator at the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards India.
In 2021, I was featured among 15 travel trailblazers by Travel + Leisure India and South Asia.
In 2022, I was named among 30 Global Champions of Environmental Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism at the Global Hospitality Awards.
How I like to travel
I’m not a backpacker. While I carry a convertible backpack for convenience, I like to stay in experiential accommodations (Airbnbs, homestays), seek local experiences and don’t believe in counting every penny I spend. I like to go slow, get under the skin of a place, spend time with locals and experiment with the local cuisine; here’s how I survive and thrive as a vegan traveller. I mostly travel solo or with my partner; group travel with a fixed itinerary is just not for me.
I believe that our travel choices have an impact on the places we visit. On my part, I try to contribute to the local economy, prefer public transport, avoid plastic bottled water and other single-use plastic, say no to unethical animal attractions, consume no animal products, prefer to eat what grows in the region, ask for permission before photographing people and try to form my own opinions of the places I visit and the people I meet.
What I’m up to now
The on-going pandemic has brought the global tourism industry to a halt. In 2020, I was to speak at The Economic Times Women’s Forum in India and at an environmental conference in Uzbekistan. I had dreamt of going back to Iran and travelling overland to Azerbaijan. All my travel plans were cancelled – and I learnt to be grateful for the small joys life still affords us.
In 2021, I began to work with tourism businesses to measure their environmental impact and design community-led tourism projects, develop what I call ‘collaborative community storytelling’ (working with community members to co-tell travel stories), and further my knowledge and skills in sustainability and environmental management.
I’m currently looking for long term, slow travel assignments that allow to me to tell stories at the confluence of conservation, communities and climate change – as well as design impactful sustainable tourism initiatives.
Do you dream of travelling the world too? Read these posts:
- 15 Responsible Travel Tips for Authentic, Meaningful Experiences on the Road
- How I’m Financially Sustaining My Digital Nomad Lifestyle
- Four Years of Travelling Without a Home
- How I Fit All My Possessions in Two Bags As I Travel The World
- What’s it Like to Travel Solo When You’re in a Relationship
- How I Conquer My Solo Travel Fears
- Practical Tips to Save Money for Travel
- How to Deal With Travel-wary Parents
- Solo travel: To Go or Not to Go?
- How to Start a Travel Blog
- How to Earn Money While Travelling
- More questions answered here: FAQs
Connect with me
If you are a tourism industry member interested in collaborating with me, please see my Work With Me page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a fellow traveller or blogger and have questions that I haven’t yet answered on my blog, you can email me at email@example.com. I respond faster to comments on the blog / Instagram though.
Thanks for reading! I’m glad we’re connected.