All posts filed under: Budget

Traveling on a budget.

How I Afford My Travels, and How You Can Too.

Most people will be alarmed at how my bank account balance fluctuates every month. It holds the biggest clue to how I afford my travels; I choose to take risks. I am 24, and choose not to be disillusioned by the ‘need’ to save every penny for something better and bigger in the future. I choose not be dismayed by thoughts of a very rainy day either. I choose to take it as it comes (and to take it when it doesn’t come), the money that is. I choose to live in my today, instead of dreaming about what may be in the future. That might sound foolish to some, at best naive, but through these five mantras that have afforded me 99% of my travels, I shall strive to prove otherwise. 1. Money won’t save itself. As much as I wish I had a secret magic formula for each time people asked me how I find the money to travel so much, I don’t. Not even a grand inheritance. And no, no rich uncle to sponsor my …

Living Like a Local in Istanbul.

Since I moved back to India exactly 11 months ago, a lot has changed in the way I travel. Shoestring budgets no longer decide where I choose to stay, unlike in my student days, and reviews of other people no longer heavily influence my choice of accommodation, unlike in my corporate days. In the last 11 months, I have learnt to swim to the depths of google and take leaps of faith with accommodation options that have struck a chord, review or no review, cheapest option or not. For the most part, I have been pleasantly surprised, sometimes even overwhelmed, with the discoveries of home stays, farm huts and forest camps that are littered in secluded places throughout India, and India Untravelled was born out of these discoveries. My choices have facilitated interaction with native families and communities, helped me travel a bit more responsibly, and let me live like the locals of a place, even if for just a few days. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, …

First Time to Europe? 10 Travel Tips to Get You Started.

Four years and several trips later, I can tell you that most first timers don’t get Europe right. I hear all the time from people who want to squeeze 3 countries in one week, hop from city to city and museum to museum, and stick to the food they know. Europe to me is about letting go off of these notions. As with anywhere else in the world, Europe is as much about charm of its countryside villages as it is about the grandeur of its cities. It is about people-watching from small cafes serving up farm-to-table food. It is about losing yourself in the cobblestoned streets, speaking a different language for a few days, and embracing a culture that has long enticed poets and writers. From the complexities of the Schengen visa to reliable travel resources, I’ve compiled travel tips to save you ‘basic research’ time on Google: Get a Schengen Visa and be smart about it. Getting a European tourist visa is perhaps the most  complicated when you hold an Indian passport, but there’s a method …

Finding home in Vietnam.

It’s the winter of 2010, and I’m embarking on my most adventurous journey to date, in Northwest Vietnam. Only I don’t know it yet. After failing to beat the crowds in the Mekong Delta, we have pledged not to take the ‘touristy’ circuit again. Instead of taking the train from Hanoi to Sapa (a popular hill station), we’ve set out along the Northwestern hinterlands of Vietnam, and our conviction to make it to Sapa on land via this route rests on the blog of one guy who said the journey is possible. There is no more information to be found online; no bus timings, no trains, no places to stay, not even the names of the smaller towns & villages we may pass by. This is the story of one such village. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. 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 travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing …

Peora, traditional village hut, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, Kumaoni villages, offbeat travel, Indian villages, Himalayan villages, countryside

Conversations on Love in Rural India from Peora Uttarakhand.

In Peora Uttarakhand and at the Dak Bungalow Peora, amid the scenic Kumaon Himalayas, my introduction to life or something like it. Loud Hindi music blares through the silence of the valley, the wind scarred with it. Women dressed in jazzy saris walk down the path to a village hut below, big smiles pasted on their faces. Their eyes fixed on their toddlers who keep running faster than their heels can take them. This is not your usual day in Peora Uttarakhand – a small village quietly tucked away in the Kumaon Himalayas. It’s the day before a wedding. The entire village seems to be rejoicing, dressing up, laughing, singing, dancing, feasting and celebrating. I arrived in Peora this morning, in an attempt to ‘disconnect’ from my online addictions. We drove from the Kathgodam train station past the lake of Bhimtal, along slopes dotted with pretty green pine trees. Through python-like winding roads, amid dense coniferous forests. I knew even then that I was going to the right place. As we went higher, the air felt …

“Life on the Farm” at Prakriti Farms.

Sleeping Spotlight is a weekly review of unique & offbeat places to stay. My first (impulsive) trip to the fruit farms & cotton fields on the countryside of Punjab had me itching to go back and discover, experience & savour more of my Punjabi roots. I remember smiling from ear to ear when I first read about Prakriti Farms. Not only did it sound like a true-blue Punjabi experience, but also its location in the Shivaliks, whose very lap I’ve grown up in, made it a double win. Admittedly, I was in love even before I got there. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. 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 travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

4 Small Towns in Western Europe You Probably Haven’t Heard About.

Since my first Euro trip last summer, I haven’t stopped thinking about the dreamy countryside towns & villages I bumped the cities for. While there isn’t a better way to see the European countryside than to hop on the Euro Rail and get off on a whim, After Sunset style, it may not work for travellers constrained by time, money or well, the comfort zone of a plan. Unearthed by traversing the depths of Google and through conversations with the local people & regional tourism boards, here is my choicest list of 4 small towns & villages across Italy, France & Germany, that I fell deliriously in love with. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. 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 travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

India’s last beach paradise?

I softly tread on the white sand, slippers in hand and jeans rolled up. The residual waves of the Arabian Sea caress my feet and playfully slip the sand from underneath my soles. I look at the chirpy turquoise blue waters before me, and at the only trail of footsteps I’ve created in the soft sand; in a country of 1.1 billion people, you have to be really lucky to find a sun-kissed beach with not another soul in sight. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. 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 travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

India Untravelled.

If you’ve ever fantasized about living in a remote village in the high Himalayas, experiencing the colonial charm of a hill station minus the tourists, savoring the country hospitality of India’s most hospitable culture, waking up to birds chirping on a farm, or finding the beauty of Europe’s alpine countryside in India, this post is for you. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. 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 travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram