By the time you read this, I’ll be whizzing above the oceans on my Air Canada / Lufthansa flight. If Canadian Tourism Commission’s plan for us is anything to go by, it’s going to be one epic travel + blogging adventure! Unlike most other press trips I’ve been on, I love the amount of free and easy time we have on this trip to explore Canada on our own. As always, I’ve made no firm plans, and will be seeking suggestions from the locals I meet. A big thank you to those of you who’ve been kind enough to recommend hangouts and eateries, or offered to show me around!
You heard that right. I’m one of 28 international bloggers to be invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission this May, for what sounds like an incredible trip to explore the maple leaf country. I’m going to be the only travel blogger from India, so that’s a little overwhelming! This 15-day trip will start in Vancouver, often ranked among the best cities to live in. From there, we’ll board the VIA Rail to the mountain town of Jasper, and to Winnipeg in the Canadian Prairies. The trip will end in Toronto, where we’ll be part of TBEX, the greatest international travel blogging conference. Seeing another one of my travel bucket list items turn to reality is unbelievably exciting!
The Shooting Star has recently made it to the top 30 travel blogs in India (based on global Alexa rankings). While I still have a long way to go to reach the level of the world’s top travel bloggers, this post is an attempt to share my experiences and experiments so far. Many of you have asked me on Twitter and via email, as to how you can go about starting your own travel blog and what it entails, and this post is something of an apology to those unanswered questions! I started my travel blogging journey in May 2011, before which my blog was a platform to rant about life and share the occasional travel tales. I must also confess that I started (and dropped) 5 blogs before The Shooting Star, each after a few posts, when I faced the writer’s block. That is perhaps the greatest challenge of starting out as a blogger, travel or otherwise – you might receive little or no traffic in the initial days, and a lot of efforts may feel …
2013 has started on a high note for me professionally; my travel story about a small Himalayan town got published across four glossy pages of the January issue of the National Geographic Traveller India magazine, and New Woman India magazine ran a page-long feature on my journey from a cubicle to the road in their first issue of the new year! I haven’t yet set out of Delhi (for good reason, you’ll see in the updates below), but I shall soon be announcing my very first (and very exciting) travel adventure of the year, fingers crossed.
During the last one month, I have travelled across the countryside of southern Spain, from Europe’s only desert, to beautiful Arabic cities, to a small town where people still get around on horses! If you’ve been following my live updates on Facebook and Twitter, you probably know that I’m wrapping up my trip and heading back to India soon. As I soak in the last of the olive countryside of Spain and bid goodbye to my eggs-and-potato diet, I want to hand over the reigns of this blog, to you. This “Ask me anything” is inspired by my friend and fellow travel blogger Neelima, who in turn was inspired by Reddit. She gave me whole-hearted permission to steal replicate the idea, so here I am, asking you to ask me anything! You can ask me about my travels, my vegetarian adventures, what’s in my backpack, places I’ve been to, or any other questions related to travelling or travel blogging. I shall refrain from answering anything too personal or inappropriate though, so let’s keep this clean! You can …
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 …
This is the 1st post of my Travel Secrets series. If you don’t know me personally, you’ve probably wondered how I afford my travels, where I find the time, the company or the inspiration to travel, and whether my parents are okay with it (it is safe to assume that most Indian parents won’t be). I have hereby decided to come clean with my secrets in a new series that I’m not very creatively calling ‘Travel Secrets’, and I hope to inspire you to follow your dream to travel the world.
Of late, I’ve been reading so many thought-provoking, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, smile-evoking travel posts from around the Blogosphere, that I’ve decided to start this ‘Wanderlust in Words’ bi-monthly travel section to collect the best of the lot, and keep myself from losing my sanity (and hopefully yours too). If all goes well, each alternate Monday, you can come back here to find inspiration for your first solo trip, go on a visual journey somewhere across the globe, open up to the idea of long-term travel, indulge in a minute or two of someone else’s reality, and read something stirring on Incredible India, which seems to be on everyone’s travel list these days.
It’s been a big weekend for me as a travel blogger, this time not for travelling somewhere daringly off the beaten track, but for having one such of my adventures published in India’s most widely read daily publications – The Times of India. It is perhaps every travel blogger’s starry-eyed dream to see their work in print, and in print that is so widely read. As I watched that dream unfold on Saturday’s paper (literally), I couldn’t help but think of the rungs I’ve climbed and skipped to get here.
Dear 2012, Haven’t you come so soon? I am still reveling in my escapades of 2011, marveling at the beauty of our world. 2011 was a good year, you know. I wish it hadn’t ended so soon. But now that you’re here, I dream of flying on your wings to places far away, where snow-topped mountains and their valleys lie untouched, in wait for me.