An Interview with Neha, She is a travel vlogger and love to explore new places, have a look at her travel stories and experiences.
Hey Neha, how are you? Please introduce yourself.
“Hello! I am doing great, thanks for asking. I am an engineer by profession and I love to write, I am also a trained Hindustani classical singer but most importantly my heart lies in traveling. I believe it has been therapeutical for me so I aspire to inspire people to experience the same”.
So, when did you start traveling? and why? how many places you have visited so far.
“I was always inclined to this but due to studies and the obvious hesitation, it took me time to start this seriously. We use to have yearly family trips in childhood. In my college, it first started with a group of friends and eventually by the end of college, the travel bug bit me hard so I started traveling solo. And once I was independent financially this became frequent. But I am still growing with every trip and there is so much more to explore. I have covered most of the southern Indian states and Union Territories such as Karnataka, TamilNadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, and Parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Do you like traveling alone or in groups, The lockdown situation must have been tough on you, right?
“Either way I love both. I feel both of them has their advantage. I recently went on a trip to Gokarna with a group of strangers for New Year Camping on the beach and that was one of the best experiences of mine. You get to meet kind, enthusiastic, and helpful people. It’s a lot of fun with a group full of travel lovers.
On the other hand, when I travel solo as I did for Pondicherry and Goa once, it’s more of getting to know yourself and heal. I don’t think we spend time with ourselves much and we need to let our soul and body free sometimes in nature to mend and fix itself.
It also teaches us how to handle tough situations alone and act smartly to come out of them. Thats the thrill solo travelling gives me.
I feel the lockdown was hard for all of us and being a travel lover it was tough for me too but I knew that we cant’s travel and hence I made my traveling limited from my room to the kitchen to just cook and eat “.
Do you have a funny travel experience?
“Oh, there are many! I was on my trek to Ettina Bhuja in Chikmagalur where we have to cross a forest to reach the trek. The locals asked us to put Dettol in our feet since the forest is full of leeches. For some reason, I was very excited about this and I bought the big bottle of Dettol expecting adventures of leeches. In my head, I was a “Fear Factor” contestant who will come out of the forest with leeches loaded all over like a winner. I kept waiting with Dettol all over my body for a single leech! Not a single leech there. I was disappointed and suddenly I saw one crawling towards me, Ran 1 km back shouting in fear!”
Which mode of transport do you prefer the most?
“It depends on the place and the connectivity. Also depends on how safe it is since that’s a really important factor for me. Also whatever mode it is I make sure I pre-plan it beforehand and then execute. A suggestion to female travelers is to always be aware of where and how you are going to travel .”
How do you fund your travels? (savings or anything else) –
“Right now it’s all my savings. I try to cut down my unnecessary expenses when I am not traveling. I always feel it’s best to invest rather than spend and one should know the difference. Here too pre-planning works a lot. If you pre-plan your trip at least a month back you will be able to save a lot of money. Also try eating the LOCAL FOOD when you travel, like if you are in the South feast on Dosas and Idlis rather than searching for Chinese, If you are on a beach have that coconut water. These small steps eventually can help you to plan and execute your trips well”.
We Heard you have a Youtube channel too? Tell us about it.
The name of the channel is “Until You Go“. It’s been just a few months but it has been an amazingly beautiful journey. As I told them I want to focus on ” #traveltherapy ” and the best way to express my thoughts and make it accessible to people is YouTube. This isn’t just a travel channel with information about places, It is around the notion that the journey matters more than the destination, that the world is beautiful, that people aren’t always bad and that Nature will always heal you.
I remember being in the most depressed state of my life and a solo trip helped me come out of it. I sat near an ocean in the morning and saw the sun rising from the horizon. That sunrise brought rays of hope in my life too. I want to spread that sunrise to everyone and help them come out of their difficult phase”.
What message you get from your audience on youtube.
“I feel glad when I see people connecting with me. I remember a lady, in her 50s contacting me to take her with me to travel. She said she had lived her life for her kids and now she is tired of being enclosed in barriers of responsibilities. She wanted to go free. That touched me and so I planned to form a group named – Panchhi, for all the woman travelers inclusive of all age groups who want to fly. I feel glad that my Youtube channel is spreading its message to at least some people”.
Which one was your best travel experience?
“You see it’s almost like choosing the best among the bests. Difficult but I would say Goa. A recent trip where I took my Parents to Goa. I wanted to break this notion that Goa isn’t a family place because every place is a family place if you plan well. They had fun doing water sports and dancing on a cruise like young love birds. The vlogs for Goa will be coming soon on my channel”.
Is there any place that you visited but you didn’t find what you expected?
“Yes, in a good way though. Pondicherry. I was told it’s a beach place obviously so it will be very sunny out there. I was all pumped with my Hat, sunglasses, Sunscreen But it was so cloudy and windy there. While I was on Paradise Beach it was raining when I was playing in the waves. I have captured that magical moment in my vlogs and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Forget Sunscreen I had to buy raincoats there! It was fun though”.
Which is your dream place and when are you going to visit that?-
“It has to be Kashmir. I have dreamt so much of playing in the snow and making the snowman since my childhood. I would love to visit there when it’s winter So next year’s start it will surely be Kashmir. Meanwhile, I want to have a cultural heritage trip to Rajasthan and Gujrat. Apart from exploring the rich culture I also want to indulge in some tasty delicacies there. I will surely share every bit of it with you all “.
What is traveling for you? your upcoming plans?
Traveling for me is self-exploration. Traveling for me is motivation to improve, improve my health mentally and physically. I remember panting my lungs out on treks initially and now it’s better but I am still in process. I want to work on my fitness levels so that I could reach that top and dive in that sea.
Traveling for me is way to love life and hence I want everyone to look at it with that perspective and give themselves the time out they need from their monotonous life
I have Ooty and then may be Kerala in my plans
Any message for the audience who wants to do solo travel.
For all the aspiring solo travelers, let me tell you that It’s not easy at first but it’s worth it I promise. And it’s all about the first trip make a journal, plan your trip, transportation, finance. Take that first step out! You have to face your fears someday and make yourself stronger to face the challenges out there and then you will learn so much from it, No book or tutorial can teach you more about life and survival than a solo trip. You can always do it if planned well
Who is your source of inspiration
Like many people, have had some bad phases in life dealing with complexes and fears of uncertainties That captivated me for too long which pushed me to come out and travel. That became my inspiration and I stepped out of my comfort zone to start solo traveling.
Apart from that, I love the works of some Travel vloggers-. Mountain Trekker, Nomad Shubham, Radhika Nomllers, Kritika Goel, Shenaz Treasury are doing an amazing job.
When the Word traveling hits our mind, many from India cannot digest solo women travelers.
That is right. While traveling even I have faced such issues . Someone is always “expected to be with me”. People personally message me asking Who are you travelling with? Is it a guy or girl?? The idea that a woman can travel alone without any support or help on her own, managing her expenses, and finding joy in it is still not acceptable completely in our country. And then there are some genuine concerns too because yes it’s true that safety is at risk at some places. To start with my parents were concerned too but I am so glad they have finally understood my passion and support me now. I want people to encourage women who aspire to do so and also help in creating a safe and secure environment where ever goes. Passion should have no gender
How do you manage your work-life with travel along?
I will be honest here, at times it’s tough. I am also doing my Mtech with, BITS PILANI in Data Science along with my job, which is a tough subject it’s managing masters, job, home, traveling, and YouTube. So I believe in planning it prior and taking adequate rest and sleep to rejuvenate myself for the next day. At times it’s clumsy but I am learning. If our mothers can be such amazing multitaskers why can’t we? Isn’t it?
Thank you so much for the opportunity. Much love!