As always we at Trodly do our utmost to try and inspire you to #GetOutside and see as much of India and the world as possible. Today we share with you an inspiring story of Swati Saxena of Lost In Maps and talk to her about her inspiration, solo travel and experiences. A total travel addict Swati got her first taste for long term travel on a solo trip to Kerala.
- What was the first solo trip you took? How did you become a full-time traveler?
The first trip I took all by myself was to Kerala – Kochi, Alleppey and Varkala over 12 days.
I don’t really consider myself a full-time traveler, because I still have a place – home base as they say, for which I pay rent. I try to explore at least one new destination each month, staying away from Delhi, sometimes for just 2 days, sometimes for 20.
Going forward, I plan on changing the home-base frequently, and explore the destinations nearby, rather than becoming a full-time traveler.
- How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Until now it has largely been savings, along with freelance work – content writing, proofreading and social media management. Most of the work happens when I’m not traveling.
- Do you have any funny travel stories? Share an instance with us.
This one time when I was traveling on a local bus in a rural part of Rajasthan, the lady sitting beside me, started talking. Apparently, she was a daily passenger on that bus and saw me for the first time. Her curiosity got the better of her and she asked, “Tumhari jaat kya hai?”. It took me a while to understand that a stranger is asking for my caste (not even religion or last name). Moreover, I got scolded by her when I said I don’t know. It was hilarious and outrageous, at the same time.
- Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travelers?
A lot of people have asked me how I manage to travel alone in India.
- Research is the key. Look out for destination-wise practical tips and itineraries from fellow travelers.
- Always read the reviews before booking a place to stay.
- Take public transport as much as possible. Reach your destination during the day.
- Trust your gut. Appear confident even if you are a nerve-wreck inside.
- Start with relatively safe areas. I’d rather roam around alone in Goa than in Uttar Pradesh.
- Expect to meet the most helpful and kind people. Carry a pepper spray, nonetheless.
- Being travel blogger, you must have had a bucket list! Where is your favorite place in the world?
I’ll need to see the world before deciding on a favorite. Pictures on the internet don’t reveal as much as your eyes can see and your soul can feel. Srinagar-Leh Highway remains close to heart, of all places I’ve traveled till now.
But, I don’t have a list as such. The bucket is too small for everywhere I want to be.
- What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?
A person. The road does get lonely on some days, and then I wish I had company. Being an introvert, I am still not too comfortable traveling with random people, or making friends quickly. Hope to change that, soon.
- How do you think we can be better travelers?
That’s simple. By being better human beings. A lot of us still need to learn basic etiquette. We litter away a place just because it’s not our living room. Habits like wasting food, driving rash and breaking lines are matter of pride for some folks. To me, it’s just a big sign of stupidity.
- Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Got stalked by a guy on my first ever day of solo travel in Kochi, Kerala. It could totally get worse.
- Finally, why do you travel?
I started because I had some spare money that I didn’t want to spend on four wheels and four walls. I never cared much about my appearance – hence, clothes, shoes and make-up were out of question anyway. So, by elimination of choices, along with a frequent urge to escape Delhi (NCR) left me with travel. The wish list just got bigger with time.
- As a traveler, what benefits have you seen by using Trodly?
The list of destination-wise ‘Bookable tours’. It saves a lot of ‘Google search’ time.
Thanks for taking out time to chat, Swati. If you’d like to follow her adventures, visit www.lostinmaps.com for more or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Swati a bit better! If you want to be a part of the Trodly Inspiring Traveler Interview Series, you can always write us an editor @ trodly.com.