Revati and Charles
are from Mumbai and they both are into advertising. They are travelers at heart. They believe in travelling close to the ground, not signing up for travel tours, living like locals as far as possible, making detailed plans , diving into research, living it up, living it down when need be, finding rarely visited secrets, experimenting with food, learning a little of the local cuisine and travelling slow. Here’s what they have to say in the Travel Blogger Interview I did –
Which country do you come from/call home keeping in mind you are #travel bloggers?
When we aren’t travelling, we live in Mumbai, India.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/luxury blogger?
Different Doors is a travel blog that focuses on luxury, international, experiential and culinary travel, while also covering some destinations that we choose to visit in India.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
As mentioned previously, both of us have careers in advertising. It gives us the freedom to travel a little nicer, allowing us to afford several once in a lifetime experiences on every trip. We love that we could afford the best seats in the house to watch the Opera Y Flamenco in Europe, or the tasting menus at Tickets in Barcelona and Reflets in Dubai for example.
How did travelling and writing come to you? Do you remember the moment you realized you were hooked on travel?
Professionally, we’re writers, it’s something we’ve been doing for years and we’re passionate about photography as well. We had both developed a keen interest in travel over our international trips through the years. However it was our honeymoon to Mauritius that made us fall in love with travelling. And then on our first trip to Europe, Paris inspired us to share our beautiful experiences with the world. That’s when Different Doors was born.
Have you had any bad experiences while travelling? Do you travel solo or in a group?
Just the other day someone asked us the same question while we were camping in the desert outside of Dubai. Our answer to him – none. As a travelling couple, we’ve been really lucky to have met the nicest of people, who have always shown us a good time and ended up being wonderful friends for life. The worst experience would be if this didn’t happen.
Do you have any funny travel stories? Share an instance with us.
We were at this luxurious homestay in the Barossa Valley in Australia. The next day, we were to drive down to Adelaide to catch our flight to Sydney. Our new friends offered to give us a lift there as an alternative to driving. We agreed. Little did we know the alternative would take us off the road and into the skies. The next morning we woke up to the sound of his helicopter landing on the private helipad outside our room. Still groggy, he bundled us into the chopper and took us for a wonderful sunrise flight over the clouds, hot air balloons and vineyards of the Barossa before flying us right to the airport in Adelaide. I was scared speechless while Charles sat with the door jigged open so he could get some photographs. Looking back, our contrast in reaction to this surprise was pretty funny.
During your travel, you definitely must have received tips… What is the best travel tip you’ve ever received?
Always pick up a few key phrases in the local language before you travel. Saying little things like hello and thank you can go a long way in making your experience a little bit nicer. I (Revati) speak French, so naturally I had a great time talking to the locals in Paris, but Charles learnt a few key phrases and has had such an enjoyable experience on his various trips there. I also enjoyed shocking the pants off a bartender in Barcelona when I ordered a drink in fluent Catalan.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I wouldn’t call it a terrible place, but of the destinations we’ve been to, Kuala Lumpur was rather uninspiring and we decided to bite the bullet and just take it for what it was- a nice luxurious holiday to catch up on some shopping and eating.
Being travel bloggers, you must have a bucket list! Where is your favourite place in the world? Share both with us.
Africa is certainly on our bucket list. Charles keeps joking about buying a one- way ticket there. He’s got this romantic notion about returning to the cradle of humanity. I (Revati) am afraid this might actually happen, so I’m trying to postpone it until I’ve had my fill of Europe. It’s tough for us to agree on our favourite place. I (Revati) have a torridly passionate obsession for Paris and am constantly trying to sneak in stop- overs there each time we travel to Europe. Charles, on the other hand, fell in love with the vibrant spirit of Barcelona. The one place we both agree would make a great city to live in is Melbourne. But that probably has a lot to do with the amazing friends who showed us a great time there.
Can you imagine life without travel? If not travel, what you would have done.
On our first holiday from travel blogging last year in the Philippines we realised, even if we weren’t travel bloggers, we couldn’t imagine our lives without travel. It’s an integral part of who we are as people. But if we didn’t have travel, we’d still have each other and our advertising careers, which is still pretty awesome.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
One post that went pretty viral was “Don’t Quit Your Job, and Travel.” As full time professionals who balance careers in advertising as well as travel blogging, we know it’s absolute possible to see the world without quitting your job. We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with quitting your job to travel, but we wanted to balance the articles out there glamourizing it, without paying much heed to the sacrifices it entails and consequences it bears. It may not be for everyone. And given the responses we received from the world at large, we discovered that what we suspected was true. A majority of the people out there have a deep passion or interest in travel, but don’t want to or can’t give up their jobs. We said they shouldn’t have to. They nodded in agreement when we said that having a job in fact, often allows you to afford better and more experiences. The best things in life might be free, but getting to them costs a pretty penny. This story was also featured on Lonely Planet.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Charles’ poured his heart out in his Letter to the People of the Barossa while I poured mine into The Thing About Paris. For us, travel is about the experiences that have a lasting effect on you, and we enjoy writing about those the most.
Do you have an inspiration for travelling or writing?
If you don’t read, you can’t write. I once read this somewhere, and have believed in it ever since. From the beginning we’ve read writers, like Hemingway for example, who dig deep below the surface and get to places the eye doesn’t naturally see at first glance. Doing this also got us hooked on developing romantic notions of what travel was like at the turn of the last century. We also enjoy picking titles that are relevant to our itinerary. While exploring Turkey, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul was a revelatory read. We’ve also got shelves full of Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson while more recently we’ve developed a bit of a travel crush on the likes of Gary Arndt, GranTourismo, Ken Kaminesky etc.
What is your favorite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Given that we travel around holidays and on work, flights are the most convenient way to get there quick and spend more time discovering the destination. On longer trips, like our recent drive through Australia’s Great Ocean Road, we fell in love with road tripping too! There’s a beautiful sense of freedom in being able to step whenever something catches your fancy.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring traveller?
We strongly advocate Independent Travel. Even though we enjoy doing it with a bit of luxury, with all the resources available to travellers today it’s just so easy to tailor a trip that works for you basis your travel style, goals and wishlist. It’s so easy to get under the surface of a destination and its culture, and people eventually, are the same everywhere. All it takes is a friendly smile.
What has travel taught you? What is your travel Motto?
We don’t have a problem with being tourists. There’s a reason those sights and monuments got famous, and we certainly want to see them in person. However, we don’t want our travel experiences to be limited to those, so we enjoy opening different doors when we travel. We try and find the time to discover something that isn’t so obvious on every trip, whether it’s an interesting aspect like the not so famous works of art we admired in the Louvre, or letting a local take us to an unlikely meal, or walking the entire breadth of a city at midnight, or taking that extra bus/ train into the tiny vineyards outside the little Tuscan town of Montepulciano (which we’ll be doing in April).