started Travelmax as a blog to write his travel stories. He also compiles travel tips and loves to help people in planning a trip! Here’s what he has to say –
Which country do you come from/call home keeping in mind you are #travel blogger ?
I am an Indian and currently reside in the city of gardens, Bangalore.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveler/business traveler/luxury blogger?
I am an explorer. I would rather explore a jungle trail than visit a famous tourist spot. Whenever I plan to travel, I decide a destination and not the attractions. After reaching the destination, I talk to locals and find out which place is the best to explore. Also, I am a big foodie. Hence, I seek best local cuisine at every destination. Be it Bangkok or Jaipur. I have always preferred local cuisine over mainstream food.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
In order to fund my travels, I solely depend on my savings. If I am going for a long trip, I participate in volunteering. Hence, I do not get paid during my trips. However, my company allows me to take leaves at regular intervals. So, it is possible for me to save money and plan for trips frequently.
How do you think travelling and writing came to you? Do you remember the moment you realized you were hooked on travel?
I have travelled extensively with my family from childhood. I vaguely remember visiting Taj Mahal in Agra and how my eyes glittered while admiring the monument. As I grew up, my love for travel kept on increasing. During my college years, I started writing down short experiences from my travels. I realized that by writing travel experiences, I was making these memories unforgettable! It took me 3 days to set up a blog after this realization. I have been writing regularly now, painting my best memories on the canvas of my blog. Moreover, I love to help people in planning trips and it gives me immense satisfaction if they find my posts helpful.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Bad experiences make a journey memorable. You learn a whole new aspect of traveling, become cautious and get ready to face such situations in future.
I recall one bad experience which forced me to shorten my trip. I had planned to go to Nepal with my family. Before entering Nepal, we had planned a short stay in Ayodhya. It was peak season and hence, we stayed in a budget lodge as there were hardly any rooms available in hotels.
We checked in the lodge on reaching Ayodhya and slept in sometime as it was already late. The next morning, we woke up early to take a bath in holy waters of Saryu river in Ayodhya. We had left some of the valuable items back in our room. When we returned, it was time for us to check out. We checked out and started the further leg of the trip.
When we reached Nepal, we searched for cash to pay the hotel in Kathmandu as advance. To our surprise, we were not able to find any! We figured that we had been robbed in Ayodhya! To our utter disappointment, we had to shorten the Nepal trip by 5 days due to lack of cash. The thieves had stolen our cards as well.
While returning, we reached Ayodhya and talked to the manager of the lodge. But, as expected, he did not help at all! Dismayed, we left Ayodhya and resume our return journey. I still don’t believe that we were robbed in Ayodhya which is considered to be a sacred place! Till date, this incident is the worst experience across my travels.
Do you travel solo or group ?
I have tried travelling solo a couple of times. I like the idea of being independent and going wherever I want to. But, normally, I prefer travelling in groups. I like to share a beautiful moment or experience with friends or family. However, I don’t mind traveling with similar minded people as well.
Do you have any funny travel stories? Share an instance with us.
So, I was in Chikmagalur and spending a wonderful weekend with friends. The homestay that we were staying in was nestled amidst a vast coffee plantation and in nature’s lap! The homestay property was spread over a sprawling area and to protect the estate, the owner had kept 6 dogs. 4 of them were very quiet. However, the other 2 dogs were fierce and trained for assaulting strangers. They were left loose in night and tied again in the morning. We were instructed to remain in our guest property until these dogs were tied in the morning. However, a friend forgot these instructions and was chased by these dogs for approximately 1 km when he decided to go for a morning walk! For the rest of the trip, he was terrified and won’t even look at the dogs, while we kept laughing on him. Even today I can’t help but laugh when I remember his terrified face, drenched in perspiration.
During your travel, you definitely must have received tips… What is the best travel tip you’ve ever received?
I was in Bumthang, Bhutan. Before reaching this place, I had read about things to do in Bumthang. Accordingly, I had planned my 2 days. But, I always talk to the locals and try to figure out if there are any hidden attractions. So, one local guy in Bumthang recommended a visit to a monastery which was no-where mentioned in the guides which I had previously referred.
I decided to consider his recommendation and visit the monastery, along with my friends. I reached the monastery early morning and interacted with the monks. I attended their morning prayers and was in awe of the surroundings! I guess I experienced divine spirituality for the first time in my life here. I was enchanted by the peace and tranquillity that surrounded this monastery in Bumthang. The recommendation to visit this monastery was certainly one of the best travel tips I have got till date!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
For me, no place is bad. Every place has some story or culture associated and that what I like to know about. However, if I have to name one, I would say that Patong beach in Phuket did not meet my expectations. The beach was filthy and was not maintained at all. But, while in Phuket, we enjoyed other stuff like island trips and nightlife. Hence, the Phuket trip eventually turned out to be a good one.
Being travel blogger, you must have had a bucket list! Where is your favourite place in the world? Share with us both.
Oh I really want to go to Norway. There are many other global destinations that I wish I could cover. But, Norway tops the list. I would really like to try cliff jumping & glacier trekking in Norway. Also, the nature’s beauty is just breathtaking there.
Can you imagine life without travel? If not travel, what you would have done.
I can’t even imagine life without travel. If not traveling, I would have been staying in some hidden village in Europe, learning music under the shadow of magnanimous snow clad mountains.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My Bhutan blog posts have been most successful. But, if you ask me in particular, I would say my most successful blog post till date is “Best way to reach Bhutan, the happiest country!” There are many travelers who wish to go to Bhutan. But, the information available on the internet is not as exhaustive as say for Thailand. Hence, people end up on my blog because I have been able to provide crisp tips to reach Bhutan from any corner of India. The other popular blog post is my take on Bhutan nightlife, “Reason to not visit Bhutan nightclubs”. It’s based on my experience in Phuntsholing, Bhutan, when we were trying to find a club but instead discovered shady & creepy bars.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I completed my post-graduation in Goa. The memories have carved a special place in my heart for Goa. So, my favorite article to write till date was “Places to visit in Goa – A 4 day itinerary”. I have poured my heart in this article and suggested places to stay, places to eat, attractions and much more in Goa which I have personally experienced. This blog post also saw a good response from my readers.
Do you have an inspiration for travelling or writing?
Well, any travel blogger who is able to cover more than 10 destinations in a year is an inspiration to me. Anybody who writes about his travel experiences is an inspiration for me. Reading travel stories written by travellers really motivates me!
What is your favorite mode of transport? (Plane/train/boat/car)
Oh I love trains!! I still remember the 40 hours spent in train while we were traveling from Goa to Kolkata in order to further proceed for Bhutan. I just love the way landscapes change. The food varieties also keep changing at every station. I normally strike up a conversation with the strangers sitting with me. Believe me, I have found very interesting people in trains only because they belong to a different culture and profession. I have always been fascinated towards various cultures. I love to talk to strangers from different backgrounds and trains have never disappointed me.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travelers?
My only advice is don’t be skeptical to explore unknown terrains. Nature is very generous. If you venture in the wilderness, you will not return dissatisfied. There are a lot of surprises up the Nature’s sleeves. Don’t always follow travel guides and fixed itineraries. Sometimes, follow your heart too!
What has travel taught you? What is your travel Motto?
Travel has taught me to respect every culture and everybody who is different from me. Travel has taught me to measure life in experiences and not years. Seeking unique and amazing experiences has always been my travel motto!
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