Meet the Indian (budget) Traveller girl

For travelling in India is a different ball-game altogether.

Wanderlust poster courtesy Doodle Paradise

Wanderlust poster courtesy Doodle Paradise

She’s one who would not spend hours poring over issues of Conde Nast traveller magazines because those destinations are not yet on her bucket list. She will not subscribe to issues of NatGeo Travel or be in awe of people who host shows on TLC and Fox Traveller because her heart doesn’t desire those luxurious trails; she’s a free spirit. Her most frequent shares won’t include “Countries where Indians don’t require a visa” or “The 10 most gorgeous hotels in the world you must visit before you die.” Her Instagram account won’t be replete with pictures of her in designer clothes at exotic beaches in heard and unheard of lands in other continents; she doesn’t have a camera phone powerful enough, nor does she have the resources to buy that dress you saw at that spring summer collection. Every penny saved is a penny spent on travel.

She’s resourceful, she values time and she knows time management. She knows how important it is to give up on sleep or set an alarm for 0800 hrs to get that ticket on the IRCTC website for a journey she will be undertaking two months later. She’s got her negotiation skills right and she knows people management- the road has taught her that. She knows the importance of websites like TripAdvisor and the importance of tracking every travel story that shows up on her newsfeed because she won’t hesitate to ask them for suggestions when she’s visiting that land. She knows the importance of planning before hand for places she’d like people she knows to accompany her. But if she doesn’t find company that won’t deter her. She might book a ticket on impulse and decide to go!

She is well versed with jugaad. She’s got her travel hacks right. She knows investing in a tablet for those solitary journeys makes sense. She romances paperbacks but she knows the importance of luggage space on the go. She knows those 24 hour train journeys can get arduous and that loading those movies, playlists and ebooks can come as a relief.

She’s a people’s person and she’ll make friends wherever she goes but she knows how to judge people and she won’t give out all information about herself especially when she’s travelling solo. She knows traveling is about breaking free and letting go but she knows there are people waiting for her back home; her friends and her family. She will stay connected. She will not run away from technology but embrace it. Whether it is Google Maps to track that taxi ride in that alien city, Zomato for places where she can eat according to the budget she has, TripAdvisor for honest reviews of hotels where she will put up and Whatsapp to tell her family that she is safe.

She’ll travel the length and breadth of the country. She isn’t afraid of the harsh sun that might scorch her skin in the dunes of Rajasthan, the frigid waters that she will experience when she jumps into the Zanskar river in Ladakh or the unforgiving rains of Goa in June. For her, it is the experience that matters, not the crowds, not the season. She’ll always have stories to share. She’ll always have experiences to narrate. She’ll tell you about the time she stumbled upon that artisan’s village at Raghurajpur in Odisha, or when she was woken up at 7 am by Baul singers while travelling in the second class train compartment, or when she was walking down the streets of Pondicherry and came across a cafe which serves hot chocolate with a spoon made of solid chocolate. She’ll always have a story about how she nearly missed a train or how an unkind low cost airline cancelled her flight last minute leading her to discover another adventure.

She has a conventional career that fuels her passion but she isn’t afraid to let go of that if it restricts her wanderlust. Her life is uncertain, her life is interesting, she may plan a day out at the new cafe in town with you next weekend but she may cancel that owing to her sudden urge to explore that trek she read about. Accept her for who she is, she’ll be your best friend, she’ll enrich your life.

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