What it is like to travel for a living

Who wouldn’t want the dream job of a travel blogger? However, what does it really entail when travel blogging becomes work. We spoke to 4 eminent travel bloggers to get their take on the subject.

 

Siddhartha Joshi (SJ)– Sid started the blog simply to share his stories with the world. He is a firm believer of the concept of ‘World Without Borders’. He blogs at The Wanderer.
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Prachi Joshi (PJ)– Prachi is a Mumbai based travel & food writer. She blogs at Deliciously Directionless.
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Mukul Bhatia (MB)– Mukul is an internationally published travel journalist whose photographs lie between documentary and fine art.
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Mridula Dwivedi (MD) – Mridula quit her job as a professor in May 2015. She blogs at Travel Tales from India & Abroad.
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1. ​How and when did the epiphany (that you would like to take up travel blogging) strike?
MD – I am not sure when I decided to quit my job, it was brewing for about two years but I was never sure I would go ahead and quit. After a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur for which I worked really hard, it was not easy to let go of academics.
SJ-  For me, the epiphany struck around 5-6 years back when I was home in Almora. I love story-telling and I love traveling. I felt that blogging was the best way I could engage with a larger community.
PJ- I was already on a short sabbatical from the corporate world when I started blogging in June 2012. I had always wanted to write, but I had never really taken the plunge. So, one bored Sunday morning nearly four years ago I started my blog, basically to test the waters, to see if people actually read what I write. My aim was to write professionally and my blog became a stepping stone towards assignments from magazine and newspapers.
MB- I don’t think it was an epiphany at all. It was a gradual understanding of life that got me to think about life priorities at a very young age. I started working at 17, and did various jobs– as art director, copywriter, and journalist, and the very idea of spending 8 hours a day like a passionless robot for the rest of my limited life, was sorrowful. I wanted to do something I believed in and thus photography and travel happened.
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Mukul taking in the spectacular landscape of Bandhavgarh
2. ​What were the biggest challenges that you faced when you first started off?​
PJ- Initially, it was to convince editors to give me a chance at writing especially considering I had no journalism background or a portfolio to showcase. Having said that, I have been incredibly lucky with some of my editors who did take a chance on me, gave me a lot of constructive feedback, and helped me hone my writing style. It’s by no means perfect, but it has come a long way thanks to some amazing people I have worked with.
MB- To be honest, there were many. To start with, I was going to do something that no one at that time was doing, and with an almost empty bank balance, and no godfathers in the industry was like hardcore test of emotions. My family was going through a very bad time as my father’s health was very unpredictable, my girlfriend then left me since she wasn’t sure I was going anywhere, I was spending 15 hours a day on my computer, and it was crazy. Travelling then, was a therapy to find ideas beyond the immediate, to create a better life for me, and thus after a lot of work, the universe suddenly became kind it all simply happened.
MD – As I blogged side by side with my work for 10 years. I learned a lot along the way. By the time I quit I knew what I was in for! So no real surprises for me!
SJ – I work full-time. I am an industrial designer by profession. I guess, for me, there were days when I would wake up at 5 am to do my writing or head back home from work and continue writing into the wee hours of the morning.
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Sid Joshi savouring the spirit of Mumbai
​3. ​What, according to you, is one of the most exciting moments in your journey so far (as a travel writer)?
MD – The most exciting moment would have to be when Jordan Tourism Board invited me to cover the Pope Francis’s visit to Jordan. I had a media access to his mass and it was a moving experience.
SJ – This would be the time I travelled to Ladakh on a whim. It was meant to be an impromptu weekend getaway. However, I bumped into a bunch of enthusiastic individuals off to the Chadar Trek. They encouraged me to join them and I did! It was a week of borrowing clothes/walking sticks and even someone’s phone to call work and let them know I would be gone an entire week. Truly an amazing week!
PJ-  Two of them come to my mind immediately – Jumping off a mountain and going paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland. And going on a ‘hawk walk’ in the woodlands of Ashford Castle in Ireland.
MB- I  heard disastrous stories of Paris from everyone who had been there. From being mugged to being ripped, and contrary to what I heard, I met the most incredible people and artists in that space, and had great wine, lots of conversations and made incredible work in the city. The last day of Paris I got totally lost in its lanes, and with“ Comptine d’un autre ete” playing on my iPod, I discovered the hidden village in Marais, and weirdly enough, it was just the Paris I had imagined to be as a child. It was an incredible feeling of realizing that I was doing what I had dreamt of, all the work paid well, and life’s surprising great.
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Prachi indulging in a spot of paragliding over Interlaken
4. ​What is the furthest that ​your writing has taken you?​
MD – Blogging has taken me places- South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Bhutan, Finland to name a few. I am going to sail at the launch of the biggest cruise ship in the world soon! I never imagined any of this when I started blogging in 2005.
SJ- That would be the town of Cardona in Spain.
PJ- As of now, Ireland. The country’s spectacular natural beauty is well-known but it really surprised me with the quality of its food.
MB- Loads of places! My clients are based all around the world, and believe in my work and me, my artworks have been exhibited and published in prominent international galleries and magazines. Its really a great feeling to love what you do, and be recognized for the same. The journey so far has been wild and crazy, but that’s exactly how I like it.
​5. ​What is the longest you have been on the road at one go?
MD – As I worked full-time and I have a small daughter long trips are not for me. The longest was about 12 days when I trekked up to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
SJ – I spent 3 weeks hitchhiking in Kashmir in 2005.
PJ- A month in Italy, travelling around the old favourites of Venice, Rome & Florence, and exploring Le Marche, Piedmont, and Sicily.
MB-  ORIGINS Global tour that began in March 2015, and is still on. I was awarded a grant by MATTER Prints Singapore for my first book that involved me to travel to shores of over 21 countries so far, to meet travellers with inspiring stories, live with them and document there stories. It started in March 2015 and has travelled over 60,000 Kms, with over 89 cities and 104 stories so far. Its been over an year, and am soon leaving for Japan, Nepal, Thailand and beyond for the same and very excited to launch next month.
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Mridula soaking in the beauty of Kerala
6. ​ When travel becomes work. What is it  ​really like?
MD – My income took a nosedive for sure. In India, blogging and social media is still evolving. Other than the fact that I am earning less, it has been fun. When I quit my job I thought I would go back to work after an year! I am extended my break by another year!
SJ – I feel that it allows me to see more of the world. I also end up exploring more deeply when I am chasing a story.
PJ- The plus side is that you actually do love your job! It has given me so many opportunities of exploring the world, meeting new people and becoming a part of a different culture for a short while. The downside is that you’re never on a holiday – you’re always looking for the next story or sharing something on social media or working on the road.
MB-  Rewarding! Considering the variety of countries I travel to, I always question sitting in that airplane, if I’d come back with a culturally shocking experience or the best works that I’ve ever made, you really never know what follows on the other side of the world, while your client has already invested in an outcome. It’s a bit scary, but everything great simply happens in the end.
​7.  ​A pro- tip for travellers
MD – Be in tune with the local culture, rest will fall in place!
SJ – Travel light. When you travel light you can make decisions on-the-go and take detours which makes the whole experience so much more fun!
PJ- Don’t plan more than 75% of your time in a place. Leave time for some aimless wandering and allow serendipity to do its work.
MB-  Go without a map, take long walks, get lost, get found, eat local food, trust more, and don’t forget to hydrate.
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PlushEscapes Editor

PlushEscapes Editor

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