Baagi Udaan

क्योंकि, बादल और काजल ज़रूरी हैं!

 

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Picture credit – Nikhil Sidana

 

As part of a community every now and then you get a chance to meet new people. You get to read about their perspective and then one fine day you get a chance to talk to them.

Surprisingly enough, witnessing people share their experience is similar to unfolding pages of a book you are reading.

So here I am; unfolding my first dialogue with a solo traveler –Shraddha Singh Bhati.

How was your childhood?

I was a studious kid with no hobbies and practically no friends. Although my family is pretty liberal but the mere concept of doing things all alone was alien to me.

I would like to mention here that the part “no hobby” changed in June 2016 when I wrote my first poem. Unaware, that I was capable of writing, travelling introduced me to it.

Tell us about your first trip?

It was back in January of 2016, before that I traveled sparingly. I would always adjust to canceled plans, till the time I realized that I am not dependent on others, for my plans to work out.

Basically, I learned to fulfill my wishes when I wanted to and not when it suited the interests of my friends/family.

What was in your backpack during your first trip?

Oh, lots of “essential“ stuff that I thought I couldn’t do without. A safety net of things that made me feel prepared for my “what if” fears. I no more pack that way!

Do you follow the guide-book or make your own route?

Own route.

Guide books are good, I am thankful to Tripoto and Instagram for giving me destinations. But over the time I realized traveling is not fulfilling a checklist. Memories are made when you are not searching for something which others find beautiful or worth seeing.

Since a long time I only find out how to reach a place, rest everything works out on its own.

You are a mountain girl, what fascinates you about them?

They make you humble. They teach you to have perseverance and belief. To keep faith and not give up, no matter what happens. Everything is unpredictable in mountains and that’s how life is. You learn to be on your own and not feel scared.

How travelling changed your life?

Countless changes to say the least.

I became grateful of everything. What more to ask when I have got two meals a day, roof over my head and a healthy body.

My perception towards life changed. I became a believer, observing that nature finds a way on its own. I learned that no matter what happens you have to keep moving and not give up, ever.

I now open up to new ideas and people without being prejudiced. I try to win over my fears, one small step at a time.

Life in remote places is very challenging. Do you feel the culture of travelling is helping the people, or we are creating more pressure on the nature? How do you repay what nature has given to you through these trips? 

We, as human beings, have to respect nature. We can’t make people act responsibly but we can make them aware of their responsibilities.

Mountains or plains, cities or uninhabited places, we, being the drifted souls, have lost contact from our roots and have forgotten the value of life. All of us have to do our part before it’s too late.

Watch the documentary “Before the flood“ which is based on climate change. Find out how are you willing to repay nature, I am yet to find out my way.

Did you go through any physical training for your journey?

No I didn’t. Basically your body starts adapting on its own when you travel.

Of-course this changes if we are talking of treks or extreme weather conditions, for that you have to work on your fitness. That being said I reiterate, everything works out.

How do you spend time during travel? Reading, music or writing?

I mix and match. Most of all, I like sitting quietly and listen to people share their stories.

You have traveled from mountains to desert, how you take the diversity the nature shows?

Overwhelming is a weak term to explain what I feel. I personally find everything to be equally beautiful. Such rich culture, traditions and different lifestyles that you remain awe-struck for most part of it and smile like how a child would have.

Can u share some experience from your trip?

Every trip for me is memorable and I have a unique experience from them. I took 12 trips in 2016 and out of those 10 were with people I barely knew.

I got to see things from the perspective of people who had nothing in common with me other than love for the destination we were heading to.

From bankers to mountaineers, from businessmen to NGO workers, from artists to teachers, everyone. I can fill journals with stories of people who I have met.

Are u vegetarian or non-vegetarian? And the best cuisine you have tasted so far?

I personally have no such loyalties.

Umm… best cuisine, none as such, but I do love all sorts of street food.

Any particular mate you would like to mention, and say some word through this interview.

It’s too difficult to pick a favorite but I think I would like to mention two people.

A girl who is evolving every day and it makes me happy to see her grow. Gem of a person and a true inspiration. She is actually the one who you should go and interview! Second, a man who is exact opposite of me but my best travel partner and closest friend. He is my most treasured, cherished memory. The man who keeps motivating me to be a better version of myself.

These two people are love for me, piece and peace of my heart.

PS – It’s “Mount Everest” that this girl has climbed and not EBC (Everest base camp)

What is next on your bucket list?

No bucket list. I want to see how a place looks like in every season and I want to see all places this way.

In the current scenario of questions regarding women safety, you as a solo traveler, what is your take on it?

Solo or not solo, you have to be aware of your surroundings. Small things can make or break your experience. I personally find the following point to be sufficient –

  • Try not to arrive late night or after dawn to your destination. If its unavoidable, decide according to the situation. (This is of great value if you are travelling out of India)
  • Be conscious but don’t hesitate to talk to people.When alone we tend to be more intuitive. Be safe and by all means open up to people. It’s about the balance.

I personally never had a bad experience. So I can vouch for it that it’s not a big bad world out there, just don’t forsake the common sense.

Traveling puts your faith back into people. You will learn that at the core we all are good-natured and helpful.

You can read more on this in my blog post here.

Now after travelling a lot what was in your last backpack?

Excluding the obvious, I have a Polaroid, an iPod, a diary in case I write, a rain jacket (must have), my water bottle (to avoid bottled water) and lastly, I am slightly shy to admit but my Kajal pencil, I never let go of it!

I no more keep what I would not need, the safety net of essentials is gone.

Any message for the readers?

I think I would quote one of my favorite write-up –

“To the short-sighted, through the fog, God must be a monster”

31 years 4 months 29 days 8 hours and 5 minutes.

The total time I have spent on this beautiful earth.

And if I die now, like right now, then trust me, if I say so that I have no regrets. The amount of happiness I have seen has left no place for regrets.

I smile more than ever, I love more than ever, more than ever I try to tell people how beautiful life can be .

As someone who never stepped out of house or took a vacation, I can assure you that I have more to tell you than most of the people.

It’s yours to see that how blessed we are as humans and why we should do what brings happiness to us.

These precious tiny moments of happiness is what makes us who we are, they are the reason we are here. All you have to do is wait for fog around you to clear up. To take that leap of faith and not give up.

Can I  go now?

Yes you are all free.

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Picture credit – Ashish punj

Check her instagram page

Check her travel blog

 

Note:

Picture credit for the featured image – raosaaab

&

Proof reading credits – Atul Saini

 

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