Straight from Chandigarh, Anuradha Goyal shares her relationship with travel in our On the Road Interview Series
- Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started to travel. Do you remember your 1st travel experience? Why are you (if that’s so…) passionate about travelling?
I was introduced to traveling very early in life as my father’s job took us to a new city, a new region every 3 years and we used to use those 3 years to explore the area and show it to our visitors. Once you are used to traveling, it becomes a way of life and your feet itch when you do not travel for some time. For me learning is essential and it primarily comes from two things – traveling and books. So I keep exploring the world through them. Traveling is seeing the world first hand, and reading is seeing it through others eyes specially when writers live in different time and space.
- Now that we know where do you come from… could you tell us where are you heading to? Which are your plans for the future in terms of travelling?
I do not think I do planned travel, I just go with the flow. Sometimes destiny plays it role and takes me to new places and sometimes I read about some destinations and there is this urge to go and see them first hand and that is the beginning of the process. I have been writing about my travels since 2004, and that has added many dimensions to my travel, as my readers come back and tell me about places that would be difficult to find out otherwise. It is a humbling feeling when you know people follow your travels and go to destinations that you connected well with. So I think as of now I would continue with the same – travel and share my travel stories and let the future evolve and present itself. One thing that I have been trying to do is introduce cities to their own citizens, especially recent migrants. Old cities across the world have so many layers to them that they can be explored for a lifetime.
- What do you think of travelling with a purpose or meaning in mind? What do you look for when travelling long-term?
I have not done any specific on purpose travel, but I do want to meet people and talk to them, tell them about my world and hear from them about their world. In long-term travel I think now I look for basic comforts, I am done with my backpacking days. Now I look for deeper stories, cultural roots through exploration of evolution of arts, hidden connections and finding similarities across the human race in the midst of natural diversity.
- How do you fund your travels? Have you found a job or income source that allows you to be on the road fulltime? Tell us what you do for a living.
I have an alternate career as an Innovation consultant and I was employed till 2007, so put together they fund the travels. Nope, I have not yet found the income source that allows me to be on the road, but you never know, it may be just around the corner.
- Did your job, studies, volunteering experiences or other projects help you to travel the world? Where have you been thanks to those? If so, tell us a bit about those experiences.
Yes, My job took me to many new places within the country and across the world and it helped me connect to those places. I lived in USA and UK for some time and I loved the later, especially London. Since these were work assignments, I got to learn the formal work cultures of these places. I have not volunteered, and I am not sure if I want to do that. I am open to doing short-term projects in new places that allow me to share my experience both as a professional and as a traveler. A project that allows open cultural exchange would be a great beginning.
- What would you recommend to someone who wants to follow your steps? Which kind of training or studies is necessary? Would an investment be needed in the first place? Please, give 3 pieces of advice (you wish to have known before starting) of what to do and what to avoid in order to succeed.
Do it only if you love doing it, or there is nothing else that excites you as much. Do it if you will still do it, even if no one reads you, no one pays you.
Be clear if you are doing this for yourself or money, the way you will operate, things that with make you happy or disappoint you will be different.
Have a financial backup for at least two years, by that time you will figure out if you really want to do this.
Focus on quality of your work, you may be left behind by quality in the beginning but eventually people choose quality over quantity.
- What does a perfect day in your life looks like? Do you follow any particular routine?
I have two sets of routine, one when I am travelling and another when I am at home.
On travels, I want to be 100% in the place I am in, that is why solo travel is my favorite way to travel. I do not like to carry too many gadgets with me except my camera and a basic phone. End of the day if possible I write notes to record my thoughts an emotions, and sometimes I end up writing some poetry too if the place stirred some emotion in me.
When I am at home, I toggle between reading and writing for most of the day, in between the daily chores.
- Where do you come from originally and where you call home now? Can you give us some local tips we cannot find in a guidebook but you highly recommend about your hometown?
I come from Chandigarh, a relatively new city in North India. At the moment Hyderabad in South India is home to me. Hyderabad is an extremely laid-back city and early morning here means after 10:00 AM. It is a city that loves to eat and has many local delicacies; you must try them out when you are here. It was home to diamond mines and is a hub of pearl trade, so keep shopping also on the cards.
- Do you read, write, draw, listen to music, sing, watch movies or do something else while travelling? How do you interact with technology these days and which gadgets you definitely take with you everywhere? What is your favorite book? And movie
I try to absorb the place as much as possible, my favorite time is when I hear the stories from people. I try to read about the place before I travel but then sometimes I do not read at all and leave it all for the place to give me as experience.
Technology is an integral part of our lives now, you cannot really dissociate yourself with it, but I try to minimize their use when I am travelling. I do carry my DLSR, a small camera and my mobile phone with me to capture pictures and videos but if possible I would like to travel with my hands free. I have written 300+ book reviews till date ad have read many more, but the Indian epic Mahabharata remains my all time favorite. It is a story that has innumerable sub-stories inbuilt in it, it has history, it has philosophy and it has ancient Indian geography. I have never seen a more complete story than this one. I like light entertaining movies. Movies with road trips are interesting too.
- Do you keep a bucket list? Which are your (craziest) dreams? Where are your favorite destinations on earth? (feel free to add any other information you would like to share with our readers here)
I have a bottomless bucket list, destinations keep getting added to it as I read more and hear stories from fellow travelers. I like London for the cultural diversity and the sheer number of options it has both for its residents and visitors. I like Arunachal Pradesh in North East India for the sheer nature it has in its folds. I recently did a trip on a luxury train and would like to explore more such trains across the world.