The travel and tourism sector has blown up over the last decade. People are now considering travel blogging as a full-time job. Travel bloggers get to enjoy sightseeing, savour delicious outlandish food, and a fat paycheck. Success of travel presenters like Anthony Bourdain (may his soul rest in peace) pushed people to experiment with travelling.
We decided to take a peek into the mind of a traveler to know what it’s like to be one. For the interview, we invited Alok Bhartia, the renowned travel blogger from Bangalore.
Q: What was your most favorite trip as a child?
Alok Bhartia: I think it has to be when my parents took me to Bodh Gaya. It was crowded at the time, but I felt peace somehow looking at the Bodh Gaya Temple and the environment around. I had read about The Buddha and his quest for the truth, which affected me deeply. Maybe it seeded my desire to know myself.
Interviewer: That’s quite interesting, most of the children grow bored of such trips unless there is a fair or a park involved...
Alok Bhartia: To be honest, I was homesick and wanted to be back at my abode, watching cartoons and eating murhi bhaja. My dad convinced me there was good food on the way and he cleverly got me there *laughs*. But in the end I realized that going out is a good thing.
Q: So, in a way it was your family who pushed you into a profession they don’t really approve of?
Alok Bhartia: *laughs* Yeah, My father just wanted me to be an extrovert, and they surely made me into one.
Interviewer: So what makes a traveler?
Alok Bhartia: Nothing specific. It’s just a calling that comes from the inside for a lot of people, including me. But yes, it’s true that you don’t wake up one day and say, “Oh, I want to be a travel blogger”. It takes time for people to come out of their comfort zone.
Q: Do you remember the number of trips you have taken?
Alok Bhartia: Definitely in the hundreds. I’ve been to so many places but it still feels like I’ve barely walked a kilometer. When you think about the journey instead of the destination, you tend to forget about your aching knees and tired soles.
Q: I am sure music helps too.
Alok Bhartia: Oh yes, definitely, a phone or mp3 player with your favorite songs is a must have when you’re walking endless roads. In fact, it enhances the entire experience. I tend to listen to this Norwegian folk band called ‘Wardruna’ when I trek hills and mountains. Once I walked a Scottish meadow during a storm with Bathory’s ‘Valhalla’ playing in my headphones. I felt so ecstatic as if I was a Viking going on a mission.
Q: I guess Scotland is your favorite destination.
Alok Bhartia: Not really.
Q: Then what’s your favorite destination?
Alok Bhartia: It’s hard to pinpoint because all the countries around the world have so much to offer.
Q: Think hard, choose one!
Alok Bhartia: Hmmm… Norway I guess. There are so many panoramic things to see in that country. When you’re standing on a high ledge in the night, the entire scenery is lit by the northern lights, the moon, and the galaxy. It’s breathtaking and touches your soul.
Q: How’s the food in Norway?
Alok Bhartia: Something I would not recommend if you can’t live without spicy and flavorsome food. Moreover, Norway is not really a vegetarian-friendly place.
Q: Then which cuisine do you go gaga over?
Alok Bhartia: It’s the holy trinity of Italian, French, and Chinese cuisines. I love Pizza. Period.
Q: No love for Indian food?
Alok Bhartia: Bachpan se khaya hai (I’ve had it since I was a child). I like to try new things.
Q: How do you lose all the weight from the cheese-rich French and Italian foods?
Alok Bhartia: *Chuckles* you’re forgetting that I am a traveler.
Q: Oh yes of course! So how do you prepare for a trip?
Alok Bhartia: Like anyone else, but yes there are some special tips and tricks that I keep in mind. You can read them in my blog. Most important of all, keep yourself hydrated at all times. You can read more of the tips and trick on my blog.
Q: Before we wrap it up, is there anything specific you’d like to advise the aspiring voyagers?
Alok Bhartia: Like I told you before, cherish the journey more than the destination. When you’ll reach the end, you will feel happier. Try to manage the whole trip on a few hundred bucks if you can. That’s it.
Q: Thank you for your time Alok, it was pleasure having you here.
Alok Bhartia: The pleasure’s mine.