Amrita Das is a freelance travel writer and a blogger. She quit her job in 2014 for her passion to travel. She has been to 20 states in India and has explored Nepal, Paris, Switzerland, Italy, Singapore...
Thanks Amrita for taking the time to speak with World of Gypsies.
When and how did you become a traveler?
It has been a gradual and continuous process. I have always been travelling, however, it was my first solo trip in 2013 which changed the course of my life. It was also the time when I decided to take this up full-time and in less than 6 months I quit my corporate job to become a full-time traveller. By April 2014, I moved to Goa with a seasonal job and have been location independently working since then.
Your first trip?
I can't really recall my first travel. I have always been travelling with family through my childhood years, with friends through college and work. There was always a need to travel. Most significantly, I think it has been my need to see the world and hear people's stories that has driven me to travel. Curiosity has always been a guide.
Tell us about your memorable moments...
Plenty of them! Experiencing snow in Shimla, witnessing the beautiful dry highlands of Spiti, walking on the cobbled paths of Florence, listening to Pat Metheny live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, seeing a seahorse and an octopus change colour underwater while diving, dancing at 57th floor on a rooftop club in Singapore, staring at the Kanchenjunga at sunrise while completing a 100-km Sandakphu trek and the moonlight reflecting on the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas on a full moon night from Binsar in Uttarakhand.
Your favorite place in India? why?
Himachal Pradesh. The state has the warmest people and the most spectacular landscapes. It has the capability of changing life and can make me feel truly liberated. There is some magic in the Himalayan sun!
Any place in India which you won't like to visit again? why?
I've always thought life is too short to visit any place twice (except Himachal Pradesh) so I try and explore as many destinations as I can. I believe all places have charm and character in their own way and as a traveller, I forbid myself of having preconceived notions.
Did you feel safe on Indian roads?
Yes, absolutely. As a solo traveler, there have been very few times that I have felt unsafe. Of course I have a certain set of practices I follow but overall, I encourage more women to come out and travel by themselves.
What steps do you take to make sure you stay safe while on the road?
Thankfully it isn't too tedious to be a solo traveler. It is important to be self-aware and trust your instinct. I also keep a Swiss Army knife to feel safe. I don't wander alone at late hours, unless I have soaked in the vibe of the place well enough. Someone is always informed of my complete travel itinerary and (since I travel to offbeat places, I tend to lose phone connectivity) I stay connected when possible. These few things are good to keep me covered no matter where I go.
How many countries you have visited? which was your favorite country, place? why
6 countries and India is my favorite. We are blessed with the best the world has to offer. There is such diversity of cultures and vibrant places to see in our country that I'm afraid one lifetime is too short to explore all.
The thing you have learned about yourself while travelling solo...
That everything is possible. We just have to believe.
Any plan about your next tour...
Currently being baked! :)
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On Twitter - @Amrita_Dass