Pallavi Nair left her job in March 2014 and moved out of New York City to follow her dream of travelling the world. She has explored South America, Asia and Europe. Read more about what she has to say about her journey...
How did you discover your passion of travelling?
I’ve always been curious about the world and have wanted to travel, but I first became passionate about it in 2011 when I went on my first solo trip to South America. I wanted to travel with friends, but at the time none of my friends were able to go with me. Instead of giving up on the idea, I decided to just go alone! It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Which was your first trip? What was your inspiration?
Although I had traveled before with my parents to India many times and also once on my own to visit family, my first solo trip to South America sparked my wanderlust and inspired me to continue traveling. The trip was a guided tour of Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Valparaiso. I loved that I was able to see new places, but I didn’t like the “guided” aspect of it. I knew that next time I wanted to travel solo on my own terms. I started reading travel blogs and found myself daydreaming at work about traveling to faraway places. Then I decided that instead of daydreaming about traveling, I should transform my dreams into reality and quit my job to explore the world.
Please share your memorable moments...
Everywhere I go, I try to seek out an experience that I’ll never forget rather than just exploring the tourist sights. Highlights include hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro, visiting an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand, hiking to the top of a volcano to watch the sunrise in Bali, soaring over Cappadocia, Turkey, in a hot air balloon, hitchhiking from Albania to Croatia, and sleeping in the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
Your favorite place in India? Why?
My favorite place in India is Darjeeling. It’s unlike any other place I’ve visited in India; it’s the coldest place I’ve ever been in India and it has such a nice mix of East Asian and Indian culture. I stayed with a Tibetan family in Darjeeling and was amazed by their kindness and generosity. It was a once in a lifetime experience and peek into the life in the hills of Darjeeling.
Any place in India which you did not like to visit again? Why?
Varanasi was my least favorite city in India primarily because I didn’t feel very comfortable walking around in the ghats alone. As a woman who loves her independence, this was difficult for me. Although I’m of Indian origin, the locals could sense immediately that I was a tourist and didn’t hesitate to stare at me. Regardless, I had a great time in Varanasi and am glad I visited, but there are many other places I’d visit before returning, such as cities in Ladakh and Rajasthan.
Did you feel safe on Indian roads?
I’ve been traveling to India since I was a child, so the roads felt relatively normal to me. I actually feel like Indian drivers are more skilled than the average driver because they know how to maneuver roads shared with pedestrians, bicycles, cows, trucks, and rickshaws. I learned how to drive a scooter in Goa and loved it, but Goa is also less crowded than other cities and safer because many of the other drivers are also riding scooters and motorbikes. I would never drive in Mumbai or Delhi.
Till today how many countries you have visited? Which was your favorite country, place? Why
To date, I’ve visited 29 countries. I’ve been to so many beautiful places that it’s so difficult to choose a favorite! Rio de Janeiro is definitely one of my favorite cities. I hope to return and explore more of it very soon. As for favorite countries, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Croatia, and Morocco are my top 5 favorites. I live in Spain now and I absolutely love the culture here. I could see myself living here long term one day. Thailand was my first backpacking destination and I learned a lot about myself during my time there; I’ll never forget it. Turkey and Croatia were simply beautiful. Turkey has a lot to offer and I loved the mix of Asian and European culture.
The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia was one of the most stunning sights I’ve ever seen. I just returned from a trip to Morocco and it blew me away. I’d been looking forward to it all year. The people were so kind and everything from the street food to the landscapes, both desert and oceanside were incredible. I feel a strong pull that I need to return again soon.
Any plan about your next tour?
After my contract ends in Spain this summer, I plan to travel to Central and South America and teach English there as well. I’m really looking forward to tackling more of this continent that I just scratched the surface of during my first solo trip!
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