Travel in blogs & photos

Shrinidhi Hande, a travel blogger, says that one needs to maintain a proper work-life balance before committing to travel.

Shrinidhi Hande, a travel blogger, says that one needs to maintain a proper work-life balance before committing to travel.A full-time travel photographer, Sai Priya believes that thorough research is an essential part of any travel plan.

CHENNAI: Quit your job to travel the world’ is the universal millennial anthem at the moment. An increasing number of people today want to follow their ultimate dream of globe-trotting, owing to posts on Instagram and Facebook that reflect its glory. But is quitting your job really necessary to do this? Shrinidhi Hande, a 33-year old IT professional and avid travel blogger in Chennai, thinks otherwise.
“It sounds adventurous and great for the moment, but it’s not viable. Your visa process gets more complicated if you don’t have a job as you’ll come across as someone with no motive to come back. And plus, without income, how will you survive?” asks Shrinidhi.  Though freelancing is an option, he says it’s disorganised and hence useless in most cases. And you can’t find a job anywhere with just a tourist visa anyway.

Photos by Sai Priya and Shrinidhi Hande
Photos by Sai Priya and Shrinidhi Hande

Shrinidhi believes that striking the perfect work-travel balance is necessary for any travel enthusiast. Based in Udipi, he shifted to Chennai for work in 2005, where he enjoyed taking short road trips and writing about them in his blog. This slowly paved way for a 3000+ strong followers, which has been featured in many ‘best travel blogs’ lists, and also received the Best Urban Chennai Blogger award in 2015. He attributes this popularity to his clear and simple blog posts. Over time, he was able to figure out tricks for budget-friendly travel, enabling him to explore 24 countries in the past 10 years. “I book flights a year in advance to avail cheaper tickets. For instance, round-trip tickets to Australia cost only ` 32, 000. It’s a risk because anything can happen over the course of a year, yes, but fortunately my job allows me to work with just a laptop and net connection,” he explains.

In a year, he manages to go on at least two long term (10-day) trips, and many smaller trips in India. He makes it a point to share brief accounts of all travel experiences — from the humbling cultural experience in Japan to the pick-pocketing episode in Malaysia — on his travel blog.
For Shrinidhi, if managing work and travel was a piece of cake, it was the opposite for Sai Priya who had to quit her job as a business analyst- to take care of her ailing mother first. The travel bug bit soon after and then she took to travel photography, an interest that stemmed from a penchant for street photography. Well-known for her Facebook Page, ‘Castle Mountains’, she has received an award from the International Union of Photographers in 2016. “My first attempt at travel photography was when I went on a photo tour to Rameswaram. We walked on the Pamban track early morning when the waves were very high and rough. It was a thrilling experience,” she says.

This was around five years ago, after which she explored several places in South India. Her first trip to the north was to the Kumbh Mela in Varanasi. “I went alone and accommodation was really expensive; I had to rough it out in a servant’s tent. There are two sections at the Mela — one for naga sadhus and one for public — I had to sneak my way inside for lack of a press pass. I stayed inside the water at the mela from 5 am to 3 pm because otherwise the police would have chased me out!”

From being chased by elephants to being threatened by tribal folk, her pursuit of travel photography has taken her places. With her Nikon D750 and D7200 in tow, she loves documenting the lifestyle, traditions, culture, festivals of different places in India. A lot of in-depth research is involved in the process. She spends at least two weeks developing contacts and talking to people if information she seeks is not available online. “When I went to Nagaland, a man I met there led me to a village on the outskirts to witness the Assamese
New year that featured a three-day Bihu Festival. It was surreal!”

Travelling  on a budget?

Plan properly and book flight tickets accordingly (at least a year ahead)

Visas are easy to procure in some countries- for example Maldives and Macau provide visa on arrival for Indians while a Japanese visa takes only 3 days. European countries take longer. So, be well-informed.

If you’re a vegetarian, be careful about food. Places like Thailand consider fish oil as vegetarian.

Essentials of Travel blogging

Take time and explore what kind of travel blogging you want to do - like destination-specific, or budget-specific, etc.

You can’t be the Jack of all trades— it won’t work out in the long run. Build your identity around your chosen niche and keep posts short and informative.

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The New Indian Express