Archana Singh is a Brand Management Expert by Profession and a Traveller by Passion. In this interview with acadman.in she talked to us about her passion for traveling, the best places where she went to and Much More
At the very first, please tell us about yourself. Which city you belong, your educational journey and your life at that point of time?
I am a Brand Strategist by Profession and a Travel Journalist by passion. I am a digital nomad. Therefore, I don’t belong to any specific place. I have done in my MBA from Delhi.
What do you do except travelling? When did you leave your job to travel?
When I am not traveling, or documenting my travel experiences, I make brand strategies for some of the most iconic brands in the world. I quit my high profile corporate job in February 2017 to travel around the world.
From where did you get inspired to travel?
I come from an Army background, so my travel inspiration has always been my father.
Which was the first place where you went to travel alone? Please tell us about that experience?
I traveled solo first time to Europe in 2009. It was a very liberating experience as I went out of my comfort zone in a totally unknown continent.
Girls in India are often not allowed to travel alone? What was the reaction of your family when you started travelling alone?
My parents have been very supportive of everything I do. They never stop me from doing anything. They just ask me to be vigilant.
Please tell us about your five best memorable journeys.
- Japan: I loved it for the unique mix of culture and modernity it offers. I visited it during the autumn season when the whole country was ablaze with autumn foliage.
- The U.S.: I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity and immenseness of a great nation.
- Philippines: I worked in the Philippines for three years and loved it for the unspoiled beaches and super friendly people.
- New Zealand: The middle of Earth was memorable for the epic landscapes and adrenaline rush it provided.
- Finland: Loved it for the winter wonderland and Finnish culture.
Why is it essential for you to travel?
For many travel is an escape. For me, it is my life. Travel gives me a reason to look forward top a new day. I have learned so much from my travels. I have become more compassionate and calm.
There is no culture of travelling in India? How do you look at it?
India is a WIP (Work in Progress) country and a lot of things are changing. I won’t say India doesn’t have a culture of traveling. Even going to your grandparents for summer holidays is a travel. The only difference I see from western countries is that we are not as adventurous as they are when it comes to travel. But now with globalization and better purchasing power, even that is changing.
Can you tell us about some of the best conversations you had with random people while travelling?
I enjoy the most talking to strangers. Unplanned conversations have often lead me to serendipity. My most endearing travel stories have come from impromptu conversations with strangers. I was recently on a two months Solo Trip to the USA and during that period I had some amazing experiences. One of them was this:
I was watching the gorgeous sunset at Bell Tower at La Fonda Hotel, in Santa Fe, New Mexico for which the heritage hotel is known for. After the dinner, I started walking back to my hotel. As I was passing through the lobby I heard Jazz music playing in the nearby bar. To my surprise, I saw three women in their seventies dancing freely in the lobby of the hotel (not bar) without caring if anybody was watching them or if they were not at the right place wearing the right clothes doing the right thing. All they cared about was having a good time together. To me that was the real essence of travel – travel without inhibitions. Travel like there’s no tomorrow.
5 best beaches you went to?
- El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
- Nusa Dua, Bali
- White Beach, Boracay Philippines
- Hidden Beach, Oregon, the US
- Krabi, Thailand
How were your experiences travelling in Vietnam?
Vietnam is a very beautiful country with lot of history to explore. However, my best experience was knowing the tribes of Sapa. So many people travel to Sapa for trekking but very few people make an effort to understand the locals. I tried to dig deeper and found a heart-wrenching story about their life, aspirations and dreams. I documented my experience in ‘The untold story of Sapa’ article, which went on winning an award.
Please tell us about the 5 best hill stations in India?
- Changthang, Ladakh
- Lachun, Sikkim
- Lahaul, HP
- Munsiyari, Uttarakhand
- Sojha, HP
How many countries have you travelled so far?
Over 40 countries
From where do you get the money to travel?
My full time corporate job.
Please tell us about the treks you did?
- Everest Base Camp Trek
- Chadar, Zanskar
- Sapa, Vietnam
Please tell us about some other travellers whom you met while travelling and became friends?
I met Mike Shubic of Mikes Road Trip, a renowned travel blogger from the United States of America in the Philippines during a conference. And since then our paths crossed many a times in several continents and we ended up becoming good friends.
How long are you planning to travel?
Forever, until my last breath.
There may have been some “not so good” experiences while travelling. Please tell us about it?
In August 2014, I had signed up with a company for a group tour to Ladakh. We were supposed to be a group of 8-10 people traveling in two SUVs and four Bullets. I had paid the full amount as advance. It was raining cats and dogs. I was asked to reach a hotel in Manali, where I was to meet the rest of the group members. At around 11pm I got to know that the trip was cancelled because other members backed out. I was given two choices – either to join a smaller trip going to Chandrataal or do the try by myself. In both the cases, I had to forget the advance paid. I was at crossroads. I had been planning this trip for years. It was a long-cherished dream. I had not travelled solo in a complete unknown territory by myself.
That was the most “not so good” experience for me. But I didn’t let it affect me and I did the trip all by myself. However, after that, I decided never ever to go on packaged tours.
Don’t you get bored by travelling, travelling, and travelling?
No. Travel gives me a reason to keep looking for something exciting and challenging.
How many months you sit at home or do other works and how many months you travel in a year?
What would be your message to students across India?
There is no bigger teacher than travel. You become a better person and your world view expands exponentially. Travel should not be judged by others Instagram galleries but by your own interest. Travel slow and immerse yourself in the culture of a place.
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