Chandigarh-born Shivangi Sharma is a lawyer by profession who utilises court holidays and online court hearings to explore new places.
“Because India is such a diverse nation, I knew I just had to go on a road trip. But my friends backed out at the last minute. I was very close to cancelling my trip,” she says.
But she decided to go ahead, refusing to give into the narrative that “India is not safe for female travellers”.
Shivangi, in her thirties, says that in 2019, after two years of gathering experiences and wisdom, she decided to cover 29 Indian states in 39 days.
In the initial weeks, she had no support. “Most Indian parents don’t understand the concept of solo travelling,” she shares, adding that she had no form of validation for what she was doing.
She covered a distance of 20,000 kilometres in her car when she was reached out to by someone from BBC for an interview.
“I was scared, lonely, frustrated, and on the verge of giving up when the interview happened. It made my story viral, and I was back to being enthusiastic about the trip,” she recalls.
Regardless, Shivangi’s jet-setter nature fuels her to delve deeper into unexplored territories. Today, over 75,000 people follow her vlogs and experiences online.
If you are looking to have a similar journey as Shivangi, here’s what she suggests you can do.
1) Create a brand
“Invest some money in your travelling, make fun videos, and take unique pictures for your social media handles. Make a brand out of yourself.”
2) Sign up to volunteer
“There are several hostels, homestays, and hotels that need volunteers to manage daily operations, host guests, or create content. In return, they offer free accommodation and food.”
3) Offer your skills
“Good at computers, videography, accountancy, cooking or performing arts? Host workshops in hotels, hostels, etc and charge a fee.”
4) Collaborate with brands
“Brands even send you coupons that you can avail to get discounts on transport or accommodation,” she says.