Tag Archives: Thailand

By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

8 January 2018

The traveller who has visited 80 countries and gives everyone some serious travel goals. | Traveller of the Week: Abhilash Surendran

Abhilash Surendran hails from Kozhikode district in Kerala right next to a former French colony called Mahe, he calls them both home! Abhilash has quit his corporate job twice to become a full-time traveller and travel blogger. Having failed the first time, the second trial seems to be going good, he says, ‘I had not strategized properly on the pitfalls of travel blogging’.

 

Surendran considers himself to be a mix of an orthodox and offbeat traveller. He enjoys visiting tourist places as well as places unexplored by the crowd. ‘After visiting 80 countries around the world, and almost every part of India, I think every place however touristy, crowded, dirty or polluted it is – has its own charm. It’s always up to the visitor to figure it out’, he says giving everyone some serious travel goals.

 

Abhilash Surendran

 

In 2008, the now travel junkie went on his first solo trip. While working in an MNC in Chennai, he was asked to move to their office in Manila, Philippines. A scary prospect at first, he accepted. ‘Living in the Philippines ended up changing my life!

After the Philippines, I was hooked. I started backpacking to other parts of South East Asia, came back to India to do road trips around my own country, went discovering Europe, Oceania and the Americas. And I don’t think I am stopping anytime soon’, he says.

 

Abhilash loves travelling solo and makes friends in places he visits and does short travels with them as a group to nearby places, a much better way to get to know the places from the eyes of a local rarely on the tourist trail.

 

The biggest challenge for Abhilash is family! He left a well-paying job in Singapore before he changed his profession of becoming a traveller. His family was definitely not happy with his career choice. They are now fully convinced and supportive of the idea.

 

For International trips, the traveller makes it a point to have a general plan in advance for cheaper flight tickets. ‘Like, I will spend 3 weeks in Germany. But what I do in those 3 weeks, is quite flexible’, mentions the travel blogger.

In India, he travels on his motorbike, riding solo around the country which also means he can go with the flow and do a little bit of research about the offbeat places he’d like to visit and save it to google maps. Whenever he is in the area, he makes it a point to visit the pinned locations!

 

The traveller’s 5 must-visit locations would be, firstly, Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Lohit, Anjaw and Changlang Districts are untouched and have amazing natural beauty!

Outside India, Jordan. The Bedouin culture and hospitality is amazing. Also, sights like Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash etcetera are not only historic but also out of this world. Serbia, one of his favourite countries in the Balkan region is full of delightful people, amazing food and easy to travel or hitchhike. Next is Timor Leste, the untouched and the latest country of ASEAN, the country gets only 10,000 visitors every year. A complete adventure to travel to, he was surprised to visit villages where he was the first tourist they had ever seen!

Last but not the least, San Marino. A country surrounded by Italy, it is the only country in the world where there are more people than vehicles. The pristine city views are straight out of a renaissance movie set.

Now, on to his 5 must-haves for travelling and staying outdoors.

In India, he prefers to travel only on his motorbike as it makes any place accessible. Second would be, a sturdy and multi-purpose backpack. Not to forget, offline maps, he suggests an application called maps.me! A sleeping bag, if one is into camping outside.  Finally, a will to be flexible and adapt to situations is a must! The ability to accept different cultures, mindsets, people and the ability to get along with them makes the journey much more fulfilling.

 

The traveller loves meeting the locals on his expeditions. He does admit places, monuments and nature are great for photographs but one can only learn about the place through the eyes and the mouths of a local.

Abhilash prefers to listen to the natives and explore the not so ordinary sites, he remembers his earlier days of chasing the touristy spots, unlike today.

 

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Andorra, Europe

Brahmaputra, Guwahati

Cairo, Egypt

Istanbul, Turkey

Seria, Brunei

Varanasi, India

 

Surendran has covered all states except Mizoram, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh. Outside India, his travelling has been in circuits as he usually travels for longer durations. ‘I started with the Banana pancake trail of South East Asia, which covers countries like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Then there is the Indonesia island circuit, taking you through the islands of Java and Borneo’, he adds. In Europe, time was mostly spent doing the Baltic trail (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) or the Balkans stretch (Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, etc).

 

 

One life lesson he has learnt through travelling – ‘That the world is not what you read about in a magazine or newspaper. I am not going to lie, I had many of my biases shattered in different places that I have visited around the world. These biases were formed by media, or opinions of friends, over the years, and only when I visited the place did I know how wrong my understanding was’.

For example, he says before visiting North East India, he perceived the tribes to be orthodox and not set in present times. But once he actually arrived, he was greeted with friendliness and generosity! A much more modern mindset than the rest of India, he says the entire country can learn a thing or two.

Also, media often portrays the Islamic countries around the world as orthodox and conventional. Whilst travelling to Bangladesh, Brunei and the Middle-East, the traveller made a note to wear decent clothes hiding his tattoos as not to offend anyone. He was blown away instantly by attending the craziest house party in Dhaka! The youth did have fun but unfortunately, the media portrays most of the countries in a much different light than usual which shouldn’t stop one from exploring and travelling all the countries out there!

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Abhilash Surendran

 

Follow Abhilash:  Instagram | Website | Facebook

Check out latest edition of Inspiro India magazine – here

Submit your work for upcoming issue of Inspiro India Magazine
By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

30 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Kamya

Kamya is a 25-year-old travelling hippie who has been on the road for 2 years. She studied economics and has a strong interest in development economics, which she wants to combine with her love for travelling to make a difference in society. She is interested in issues of waste management and environmental awareness. She has always been a traveller, “From a young age, I used to walk off into the forests and explore new places, coming home late to a scolding from my parents,” she says. Though she is Indian by origin, she was born and brought up in the UK, and now considers herself a universal being.

 

Kamya

 

Travelling over the long-term has allowed her to explore herself and forge her direction in life. After studying economics at Warwick University, she decided to take a break to give some time to herself and that’s when she started off with her first trip to South East Asia. Now, travelling has become her way of living.

 

Kamya has been mostly travelling solo for the past two years and prefers it to travelling in groups because it allows her to expand as a person. A full-time traveller, she sustains herself by online tutoring and working in the places she travels to. The traveller partly attributes her nomadic nature to her parents, who moved house every year or two when she was a child. She hasn’t faced any objections when it comes to her lifestyle.

 

Travelling for Kamya goes both ways, planned and spontaneous. She does a meticulous research about the place she wants to visit and prepares an Excel sheet which helps her book things in advance and save money. Once she is in the place, she is open to changes, “I’ll spontaneously change my itinerary depending on what feels right, but it’s good to know a lot about the place to be able to make informed decisions and go beyond commonly traversed routes,” she claims.

 

 

Out of all the places she has travelled too, she suggested these give as those which were most memorable:
Spiti And Kinnaur: “Travelling through Spiti and Kinnaur is no easy task; the roads are some of the most dangerous, but the scenery is mind-blowing,” she says. Travelling here has made her fearless, stronger and humble towards nature.

 

East Java: Indonesia has everything: vast jungles, gigantic waterfalls, and volcanic craters. Mount Bromo and ljen Crater were places that she found particularly unique.
Switzerland: “This is probably my favourite country on earth,” she says. It’s so small which makes it easy to get around, and has tons of hikes, lakes, and mountains.

 

Tuscany: She fell in love with the rolling hills, soft sunrises and vast fields of grapevines. “The wine here is the best I’ve had,” she says. It’s a scenic place with clean energy.

 

Khao Sok National Park: This is a huge national park which is only accessible by boat. Here you can stay in wooden huts in the middle of the lake, hike in the jungles, and rent a kayak.

 

For Kamya, 5 must-haves whilst travelling include her tea bottle, her waterproof bag, extra debit cards, her Sennheiser HD25 headphones, and camera. She shoots with the Sony A6000 and the 16-50mm standard lens that comes with it. “It’s a good idea to carry two or three cards with you in case you are stuck, because getting money in a foreign country is extremely difficult,” she says.

 

Kamya lived in Banglore for two years and has covered a lot of South India during that time. Her favourite place in India is Himachal. She likes to spend a lot of time in one region to explore it fully rather than trying to cover as many places as possible. Internationally, she has travelled mostly around South East Asia and Europe.

 

Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Dolomites, Italy

Grimsel Pass, Switzerland

Ijen Crater, Indonesia

Kinnaur, India

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Dolomites, Italy

Luang Prabang, Laos

North Bali, Indonesia

 

Travelling has transformed Kamya in a lot of ways and one of the most important things that she has learnt is to forgive, forget, and let go of things. “We often get caught up in unfulfilling activities, people, and ideas about ourself. Always being on the move means there’s no space to hold onto things which don’t serve you.” She says that long-term travel has taught her to be herself and not worry about other people. “It has taught me that I have everything inside me and that I am completely in charge of my experience of life.”

 

For now, Kamya is planning to stay in Himachal during the summers to work a campsite and a waste management system for the villagers and to work abroad for the remaining time.

Words by Swati George
Images by ©Kamya

 

Follow Kamya:  Instagram | Youtube

Check out latest edition of Inspiro India magazine – here

Submit your work for upcoming issue of Inspiro India Magazine