They say our real test comes when we’re exposed to new places, people, experiences and how we deal with it. Traveling is no cakewalk, and it does get overwhelming at times, but for an explorer, this challenge is an appetizer and some of the best moments are created when you travel.
Today, we take you on a virtual journey of a travel fanatic Deepika Gumaste – a traveller, a Communications Consultant, and a Homemaker. She has voyaged over the globe, whilst juggling in between her home in Mumbai and weaving out stories of experiences.
How has your roots/upbringing brought you to where you are today
I am a trained classical dancer in Bharatanatyam and was also a part of my school singing group. I belong to a family of nerds, who in all capacity treasure activities such as traveling. I got my itchy feet from my mother. As a kid, I traveled high and low, visiting resorts and family destinations. It’s just now that I have taken to a different sort of lifestyle – one that involves traveling to offbeat destinations or slow traveling, backpacking, etc.A health scare caused me to take a forced sabbatical. And then I took to travel, which has given me a new life. It was that that my family encouraged me to start documenting my travels.
I got my itchy feet from my mother. As a kid, I traveled high and low, visiting resorts and family destinations. It’s just now that I have taken to a different sort of lifestyle – one that involves traveling to offbeat destinations or slow traveling, backpacking. And that’s what keeps me interested to travel – the will to explore and experience local undiscovered gems – in my own pace.
So tell us how it all started – Your life as a traveller . .
I started traveling as a kid. But it was a forced sickness sabbatical five years back, which changed the due course of my life and career. I started traveling in a different way, consciously, trying to make different travel choices – as to where and why should I choose this place to visit. I decided to travel to Pench to explore how civilization lives in or near a wildlife sanctuary.I have visited Meghalaya to meet the tribes who have designed the world acclaimed heritage of Living Root Bridges; the Salawas in Rajasthan to meet the Bishnois; the originators of India’s Chipko movement.
“I used to travel as a kid but it was a forced sickness sabbatical five years back, which changed the due course of my life and career. I started traveling in a different way, consciously, trying to make different travel choices – as to where and why should I choose this place to visit.”
This travelling mission has got me new opportunities as well.Recently, I visited Taiwan to learn about how the country is leveraging agro-tourism to deal with its urban migration challenge.
“I’m a full-time travel writer. And when I get the time, money and freedom from responsibilities at home, I travel! I also multitask – I’m a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a grand-daughter, and a sister.”
Most important lesson travel has taught you
Travel has taught me that us humans on this planet are all the same – irrespective of where we are and what we do. We are all on a personal path of self-exploration – dealing with the same set of challenges of identity, and finding our life’s purpose.
Any favorite destination? Is it the mountains or the seas or the deserts that you yearn mostly for?
A couple of years ago, if you’d have asked me this question, I would say the beach because the ocean is so vast. But today, I say the Himalayan Mountains.
“When you come across a mountain, you realize its depth and your tiny little space on this universe. This changed my perspective.”
6) Would you like to share a memorable encounter?
I was, once, may be a couple of years back, traveling to Bhutan, usually known as the last Shangri-la. I was with my local guide, Dorji, when I asked him about how Bhutan can be the happiest country or even claim so, while the rest of the world was engrossed in wars, famines, corruption, etc. Dorji said something, which left a great impact on me and I carry it till date with me wherever I go.
Dorji said, “We are sad to see people fight, shed blood and reel under poverty. But we are happy because, we realize the only way to survive is to learn that we all share the same planet and our actions are ultimately going to impact everyone, including us.”
As soon as I heard those words, I could make sense of a few lines by John Donne, “Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know, for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
And lastly, what advice would you give our fellow readers/travelers who are planning to travel on a budget?
Research well before you choose to visit a destination. And then opt for home-stays or local guest houses instead of resorts. It is financially viable and you might end up learning about a different culture or people in a way or two.Deepika Gumaste can be reached out on Instagram & Facebook