“To travel is to live” – Hans Christian Anderson
Travelling is something that most of us want to experience but not many may be ready for the real adventure. Hence, only a few experience the thrill and the challenges that fall in the travel trails. Today, we introduce you to a wanderlust and his wonders of wanderings.
Meet Nishant Sinha, whose Instagram profile says ‘”I am one of the cliches of our generation who have quit their jobs to travel and live for today” Nishant is a travelling enthusiast and the founder of ChaloHoppo, a travel company that offers tours to the North East region of India. Today, he chats with us about his travel stories, and the people of the region have given him wonderful memories.
- Hi, Nishant. It is a pleasure to have you on board. You seem to be exploring North East India a lot, looking at your instagram feeds. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and your profession?
Currently I would call myself a tourism entrepreneur who is focussed on promoting Northeast India through purposeful tours. It all stemmed from the fact that I hail from the region and yet the only time I understood the diversity and issues pertaining to the region was when I moved to Bangalore for college.
“All the years I spent in Tripura in my childhood and the understanding of how my culture, attire and food was different and yet unique only dawned upon me after stepping out of the region”
After college I dabbled in different things, like I spent the first 2 years of my professional life teaching the not so privileged children in a school in Pune under Teach for India. After that I completed my post graduate diploma in advertising and marketing from Xavier’s Institute of communication in Mumbai and worked in the space of digital marketing for 3 years. It was as if I was destined to come back to the Northeast when the seed of ChaloHoppo was planted and nurtured by 4 individuals who got connected by chance and fate.
What have the travel experiences to North East India taught you?
I have been intrigued by the tribal traditions and history. I love the food. Even though I end up going to the same destinations repeatedly as per the traveller’s requirements, I see something new each time.
“I have learned that Nagaland isn’t really unsafe and the people are very hospitable. I have learned that the people of Mechuka, one of the most beautiful places in Northeast India, have folk songs which expresses their dilemma of being caught between China, Tibet and India. I have learnt lessons of sustainability from the living root bridges of Meghalaya. This is the most beautiful aspect of travelling- there is always something new to learn and unlearn, both”
Any favorite destinations?
My experiences in Nagaland while travelling on the bumpy roads of Mon district is definitely one of the memorable experiences but the place that I really want to visit again has to be Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh. Nongriat, where I have been to almost 20 times in the last one year, each time spending two nights is also very dear to me.
“After we survived yet another night to add to the countless ones before. This time it was a frozen river and a frosty night in Dzukou Valley, Nagaland”
Would you like to share a memorable anecdote that you’ve experienced/ encountered whilst travelling?
During my first ever trip to Nagaland which was in March 2016, my fellow traveller and I were walking the absolutely vacant streets of Mokokchung town until we came across a petite lady who had set up a momo stall, selling only pork momos. The time was only 6 pm but anyone who has been to Mokokchung knows that the city pretty much shuts down around that time.
“Though the plan was to just taste her momos and head back to the hotel, it wasn’t to be. One thing led to the other and she ended up not charging us for the momos and took us to her uncle’s house where we were fed again and invited us for lunch the next day, served beer in the dry stateof Nagaland and the list of hospitality was never ending.”
This lady was also my motivation to gulping down raw eggs which all of Akshay Kumar’s movies couldnt make me do. I did it because she did it. We are still in touch. Another thing that travelling does is that it creates new bonds.
And lastly, what advice would you give our fellow readers/travellers who plan to travel on a budget?
My advice for budget travellers is that you shouldn’t compare the rates of travel and accommodation in North India when you are travelling in Northeast India because of the simple reason that the dynamics are different here. The tourist footfall is much lesser and hence for businesses to sustain the rate could be slightly higher. The roads are terrible, hence the vehicle costs are higher. In fact if you buy a pack of Mother dairy curd, it costs Rs 65 in some regions of Northeast India whereas it costs Rs 45 in the rest of the country. Geographical and social factors play an important role in the itinerary planned here.
Other tips would be to carry a tent and sleeping bag; Be cautious and respectful towards the local traditions and customs; Observe and while feedback is important, one should try and refrain from unnecessary advice or personal comments of suggestion. For the foodies, especially the non-vegetarians, the cuisine offers so much of variety that they wouldn’t have the time to taste them all!
You can follow Nishant on Instagram – to explore his travel adventures for all the inspirations you need for that elusive trip to North East India that has been haunting you for so long!
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