“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.” – Charles Dickens
Travelling is not just about exploring new places or meeting new people but it is also about finding yourself. After globetrotting across a number of countries across the world, travelling has become a big part of Riddhi’s life. Being a wanderlust and also a solivagant at times, Riddhi takes her time and challenges herself by pushing out of her comfort zone. She considers it a great opportunity to meet new people and learn different cultures from different walks of life in new and unknown cities.
We chat with Riddhi Debh, a globetrotter born in Kolkatta who is currently residing in Bangalore. She believes to belong not just in one place but finds herself at home wherever she goes. Read on to know more about her travel stories.
Hello Riddhi! Tell our readers a little about yourself.
My name is Riddhi Debh and I was born in Kolkata. I have stayed in many cities in India due to my educational and professional pursuits. Presently, I am based out of Bangalore. I am a true-blue traveler. I have visited 16 countries across South America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe and 24 states in India so far.
After graduating from IIT Delhi, I did my MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur. I believe that I am a geek in a good way. I have been managing a crazy traveling schedule along with a full-time job as the Vice President of a health tech start-up in Bangalore. I have worked in MNCs before and have won some national awards for marketing programs.
“I look at photography as an extension of traveling. I have published photographs on BBC, Flickr and other international magazines. One of my clicks was selected as Nat Geo Editor’s Favourite. I am also fond of writing long captions on Instagram. I am happily married to a lovely guy, who happens to be my travel partner on half of my trips, and the rest I travel solo.”
Riddhi with her husband and traveling partner
Beautiful fields of lavender at Provence, France captured by Riddhi Debh.
“Along with traveling, I document my personal experiences, through my photography and writing. This, in my opinion is a great way to relive the moments in the years that follow.”
Riddhi on her trip to Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
The wind of hope that brushed through my hair
The touch of clouds that calmed me down
The distance up there in the mountains
That saved me from myself
The idea of absolute freedom
The thought of intimacy
The dreams that didn’t exist
That stole me from myself
The friendship that was only strong
The future that is definitely bright
The happiness that was contagious
That drew me to myself
And the mountains returned…..
From Riddhi’s trip to Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
Tell us what traveling means to you and what inspired you to start traveling?
Traveling has slowly become a need, rather than just a hobby for me. It means two things to me… First is the discovery of myself and new places. And second is the pursuit of going out of my comfort zone.
“I have been traveling since I was 4 years old, thanks to my enthusiastic Bengali parents. Early exposure to many states in India definitely imbibed the love for traveling in me. As I grew up and traveled more due to my education and profession, I got more interested in cultures, people and nature. The amalgamation of all these elements has always been fascinating to me. As I started earning well, I had more means to travel outside the country and explore beautiful places. In one word, life and its deeper meaning inspire me to travel.”
What are your five travel essentials that you have with you in your bag?
I always carry with me a torch, my sunscreen cream, a power back up for my mobile phone, an extra battery for my camera and wet wipes.
Which destinations have been your favorites and why?
My all-time favorite destination has been Patagonia in the South American country of Chile. Most people pursue material possession, and I pursue experience… Patagonia is like my equivalent of a BMW.
It was an expensive trip, but indeed such a soul-satisfying one. Moreover, I love the mountains. So, the trek in Patagonia in its typical weather satisfied two important criteria for traveling for me – One was discovering a place unknown to mainstream Indian tourists. And, the extreme weather – sub-zero temperature, rain, wind, sunlight – all in one day along with the steep climbs pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone. The beauty of the place is absolute and the feeling of finishing the trek will be etched in my memory for years to come.
Riddhi relaxing in a restaurant at Chile.
Riddhi trekking through one of her favourite destinations – Patagonia in Chile.
I also loved my tryst with Kenya. Masai Mara, Nakuru, Aberdare – are all forests in this beautiful country and the abundant wildlife there definitely filled me with a lot of joy. It was where I carried my first DSLR – a basic Canon 1100D – and some of my photos were highly appreciated and gave me the confidence to pursue photography in my early days.
Riddhi Debh with a herd of majestic Rhinos in the background in Nakuru, Kenya.
Leopard sighting at Masai Mara, Kenya captured on camera by Riddhi
Tell us some of your top bucket list destinations?
I would love to do the Machu Picchu trek in Peru. I am looking forward to going to Himachal Pradesh, even though I have traveled there many times, I will be spending my winter there next month. The Trans-Siberian railway journey, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia are all high up on my travel bucket list.
How do you afford to travel so frequently?
As I mentioned, I still have a full-time job that pays me well. I choose to spend on my travel experience than on material possessions. However, I also do speak to hotels and holiday companies for part-sponsoring my trips in exchange for my travel writing or photography work. I am new to the latter and am still exploring all these opportunities. I am going to pursue full-time travel by end of this year.
A captivating view of the glacier at Patagonia, Chile clicked by Riddhi Debh.
Please leave some travel tips and advice for our wanderlust readers.
Plan in detail and if possible, try to list out your day-wise expenses if you want to keep your travel within a budget. If you like knowing about the place before visiting as I do, read up and do your research. Connecting the dots while traveling can be a lot of fun.
“Be open to people, new cultures and respect others who are traveling with you along with all the locals you come across. And most importantly, it’s not a compulsion – so have fun and do what suits you the best, rather than following what others are doing.”
A beautiful sighting of birds, perfectly captured by Riddhi in Nakuru, Kenya.
Tell us why you think people should travel the world?
There are many experiences that make us who we are as people. Travel is enriched with multiple experiences within a few days. So if the experience is what counts, be it due to reasons like breaking the monotony, pursuing discovery, just having fun or family demand, a well-intended travel plan is going to be a life-changing experience. People should travel so that they are not deprived of that happiness.
A walk at the Miscanti Lake in Atacama, Chile.
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