Aakankshaa has been travelling and creating content since she was 18 years old, writing about her experiences and sharing them with the world. A finance professional, she quit her job to pursue travel full-time and, at 22, has a thriving social media following that revels in her creative content through which she hopes to not just entertain but also educate her audience. She speaks to us about her experiences:
How did your travel journey begin?
Travel comes naturally to me; my father was in the military, meaning I used to move every two years or even every year as a child. Moving ten schools and multiple cities outside and within India made me quite adept at travelling. My solo-travelling journey began when I was in university. I started interning at various places to manage my finances and took weekend trips. That's how my journey started: extremely frugal, proper backpacking trips for short durations.
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What made you finally quit leave your job and pursue travel full-time?
I worked for two years while pursuing my travel blog. As I was working, I ended up taking a lot of workcations. I rented an apartment in Goa for two months and started working out of Goa; on weekdays, I would work, and I would travel during the weekends. It was a great way to balance my work and travel. I moved across multiple cities within India. I also went to Sri Lanka and Thailand for a workcation. Post that, I felt that while I loved my job, I absolutely loved travelling. So I quit my job four months back and took up content creation and travelling full time.
Of all the places you have been to, which is the most beautiful?
The most beautiful place I have visited so far has to be first, Indonesia and then the North-East of India, for highly different reasons. Indonesia because it has one of the most diverse landscapes ever! I saw an active volcano, beautiful waterfalls and went on some of the most breathtakingly gorgeous hikes. When it comes to the northeast of India, I love it because I believe that it's where the culture of our country shines. You can go to small villages that are extremely beautiful and packed with culture, traditions and norms.
How do you manage your expenses while travelling?
I'm currently travelling across Europe, which is quite an expensive trip. First, I stay in hostels instead of expensive hotels to cut down my costs. Secondly, I try to cook some of my meals, so if I'm not staying in a hostel or even if I'm staying in an Airbnb, I try to get those places which have kitchens.
I also cut down on shopping from big brands and expensive stores and instead go local and vintage shopping in different areas because I love collecting some unique things from each place I visit. Lastly, I use public transportation because it is cheaper and more sustainable than taking a lot of flights or travelling by taxi. I also choose to walk, Ski Bike or take bicycles, whatever I can find in that place to travel. That's how I manage my expenses.
How has travelling changed you as a person?
As a person, I have become kinder and have also become someone who can adapt very quickly. I say kinder because when you are travelling, you end up meeting many different people and seeing many different cultures from the one you grew up in back home. How they communicate, their cultures, their norms, and what is respectful in that country- these things you need to consider while travelling.
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Share a small extraordinary story you came across on any of your trips.
While on my flight back from Switzerland, I met a lady who was 80 years old and as we started talking, I realised that she was visiting India for the 41st time, which blew my mind. I asked her about her life. She told me that she had started travelling when at 50 after she saw someone close to her die. This made her realise that she always wanted to travel but couldn't.
At 50, she realised that she would travel as long as she was healthy and could do it. This inspired me; I think it just encapsulates everything I believe. As cliche as it sounds, life is too short, and we don't know what the future holds.
What does meeting new people in your journey mean to you?
There's no better way to see more perspective in life than meeting new people. It opens your mind to new thoughts, ideas, and ways of living; it's a lot about unlearning what you already know because you realise that you were in your bubble.
The second thing is being kinder to people because when you meet people from places where no one speaks the same language, doesn't share the same culture, the same country, or the same age but still connects with you on a human level; it shows how communication is so much more than just words. Something within us makes us human, and I guess that's why the world is still running. So, a new perspective and connecting with people on a human level mean the most to me while travelling.