The Shooting Star is an inspirational blog for young women who wants to pursue independence and a life of travels. Shivya Nath, the author and blog owner of the Shooting Star is a young Indian woman who left her corporate life last 201 to convert her passion of travelling into a means of living.
She’s been to more than 20 countries across four continents and she also writes for various online and offline publications.
Join her adventures and learn more about Shivya at The Shooting Star. But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Shivya.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“Unlike many nomads who’ve been travelling since they were in the womb or before they could pronounce their name, my tryst with travel started much later (not counting family holidays designed to visit relatives). I first started travelling while I was studying in Singapore; I had very little money and lots of time and Southeast Asia was a perfect treat for my itchy feet.
After college, I accepted a job at the Singapore Tourism Board, in the hope of giving wings to my slowly developing wanderlust. I didn’t get to travel much on work, but as part of the digital marketing team, I started learning the ropes of social media, blogging, and the travel industry. So ironically enough, I found my love for travel behind a desk, where I would spend hours reading about adventures of travel bloggers (as part of my work, of course!). I slowly started aspiring for their lives, took a 2 month sabbatical from work to convince myself that this is what I really wanted to do, and exactly 1.5 years ago, took the plunge to quit my corporate job and see the world.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“Travelling along the most remote and poorest parts of Vietnam, I once had to survive for three days straight on a box of chocopie. (I’m a vegetarian).”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“There are so many!
“The time along the Black Sea Coast of Turkey when I landed in a small town and found myself admiring the aladdin lamps outside a blacksmith’s workshop. On hearing that I was from India, he hugged me, and drew a heart on my hand, saying that one part of the heart was Hindustan and the other Turkey. We talked about everything under the sun in his workshop, over Turkish tea, even though I couldn’t speak more than a few words of Turkish and he, of English.
Landing in Rodrigues after reading a single article on The Independent. My friend and I happened to be the sixth Indians to arrive there in the entire year, and if there is such a thing as paradise untouched, Rodrigues would fit the bill. (It is a small island in the Indian Ocean, accessible via Mauritius).
The first time I hitch-hiked in a mountain village in India, finding myself in a small village by Lake Garda in Italy, the morning I summited Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, snorkeling with black-tip sharks off Malaysia’s east coast…. I could go on!”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“That travel is as much about the people we meet as it is about the places we see.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
What keeps me going is the thirst for new adventures. Google can can take me armchair travelling yes, but it can’t make me have that first nervous conversation with a Spaniard from a remote mountain village, after practicing Spanish only with English-speakers. Or let my taste buds savor the first bite of a handmade pasta in Italy. Or let me zipline across the highest zipline over the Indian Ocean in Rodrigues. Or introduce me to hitch-hiking on Turkey’s Black Sea Coast. Or let me stay at an organic mountain farm on the Indian countryside. Or show me “Pirates of the Caribbean” landscapes in the remotest parts of Vietnam.
Truth is, I’ve started finding it more tiring staying in one place while wishing I was elsewhere, doing something I’ve never done before.”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“I’m so addicted to the TV show, The Office, right now. Crazy as this might sound, I would travel with Michael Scott and Dwight; can you imagine the insanity of the adventures they’d lead us to?!”
Where’s your favourite place in this planet and why?
“I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that; I’ve fallen in love with way too many places to pick just one.
Gargnano is one of my all-time favorites. It is a small lakeside village in northern Italy, where you can tell the season by the amount of snow on the Dolomites beyond, and the time of the day by the reflection of the sun on the lake. It’s one of those sleepy postcard European villages that have two restaurants, one salon, one video rental shop (of which I have lifelong membership, btw!), and where everyone knows everyone else. I wrote about it at http://the-shooting-star.com/2011/05/23/gargnano-lake-garda-travel-blog/”
What’s your best tip for a newbie traveller?
Don’t read too much about a place before you get there, and be open to new adventures. As Aldous Huxley said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“I was doing a night bus ride along the west coast of India. The bus broke down, and there we were, freezing in the cold in the middle of nowhere. I quickly used my remaining phone battery to find a taxi operator nearest to the town and pleaded with them to send us a taxi to this obscure little town, in the middle of the night. Though disgruntled, they agreed, and my phone went off in the meantime. We waited in the cold all night, but the taxi never showed up.
The next morning, when we finally made it to civilization, I called the taxi guy to send him on a guilt trip. Turns out, the town we were in shares its name with a small town in the Himalayas, and that’s where the taxi waited for us that night. Yes, I made someone wait with his taxi for me, half way across the country!”
What do you think about yourself?
“Haha. I sometimes think of myself as a butterfly, always ready to flap my wings and make my way somewhere around the globe! (ok that does sound corny :p)”
The Shooting Star is a travel blog about hidden treasures across India and the globe – places that are not part of typical tourist circuits, and stories that are not ordinarily written about. My travelogues include practical travel tips, lots of photos, and the occasional inspiration to take the plunge to travel “full time”. – Shivya Nath
Editor’s Note: All pictures are provided by Shivya.