Rendezvous with Your Instagram Stars

As civilized humans of the 21st century, most of us are bound by the shackles of our 9-5 jobs. How we wish to tear these chains apart and fly out. How we long to run on those lush green grasses and let our feet feel the earth beneath. Wouldn’t it be exciting if we could take a break forever from our monotonous lives of sitting in front of that 16 inch screen for hours and hours? These and many such thoughts keep popping up in our minds, but we decide to put a lock to those desires for we are scared of the unknown realm. This isn’t our fault but the especially the social system that judges our achievements based on one form of intelligence.

Our minds have been conditioned for far too long with what the society deems as success or failure. But the times are changing and there are people out there who are ready to face the challenge head on to embark on their journey of passion. The travel space in that sense is the most inspiring with normal people taking on the role of living life, the way they want to. We are sure that there are many budding travel bloggers and amateur vloggers amidst you who would love to crush the cage you are enslaved to.

We at Chalohoppo want to enable you to meet and interact with two eminent  travel bloggers Shramona Poddar popularly known as mishti.and.meat  and Ankita Kumar well- known as monkey.inc and one of the top upcoming travel vloggers  Tanya Khanijow. These lovely and witty ladies will join us on our trips. We hope that interacting with them in the heart of the mountains and valleys would encourage you to do things in a different way.

Read on to understand how and why we connect to these ladies and what similarity they have with ChaloHoppo which was also started by 4 young people who quit their jobs and moved to Guwahati in 2016!

Ankita Kumar AKA monkey.inc

About her

A filmmaker by profession and passionate traveller at heart, Ankita is based in Bengaluru and originally belongs to Rourkela, a small town in Orissa. Untill she was 17 and left home to pursue a media course in Christ College Bangalore;she lived a sheltered life protected by her loving parents. Now, most of us, especially the Indian women would agree to this barring a few. She holds a triple major in Psychology, English Literature and Mass Communication from Christ college and a diploma in filmmaking from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai. Her vibrant instagram feed is something that will inspire you to travel.

How did she get into the bandwagon of travelling for a living?

She worked as an Assistant Director with an ad production house in Mumbai in 2015 before she decided to pack her bags and fly off to Vietnam. This was her first solo backpacking trip that lasted a month. She tried to gain every little experience that was possible. After her return, she realised that it couldn’t stop there and the journey had to continue. And that was the beginning of MonkeyInc as she started blogging about her travel anecdotes. On a friend’s advice she wrote about 100 emails to brands and made several cold calls. There were three out of those 100 who saw the potential in what she had to offer.

She said that, initially it was hard to manage the finances due to irregularity or delay in payments which were difficult to handle. But of late she has got better in dealing with it.

She loves the thrill of dealing with constant change. The idea of waking up in a new place, making news friends and getting to know about various people and their culture is what inspires her to travel every moment.

What does she like about Northeast India?

Everything about the Northeast of India fascinates her the people, the culture, the landscapes! She said, “It is hands down my favourite part of India. My favourite is Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. I love the quaint feel of the place and the innocence of the people. It’s also close to my heart cause I was gifted a giant prayer wheel by the monks there, they blessed it and gifted it to me over a cup of butter tea. So it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.”

Why did she decide to travel with us?

She simply cherishes the outdoors. We were eager to know why she chose to travel with us. She says, “ I love camping, sitting around a fire, cooking out in the open and chilling with like minded peeps. And Chalo Hoppo adventures seemed like just the right mix for that. I am always a bit wary of group travel but the first time I spoke with Nishant, he said something interesting. He said that the ChaloHoppo crowd filters themselves out, that it usually ends up being a fun group of travellers. So yeah, I’m looking forward to meeting some chill people on the trip.”

What is her tip for the solo traveler?

Travelling solo is mostly considered dangerous for various reasons. Ankita’s tip for the solo traveler is “to be safe but never afraid and to keep an open mind.”

How does she spend her time when she isn’t travelling?

When Ankita is not travelling you will find her chilling on her hammock in her balcony and star gazing. Like most of us she spends her time binge watching stuff on Netflix. She then pitches for future travels and works on MonkeyInc.

Tanya Khanijow

About her

Tanya Khanijow is a young travel adventurer, a photographer and a popular vlogger currently based in Delhi.  She has traversed over various parts of India due her father’s transferable job and thus considers herself from all over India. She pursued her Bachelor’s of Technology in Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering. She worked for a short time in the field of data analytics and strategy side of Online Advertising.

Her travel vlogs in her youtube channel are a treat to the eyes. You wish you could be there too and who knows you might just pack your bags and embark on a beautiful journey.

How did she get into the bandwagon of travelling for a living?

Tanya has been fond of travelling from her early childhood, since her father was in the Indian Army; touring from one place to another was an integral part of life.

She honed her skills of photography in 2016 and  started travelling with her camera. Her undying desire to explore the world, often encourages her to travel. She is an impulsive traveller, who does not usually sit and decide where her next destination would be. If her calendar allows her free time then, she finds economical ways to reach her chosen place. Being an ardent lover of sunrises and sunsets, she is an early riser who loves to enjoy and capture all the morning actions into her vlogs.

On her passion for exploring places from time to time she says, When I was a kid, a job such as traveling and earning a living from it was probably  just restricted to someone who was a TV show anchor or related to cinema and travel media industry (print or TV). But gradually, with internet and YouTube, I’ve realised that I can be my own TV show host, producer, director, camera person and editor to bring travel to Youtube. With this thought I realised I could do something less mainstream and carve my own niche. Of course, it was difficult to begin with. Because I knew nothing about being all of those people in one person. And there are fewer people doing it. But  over time I’ve learnt how to go about it. It is both thrilling and challenging, but it’s what I wanted to always do. Travel the world while talking to a camera. Haha!”

What does she like about Northeast India?

She has visited Meghalaya and Assam earlier. She feels that she has only touched the tip of the iceberg and we agree with her –Northeast India has much more to offer. The  large myriad of culture, beauty, and experiences in both the places makes it hard for her to choose a favorite destination.

Tanya says,I like everything about Northeast India. The fact that the culture is so varied, there are so many beautiful places, the people are so warm and welcoming. What drives me the most to travel to Northeast are it’s people. My interaction with the people has been the cornerstone of falling in love with the region and I want to visit more regions to make videos, to show the beauty of the region, to capture the unique and enthralling culture and everything that it has to offer.”

Why did she decide to travel with us?

“I feel like the company and the ethos of preservation and eco-travel align with my scruples. Also, the vibrant and hard working team seems like a perfect fit for the place and for the traveller in me. I am really looking forward to travelling with ChaloHoppo!” says Tanya.

What is her tip for the solo traveler?

Tanya believes that, “solo travelling will either make you fall in love with the idea of breaking your barriers or you may never want to do it again.” Pushing yourselves out of the comfort zone that you have built around, will help discover the new you for better. As Gustave Flaubert said, “Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

She said people who are introverts and wish to travel solo can pick a hobby which will act as a medium of communication, with fellow travellers who might have similar tastes. It is equally important to speak with the locals and just casually sharing about your hobbies can be a great conversation starter. One of the easiest way to do it is to take photo of people or the surroundings. You may also use compliments to initiate a conversation. Extroverts may have it a little easy, as they are already good at making conversations and mingling with others is natural to them. According to Tanya, “if you’re an extrovert, chances are that you will enjoy solo travel, but always be careful about who your travel company is or travel friends are. Be weary of not falling prey to any kind of travel scams.”

It is important to take care of personal safety and her message to all the solo travellers is Don’t worry about spending a few extra bucks for staying in safe places rather than risking personal safety. Always read reviews of homestays, hotels, airBNB etc. Tie up with travel companies that have good reviews, even if it means spending a little extra.”

“Run a mental check of everything you had packed before you leave home, this will solve the problem of losing things and even guard against theft. Lastly, being careful is of utmost importance but one must have also fun while exploring the places, food, and culture of the locals.” says Tanya.

How does she spend her time when she isn’t travelling?

Tanya is a person who likes to follow a well managed routine when she isn’t travelling. Thus, you will find her editing her travel videos and photos, and relentlessly working towards the creative and professional side of her new found travel business. She says, “There’s  nothing more satisfying than working for yourself and seeing it grow.” She even dedicates her time in exercising for it is significant that one is fit and healthy before plunging into those never ending journeys.

Shramona Poddar AKA mishti.and.meat

About her

I travel for a living, I travel, for living.” – Shramona

A storyteller, a dreamer a traveller, a photographer, and a blogger Shramona’s instagram profile will lure you to travel like she does. Her down to earth description of places easily connect with people who read them. Her blog titled Mishti and Meat revolves around the stories of her travel which are inspiring.

Shramona’s parents live in Kolkata and she would like to call it her base; but then she considers that every part of the country that she has been to had turned into beautiful homes for her. Thus, she belongs from all over India. Her profession before she started travelling was that of a social media content manager along with some photography and freelancing projects that she did.

How did she get into the bandwagon of travelling for a living?

She did not have a planned chalked out earlier before she decided to quit her job and travel. Like many of us she wasn’t sure of what she wanted to do; but then she knew what she didn’t want to. She said, “Working within the four walls everyday in a routine manner from 9- 5 was depressing, as this is not how I wanted to see myself.”

She started travelling while she was working and she realised that this what she loved the most. But it was important for her to get financially independent without the bondage of a regular 9-5 job. “Though travelling isn’t very costly it isn’t free either.” says Shramona.  A friend introduced to her AirBNB and she worked with them for 6 month in Mussoorie. Thus cutting down on her confined time bound job.

What does she like about Northeast India?

She has been to the Northeast once with her family to Assam and Meghalaya. Last year she revisited Meghalaya and explored with a different perspective. She has not been to the other seven sisters barring Sikkim. Her favourite place in Meghalaya is the Double Decker Root Bridge in Nongriat village. She absolutely adores the stay in the village, the people, the Rainbow falls and not to forget the trek too. She also finds the natural springs alluring.

A fact that she loves about Northeast is that she found it quite cleaner compared to other cities in India. The people and well informed, friendly and welcoming. She says, “Northeast is also rich in various cultural arts where you will find someone on the guitar, someone singing or someone dancing to the tunes of the guitar. It is fascinating to see how culturally infused the environment is.”

Why did she decide to travel with us?

Sharmona had heard about Chalohoppo from the musicians who had travelled with us. She says, “During my last visit to Northeast I had met these musicians who had travelled with Chalohoppo and had given very good reviews about you guys. I see you guys on instagram and I love the work you’re doing. Your Nagaland itinerary impressed me the most for it covers a side of Nagaland which many people do not. The way you guys travel and I travel are very similar.  It was lovely interacting with you guys when you approached me and I look forward for a lovely experience when we meet.”

What is her tip for the solo traveler?

Solo travelling according to Shramona has become a big hype in the recent time but nevertheless one should travel solo at least once in their lives. She says, “The best part about your first solo travel is the experience – the feeling of independence that you can do things on your own.”

Her tip for the solo traveller is to not have any expectations, but to go with an open mind to experience things. It is important not to get too attached to the bucket list or tick things shown on the internet.

Before I went to the Umngot river I had seen crystal clear water but, when I went there it was all murky due to the heavy showers but nevertheless I had my own share of fun. She added  when one travels solo, “It becomes necessary to trust your instincts as you have no one to rely upon but you are your own caretaker. So whenever your instinct says this place is not right don’t go for it. Trust your instincts all the time. Carry a pepper spray and keep your money at different places for if you lose your wallet you still have some money to spare. If possible keep one person informed about your whereabouts if you have network.”

How does she spend her time when she isn’t travelling?

When Shramona is not travelling she manages her mom’s saree boutique back in her hometown. She looks after the online sale and social media part of it along with her sister. She also does a lot of freelancing work with various brands. Other than these, she love dancing,  watching movies and tv shows.

How can you meet them?

What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to connect with them in person. You can choose to book your seats for any or all of the trips below:

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