This blog features a passionate “traveller” who is willing to share the secrets and experiences of her travels with us. Her name is Nickolai Kinny, a Travel Blogger and Co-founder of TravelBud.
She knew that travelling was her passion from a very young age and she figured that she might not always have the time or the money, so she got herself a job that would pay her to do so. She graduated in tourism studies and did her masters in tourism management. She decided that in ‘writing’ was her true strength and decided to take up travel writing and content writing in tourism. For a long period, she wrote for various brands of diverse domains as a freelancer, until she finally decided to set up TravelBUD.
TravelBUD – Wondering what it does???
TravelBUD provides consultation in communications for tourism. They not only write about travel, take photographs, capture videos and organise events, but also get down to the extent of itinerary/ product designing, carrying out research on travel trends and marketing in tourism etc., with a sole aim to encourage travel among others.
Talking about when it all started, Nickolai remembers getting bit by this travel-bug when she was only eight years old. She used to watch ‘Globetrekker’ hosted by Ian Wright, who simply mesmerized her, capturing her attention with his travel adventures through the far-off lands. It was then that she decided she should make the most of her time doing just that. “Apart from an incurable wanderlust, I also suffer from ‘messy traveller’s hair’” Nickolai says wittily.
One does not need a year of planning for luxurious and extravagant travels. It’s all about what’s in your heart. Every trip has been memorable in a conscious or subconscious way for Nickolai, as she came back learning something new and being exposed to lifestyles that are extremely different from her immediate environment. It is about searching for Love, Delight and Insights. More than just to travel, it is best to take up a journey with a purpose. Travelling is the best opportunity to learn many lessons and being exposed to the possible shift in your perceptions… be it a new cuisine, a new language or even a new art form. Why? Because it is an open door for us to step out of the box, experience things different from what we have been accustomed to and see something beyond what we have yet imagined. Memories from our travels help create a richer lifestyle for ourselves.
Some unforgettable memories
If she still had to list out four most memorable trips so far, for Nickolai it would be Scuba Diving in the Andamans, Cycling through Himachal, Living in a treehouse inside the Sariska National Park and Camping in the dunes of Rajasthan.
Talking about her experience visiting Kangra and Bir-Billing, Nickolai suggests, “They are smaller places which not many people normally visit in Himachal Pradesh. But if you are a keen traveller, she would definitely recommend them to be put on your list.” It was here she saw, the most beautiful sunset standing atop of a mountain, overlooking a valley with the sun setting at a distance in a pinkish glow, with the clouds in front. Finally, the nearby house lit up in the dark to symbolise the life beneath the clouds. “It was breath-taking!” She recalls, “When people say Himachal is like heaven on earth they aren’t lying, because when you begin to ascend higher up the mountains, you can almost see yourself within the clouds. This experience is about the participation, personal encounter and even the challenges you face along the journey.”
The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in lower Himalayas. Being a tea fanatic and the Kangra being evergreen with its tea gardens, Nickolai got the opportunity to volunteer at different tea estates and learned the process of Kangra tea being made. Their green tea is by far the best tea to drink.
Bir is a tiny village consisting of various Tibetan colonies residing around the chief monasteries there. Nickolai got to live and study meditation at the Deer Park Institute, apart from teaching English and also got involved in their zero waste programs. There is also a factory where the Tibetan prayer flags were being made on one of many walks around this tiny village, as she savoured on all the MoMo’s she could for only Rs. 30 a plate, before heading back to Mumbai where they are available for double the price.
Billing village usually draws outdoors enthusiasts, adventure junkies and thrill-seekers. This is one of the best places in India to Para-glide, hike and camp, all of which you get to check off your list and each comes with a thrill of its own.
When asked about some of the things travel has taught her, Nikola simply has this to say, “How little we need, in order to survive in this world and also how to classify a want and a need?” Her perspective towards herself and towards life changes every time she is back from a new destination…because she is affected by experiences that she would never have if she stayed in the city. It has also taught her that one should trust their instinct, to believe in themselves, to be thankful and to leap far out and keep wandering. This means that one should be very sensitive and keen to appreciate every kind and degree of beauty, charm, enchantment and thrill. The only thing required is a very passionate heart.