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Managing a business while travelling all the time? Sounds crazy but this Travel entrepreneur is attempting it and shares her story.
By Shivya Nath
Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and made the road my home. Together with a sense of liberation, I’m carrying my travel business, IndiaUntravelled on the road with me.
Our small team of three travel enthusiasts at India Untravelled, a social enterprise, helps travellers discover the hidden gems of rural India and venture off the beaten path responsibly. Give us a backpack and a train ticket, and off we’ll go! For the last year and half of starting up, we have worked remotely, from locations as varied as Rajasthan, Goa and London on the same day. With a base in the capital city, I travelled constantly during this year and half, identifying partners for India Untravelled, while satiating my own need to travel. But the realities of being a nomadic entrepreneur are sinking in only after being on the road for more than a month, with nowhere to call home, and no place to go ‘back’ to.
The challenge of staying in and working on a day that you could be hiking in the mountains, or taking a swim in the sea, or trying the food at the other end of the village, or meeting an elder with the most fascinating stories, continues to remain just that – a challenge. As I continue to struggle with this challenge and draw new schedules every week, I find consolation in the fact that I can sometimes seat myself in a café on the edge of a hill, or in a beach shack, and work while soaking in the tranquility of the places I’m travelling to.
Forget everything else; the lack of Wifi on my travels has been the single most challenging aspect of managing a business while travelling. Journeying through the stunning locales of remote Indian villages, where even clean water and electricity are considered a blessing, demanding Wifi, or any form of Internet for that matter,can be a bit much. The constant need to be connected online for work has also been a constant source of concern in the first few weeks of travelling. I tried to seek out cafes, homestays, even hotels where I could have a few hours of uninterrupted access, though that’s seldom guaranteed outside of the cities.
After two weeks of travelling in remote parts of Karnataka without much Internet connectivity, I began to doubt the practicality of sustaining a young startup on the road. That led to my first tryst with slow travel – basing myself out of a single location for a week or two, and doing day trips to experience the region. Slow travel was a hit from the word go: it has not only ensured reliable connectivity as and when I need it to work, but has also let me indulge my travel aspirations on a deeper level; spending more time in a single place means really getting to experience the lifestyle, culture, food, and daily struggles of the locals for a considerable period of time. I spent three weeks in the hinterlands of Goa, home-staying with a Goan family in a sleepy village by the backwaters. And I pen this from a cosy hideout in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand, where I intend to stay for the next two weeks.
With slow travel comes endless inspiration, something that’s much needed for a young travel startup like India Untravelled, one that aspires to inspire everyone else to travel too. Since I gave up my base in Delhi, I’ve conducted business online from a beach home in coastal Karnataka, amid the majestic ruins of Hampi, watching the rains reveal the other side of Goa, and in the mighty Himalayas. After all, what can be more inspiring than to wake up with a view of the mountains or to the roaring sounds of the sea, and go to work with the feeling, this is an India I want the world to experience.
Pic credit: Shivya (working at a beach home in coastal Karnataka)