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Meet Anjaly Thomas, author of Almost Intrepid – a book that talks about the adventures of a solo Indian woman traveller.
Anjaly Thomas is a lawyer-turned-journalist-turned-travel writer based out of Dubai. In Almost Intrepid, she shares her experiences of travelling off the beaten track and hopes to dispel the myths surrounding solo travel.
Why did you decide to write Almost Intrepid?
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Well, it seemed such a great idea to combine two of my passions – writing and traveling. Also, when going around the world in a very wide circle, I did not come across any Indian backpacker (man or woman), doing things that I did. Yes, I met the occasional tourist complaining about not finding their “homemade” breakfast in Turkey or Thailand and it seemed to me that my own experiences at not finding anything familiar but adapting to the unfamiliar needed speaking about. That, coupled with my absolute lack of preparation during traveling led me to many pleasant surprises, peeled away a lot of layers of insecurity and myths about traveling.
I thoroughly enjoyed all that I experienced – living out of a bag, hanging out with perfect strangers, eating with locals; I thought it was important to share that experience and hoped in some way to prove that the world is a safe place for women wanting to go solo.
Almost Intrepid makes it clear that you love solo travel. But what is the one thing that you dislike about travelling solo?
There is nothing I detest about traveling solo! I love everything about it – right from the anonymity and long, lengthy phases of absolute silence – I love everything.
You talk about the friendships and relationships that you forged on your travels in Almost Intrepid. Don’t you find it difficult to keep bidding goodbyes?
There is a saying among us travellers – the world is round and we will meet someplace! Bidding goodbyes are never very sad – because hope springs eternal that we will someday meet again. Meeting people and bidding goodbyes is an integral part of travel. If we don’t part, how will we meet again?
I am in touch with a lot of people I have met during the course of my travels. We connect better because we have, at some point in time experienced the same things in some part of the world – and loved it – so the connect is better!
Given your love for travel, do you think you will ever be able to “settle” down in one place?
Hmm, I really cannot answer that honestly right now. All I can say is, there is really no need to give up one thing for the other – life is all about maintaining a balance and I have managed very well so far and will continue to do so.
What tips would you give to aspiring travel writers?
Follow your dreams – it is the only thing that will keep you alive. Never mind if someone rejects your story, always remember that people love to hear a good story and eventually, if you keep at it, someone will always be there to help you tell it. Keep writing – and then write again.
Who are your favourite travel writers?
I really do not read a lot of travel books – for some reason I like to come upon a place or an experience all on my own. It’s a lot of fun. But I did read Jerome K. Jerome and Bill Bryson and thoroughly loved the way they treat travel!
*Photo source: Anjaly Thomas.
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