A food post after a long time... all the vegan (mis)adventures in Salzburg and Tyrol!
Incase you missed it... my keynote at the SoDelhi Confluence on how bloggers can (and must) think beyond commerical success, and think about what else we can use our "influence" for.
That night, 4 years ago, I decided to give up living at a permanent address, sold most of my belongings and made the road my only home. My latest blog post - looking back at my journey as a digital nomad 🤔
Earlier this year, I was the keynote speaker at the SoDelhi Confluence - and spoke about how bloggers can (and should) use their influence to drive positive change. Here's the video of the talk!
Would love some honest feedback :)
Back in one of my fav countries in the world... this is what I wrote about it the first time.
This was "home" and "office" the past week in the Bavarian Alps... Glad to have set up a life that allows me to work from far flung parts of the world and stay so close to nature.
What kind of life do you aspire to?
Remember some of those incredible Airbnbs I stayed at in Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Germany etc? Based on the last 4 years of travelling, I've written about my FAV Airbnb experiences across Europe – many of them under 100€ a night.
Jumping, rappelling, swimming, sliding down waterfalls - 8 degrees cold ⛄️... Canyoning in the Austrian Alps was thrilling (and a lil bit scary!).
Have you ever tried it, or would you?
Looking to escape somewhere in the Himalayas? I've updated this post with some incredible new finds in Uttarakhand!
"If you keep throwing wrappers like this, there’ll be no mountains left. All we’ll have are mountains of plastic." And as I told him that, it struck me that we should create exactly that – an artwork of a mountain of plastic to illustrate what we are doing to our mountains...
It is estimated that 300,000+ plastic bottles are dumped in Spiti every year. Here's how we can make a difference! -- with Spiti Ecosphere- Responsible Travel and Volunteering
A quick look at what we worked on in Spiti over the last 3 weeks... -- with Spiti Ecosphere- Responsible Travel and Volunteering
At the edge of Pin Valley National Park, with a feeling of being at the edge of the world itself, there is a special place called The Hermitage. Designed with local materials by a French volunteer, hosted by a sweet Spitian family, with nothing but the hum of Pin River below, with nothing but the barren mountains above, in a village best known for the beautiful silence in which nuns go into meditation retreats for as long as 3 years, where your own mind goes silent and you can smell the air and admire the big sunflowers and sit out all night gazing at the stupendous night sky. My kind of place... and if you're looking to reconnect with yourself, the locals, the river, the mountains, the night sky and life itself, I promise it's your kind of place too.
It is one thing to journey along these mountains in a car or on a motorbike, quite another to pedal with the wind in your face, huff up along steep hills, feel the contours in every breath you draw, marvel at the river gushing below and gaze up at the stark mountains to realise just how insignificant on earth you are...
My latest post: A collection of easy trips from Mumbai that I think have the power to change you - if you really want them to!
A list of Instagrammers I'm really glad to be part of :)
Thanks The Good Trade for the feature!
Our InstaMeet at 12,000+ feet in Kaza on 8th September was quite a success! And ended in the (not so surprise) unveiling of an art installation we've worked on over the last 3 weeks - a lifesize "I love Spiti" made entirely with discarded plastic bottles, now installed near the Kaza gate / Rangrik bridge as a reminder to every traveller, local and business about the need to say NO to plastic bottles in this eco-sensitive mountain desert.
We estimate that more than 3,00,000 plastic bottles are dumped in Spiti every season. Burning, burying and reusing them results in harmful chemicals being leeched into the groundwater and soil, and the nearest recycling centre is all the way in Punjab! Instead of drinking "Himalayan" water packaged in the plains, we can refill our bottles with clean, filtered Spitian water (with good minerals) at hotels across Kaza and in homestays in the upper villages. As part of this campaign, we are working with more restaurants and cafes to offer filtered water as well as creating awareness among locals on the ill effects of re-using these cheap plastic bottles to store water / alcohol.
On a lighter note, after our afternoon of thought-provoking discussions around responsible travel and the inauguration of the installation, our InstaMeet was crashed by the MLA, ADC and their convoy who happened to be driving past 🤠 How often does that happen?!
A big shoutout to the Spiti Ecosphere team, my fellow volunteers and everyone who stopped by to help in the days leading up to the meet, our artist Michael and installation leader Thanpa-ji, and everyone who showed up for the meet... in person and virtually on Instagram! Cliched though it sounds, I really think we can change mindsets and our impact on the places we visit if we continue working together 😇
I guess I had forgotten just how remote, isolated and surreal the upper villages of Spiti are. Life here puts mine in perspective.
Julley from Spiti 👋🏼 Inviting you to my first InstaMeet at 12,000+ feet in Kaza - in collaboration with Spiti Ecosphere- Responsible Travel and Volunteering.
Date: 8th September 2017
Venue: Sol Cafe, Kaza
InstaMeet hashtag: #ilovespiti
It'll be a day of fun and thought-provoking discussions around travel... and end in a walk around Kaza with a surprise unveiling!
Join us as we aim to work on solutions to Spiti's growing waste problem, especially plastic bottles that just land up in a dumping ground next to Spiti River (if not on the streets of Kaza). If you're in Spiti before 8th September, drop by at Taste of Spiti restaurant to volunteer with us! We're looking for creative minds and people passionate about the environment.
Know anyone who's heading to Spiti soon? Tag them. And share this post to spread the message 🙏 See you there!
My latest video: A little paradise in Uttarakhand, and why our travel choices matter!
A call for help: If you've travelled to the mountains anywhere in India, you know what a huge problem waste management is. The good folks at Waste Warriors have been working in Dharamsala - collecting 4 tonnes of waste from clean-up drives & 20 tonnes from door-to-door collection every month... but come monsoon season, it becomes really hard to segregate waste and many recyclables start rotting.
To overcome this challenge, they've started a crowd-funding campaign to raise 3 lakh rupees (5000$) to build a waste segregation and storage facility with a proper rain shelter. See the link in the first comment to make a contribution... every bit counts 😇
Photo by Nikshep Trinetra - who I first met in Munsiari and who is working on this project, so I know the $$$ will be put to good use!
Walking, cycling and canoeing in the protected forests, drinking "mahua" under incredibly starry night skies, and more reasons why Satpura National Park is unlike any other in India - in my latest blog post!
My first keynote - at the So Delhi Confluence yesterday, on a topic close to my heart...
Incredibly grateful to a great audience for their overwhelming feedback, and to all you guys for being part of my journey all these years <3
Perhaps he didn't speak our language, or perhaps he didn't speak at all. After hiking up a slippery gravel path, we were walking through lush green grasslands, towards a spot that overlooked a pristine beach. There seemed to be no one else around for miles.
He appeared out of nowhere, fell in step with us, and pointed towards a different way, filled with dense foliage and some ruins of a fort that once stood here. He kept motioning towards it, until we finally turned around and started walking that way. And just as mysteriously as he had appeared, he disappeared amid the wilderness.
That way, overgrown and full of obstacles though it was, led us here, to a cliff with densely forested hills on one side, a stunning empty beach on another, and an island with a lighthouse in the far distance on the sea. A pair of Brahmini Kites put up a show above us, the stormy skies drenched us in a quick shower, the sea breeze on my face felt surreal.
And just as the sun set, we saw that guy again, down on the beach, disappear into a dense grove of palm trees where there seemed to be only one mud hut. Perhaps he only spoke the language of the palms and the sea 😇
Mornings amid betel nut, coconut and cashew plantations. Silence and bird song. Reading Tolstoy.
Maachli Farmstay in Maharashtra - my kinda place 😍
Two Indians cycled 5883 km from Mumbai to Bangkok over 60 days! A must-see short film... Kudos.
Solitude and sunsets along the Malvan coast of Maharashtra 😍
The reason I haven't written a word on the blog in almost a month... a blogger's version of a mid life crisis?
Incase you haven't read the July issue of the magazine yet, here's my story on nearly 4 years of travelling without a home - on National Geographic Traveller India.
I've been on the hunt for Goa's best thalis 😉 One of them is Vinayak family resto, with Goan style daals, veggies, kokum and a mound of rice; all for 90 rupees!
Do you have a fav thali place in Goa?
An Indian couple (ages 73 & 64) did a road trip from Mumbai to London!
Reminder: It's never too late to chase a dream <3
Humbled and honoured to be on this cover, in such stellar company... 😌
Following me on Instagram yet? I'm @shivya there, and bring you live stories (good and ugly) from the road.
Leave me yours + your fav Instagram accounts in the comments!
This time last year, I learnt what it means to call a river "alive" on a beautiful, eye-opening, thought-provoking trip through Kerala. Follow my footsteps on a similar trip with The Blue Yonder, starting 14th July!