A travel photographer by profession and passion, Ajay Sood is one of the top Indian travel bloggers of India. His Instagram feed is an array of incredible landscapes, people, streets, and architectures. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he has covered most of the continents during his travel.
What prompted you to go on your first journey? I was 9 years old and my parents had to visit my grandparents’ place in Phagwara, which is a town 35km from my hometown, Ludhiana. My grandma was a brilliant cook. So, visiting her was always a treat. I insisted I’ll also come to Phagwara after school gets over. So, I travelled alone as a 9-year old. And, ever since, got hooked on travel. What’s your favourite travel destination? That destination had remained on my bucket list for decades. It was only late last year (November 2017) when I finally visited Iceland. The place has all the magic I had expected. It has some of the largest glaciers in Europe you can snowmobile for miles on, craziest eerie ice caves that you can sing in, sprawling natural Jacuzzis (thermal baths) for sipping a chilled beer in arctic winters, Northern lights that remind you of a discotheque, caves filled with centuries-old lava, stunning landscape you can’t get enough of, gigantic waterfalls that inspire awe, and… and a large number of ‘Game of Thrones’ locations. What’s that one travel gadget you always keep in your backpack? My iPhone with scores of apps that range from Translate Voice Pro (my go-to app in countries where very few can communicate in English), The Photographer’s Ephemeris (it tells me the sunrise/sunset time and direction of sun at any spot I plan to shoot in), Night Sky (helps me find the Pole Star during my Astro-photography night outs), and many more. Do you have a favourite travel book or a travel movie? My favourite movie is ‘Into the wild’. The biographical story of Christopher from ‘Alexander Supertramp’ to ‘The Magic Bus’ is a story of someone who is a true explorer at heart. My favourite book is ‘Atlas Obscura’. As the foreword of the book mentions it, this book is not for travellers, but for explorers. A piece of advice for all the wanderlust-ERS out there? Here’s a money-saving travel hack. When abroad, don’t exchange currency. Use ATM. You’ll save around 8%. A travel quote that always inspires you to travel. Leave behind only footsteps. Bring back only memories.
Archana Singh is an award-winning travel writer and speaker. Her impressive storytelling and photography skills have made her travel blog extremely popular around the world. Archana’s Instagram feed is a testimony of her travel adventures.
What prompted you to go on your first journey?
Thanks to an army background and hostel life, I have been traveling since I was a kid. But one trip that changed my outlook on solo travel was my trip to Europe in 2012. I was a bundle of nerves when I went on that trip, but since then, there has been no looking back.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
Japan. I loved it for the unique mix of culture and modernity it offers. I visited it during the autumn season when the whole country was ablaze with autumn foliage.
What’s that one travel gadget you always keep in your backpack?
Camera either in the form of a mobile phone or a DSLR/GoPro.
Do you have a favorite travel book or a travel movie?
Into the Wild for presenting the true essence of travel and finding oneself while travelling to unknown territories.
A piece of advice for all the wanderlust-ERS out there?
Travel is like an addiction and you can never have enough of it. With every travel, you grow as an individual. My only advice would be to travel with an explorer’s open mind and be adaptable. The humbler and grounded you become, the more love you get in return. Also, travel for the love of travel not just for the GRAM.
A travel quote that always inspires you to travel.
Happiness is only real when shared.
A brilliant, brilliant photographer and solo traveler, Neelima Vallangi is a true inspiration to budding travelers and explorers. If you’re having a bad day, just go to her Instagram profile and scroll through her feed for some refreshing pictures of heavenly landscapes. Neelima is a trekker, adventurer, and you will mostly find her in the mighty Himalayas.
What prompted Neelima to go on your first journey?
She started her travel journey in 2008. It was her trip to Ladakh with family when she first witnessed India’s diversity. Her first time in the Himalayas turned into an obsession.
What kind of travel does Neelima like?
Neelima is a sucker for adventure, trekking, and anything that involves traveling to the magnificent Himalayas.
What are Neelima’s top travel experiences?
She has stalked a snow leopard in Ladakh, snorkeled in one of the world’s most pristine coral reefs, hiked for a whole month in Turkey, explored the vast steppes of Mongolia by a truck for weeks, spent a lot of time in the snowfields and slopes of Himalayas.
What I love About it: Along Dusty Roads authors, Andrew and Emily are one of the best travel photographers in the travel blogging game. All of their articles are accompanied by abundant of information and stunning photographs that will inspire anyone to visit the place.
Their article about The Forgotten Animals of Bolivia has not just amazing photography but also a clean design that put the focus on the content first and foremost and is easily digestible. I remember reading their blogs extensively when I was traveling in Colombia and Ecuador.
What I love About it: Camels & Chocolate is one of the most colorful travel blogs out there. Kristin, the owner of the blog, really paid a lot of attention to her blog’s design from the on-point color scheme to the aesthetic of her photography.
Every element of the landing page works in harmony with her content. Articles like “Real-Life Narnia: A Guide to Jasper” also put focused on photography, making it feels like we are traveling with her.
What I love About it: Aileen is one of my favorite travel blogger. She writes her travel articles from a perspective of a third-world country passport holder (like me) and she shares her story with amazingly thorough detail, pastel-colored photography and easily digestible list.
The aesthetic of her articles just screams how much attention she paid to design. Plus, her articles are always accompanied by a stunning cover photo with on-point typography.
A great example of her unique aesthetic can be seen on her “DIY Trip Hong Kong Itinerary: 5 Days (More Or Less) W/ Macau Day Trip” article.
What I love About it: Jungles in Paris takes travel storytelling into a deeper level away from the usual topics travel blogs like to write and more in the territory of a deeper understanding of countries’ cultures and traditions. It’s a breath of fresh air to read stories about “The Amazon Most Endangered Hunters” than another guide to a city or a country.
What I love About it: 12 HRS has a concept they stick to that I really like. You guess it, it’s the “12 Hours in” series that provides not just a detail guide on how to spend your limited time in a city, but also the guides are clearly divided into hours with phenomenal typography and stunning photography. Imagine a high-quality magazine but on the web.
What I love About it: The Travel Episodes does not just take storytelling to the next level with their writings but also with video clips, sound effects, and photography. It’s like reading a futuristic storybook that teleported you to the place.
For example, the Hitchhiking through Pakistan entry, when you first landed on the page, you are already feeling the tense atmosphere of the video playing in the background, and the more you read through easily-digestible paragraphs, the more you wants to see how it all went down. The Travel Episodes blog takes travel blogging into the realm of short stories like no other travel blogs I have seen.