Abhinav Singh, a travel writer, photographer, and social media freak, is a certified travel junkie, having travelled to 100 plus destinations in India since 2010. Come join us as we uncover the inspiration behind Abhinav’s tryst with travel, over a steaming cup of coffee.
DESIGN CREDITS: ARAVIND AZHAGAPPA
Traveller | Photographer | Writer at Soul Window
Mentions | Top Travel Blogs | Holidify | We Solo Travel | Filter Copy
Contributions | Rail Bandhu | Lonely Planet | Nat Geo Traveller | Terrascape | Men’s Health
1. What’s the story behind Soul Window? What inspired you to be a traveller?
Soul Window is a labour of love. What has now become a profession, started on a deeply personal note! I was recovering from a family tragedy, when one fine day I whimsically planned a solo trip to Chennai, Mamallapuram, and Pondicherry from Mumbai. What followed was a series of similar trips. I realized that it not only helped me fight my inner demons but also gave me ample time to rediscover myself and the country I live in.
Soul Window is the product of many struggles, tears and sleepless nights. I spent all my money on travel, slept on overcrowded train floors, open fields, uncomfortable rickety buses, and even at strangers’ home. I have grown up in luxury and yet I chose to travel like a poor man so that I could travel more. It was all worth it!
2. With over 100 Destinations in 6 years, how did travel change you as a person? Please share some anecdotes/life-changing experiences.
Travel has helped me love myself and my country. It has helped me break myths and discover life on the field. I was an introverted person who lived in a shell, being brought up in a protective environment. But travelling has helped me realize that the world is not as bad as the newspapers claim. I have received kindness from strangers in the most unlikely of places.
3. Your special interest in adventure activities is quite intriguing. Share the most dangerous/breath-taking experience.
Thank you. The treks I did in Sahyadris (Maharashtra) were quite dangerous. During the Dhak Bahiri trek, I was dangling from a swinging stick on a rock with a sheer drop. I was without a harness and still fear what would have happened had I slipped. During Harihar Fort trek, we climbed up the fort swiftly and fearlessly during the night. The next morning when I descended I was horrified to see sheer drops along the steep rock cut stairs. I have somehow survived each time to tell the tale.
4. Which one would you choose and why?
Treehouse | Jungle House | Boat House | Hill to House | Beach House | Tent | Skyscraper
I would choose a tent because I like to put myself in difficult situations. In some of my treks in Maharashtra, my friends and I have foraged fuel wood from the forest, cooked our own food in the open, and slept under the sky, minus the tent.
5. What is your most memorable holiday stay experience other than a hotel or a resort?
A stay at my friend’s home has been my favourite. He has one of those traditional houses you see when you drive through the Mumbai-Goa highway. What stole my heart was the traditional home (with antique furniture), the smell of burning wood in the kitchen, the early morning call of birds through the woods, and the picking of fresh cashews from their private farm. Small experiences like these can beat a 5-star stay on any day. After all, life is all about small pleasures. Since then, I explore opportunities to stay with locals in their traditional homes.
Look our for more of these inspiring tales in the next edition of Coffee With Stayzilla!