Hailing from Mumbai, Divya Prasad, travel blogger at Obsessive Compulsive Traveller, calls the Himalayas her true home. Currently, she lives in a Gaddi village called ‘Khirku’ in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. She is committed to freelance writing and travel blogging with a special interest in energy healing with her arts venture, Iktomi. She weaves crystal dream catchers, mandalas and sacred geometric arts energized by her with Prana (life force) for healing manifestations.
Having been a former full-time writer in Advertising, Divya quit her job when she realized she was so caught up in the rut that she could hardly pause and reflect on what she was doing with her time and energy. She then took a sabbatical to follow her passions and do what really mattered – travel and most importantly, just be. With her passion for stories, writing, arts and travel, she set out on a journey to explore the tribal circuit of Himachal Pradesh via Spiti and journeyed through Ladakh for three months.
Divya lives in tiny, unknown villages, with tribes and souls who have warmed her heart. She has trekked mountains and documented folklore alongside volunteering with refugee kids in Ladakh.Divya says, “The exploration of the cosmos was within and outside me, and this felt healing and transformational.” This journey made her feel meaningful and the expansion of consciousness and spirit was much liberating.
“Overtime, I realized that home is a feeling I carry in my heart. And happiness a state of being. The landscapes change, mountains change, you meet new souls, but the home is within me. It’s a never-ending learning process that lets me transform and evolve in spirit. More than anything, it makes way for gratitude and even more blessings in my life.”
After Energy Healing happened to Divya, she started practicing as a healer and this opened up new paths for her. With Iktomi, she earns a living – conducting workshops, weaving dreamcatchers and working with crystals. Divya continues writing and sharing her stories on her blog. She says, “I could never thank the universe enough and I feel gratitude for these blessings in my life.”
Let’s get to know more about Divya over a cup of Coffee with Stayzilla.
DESIGN CREDITS: ARAVIND AZHAGAPPA
Travel Blogger | Freelance Writer at Obsessive Compulsive Traveller
Energy Healer | Crystal Lover | Energy Artist | Weaver at Iktomi
Former Copywriter | Creative Copy Supervisor | Digital Advertising | Grab Your Dream
Mentions | Medium – Badass Female Traveller | Tourist Link | Holidify
Contributions | ToRoots | Tripoto | The Travellist | Plush Escapes | The Itch List
Coffee With Stayzilla: A Conversation With Divya Prasad
1. What is the story behind the Obsessive Compulsive Traveller? What inspired you?
It all began with the Himalayas. I was love-struck and deeply moved by the beautiful souls and stories I met with. My blog was merely a medium of expression. Till date, I share a story only if I feel like. I don’t feel pressured to post something because I have to keep up. I can say, travel happened to me much earlier than blogging.
I have always felt deeply about mountains, tribes, folk, art, spirituality, culture, mythology, and anthropology. I have been documenting folklore, culture, tribes and stories in the mountains. I share a deep love for these oral traditions and tales that have been preserved by ancestors and passed on from one generation to another. The beauty lies in the fact that these tales existed for generations, are deep rooted and made its way to us. I intend to keep exploring many more soulful stories.
2. Have you been anywhere that turned out to be completely different from what you had imagined? Where and how?
It has to be chilling in Zanskar in winters. I have always arrived in Ladakh after the tourist season. There’s a magical side to Ladakh in winters, which is hidden away for the rest of the year. On some days, the temperatures dipped to minus 40 degrees while I sat there embracing the snowy mountains, sipping on Gur Gur Cha’s; having conversations with grandmothers and great grandmothers.
I experienced a completely different side of Ladakh in winters, which it has kept hidden since very few outsiders live in Ladakh during winters. I witnessed the Dosmoche Festival which is a celebration to welcome the spring. I met the shamans of Ladakh at a sacred ceremony at the monastery in Stok village. I shared my time with refugee kids, taking them on picnics. There’s so much to learn from the people who are happy and content even in the harshest conditions.
3. What has been your most life-changing travel experience?
Reflecting on life at Komic village in Spiti. These were the moments when my heart fluttered just as the Lungtas were adorning the Komic Gompa. This is where everything shifted inside me. I set out on a journey via the tribal circuit of Himachal after taking a sabbatical from my job. I was at Komic – the highest inhabited village in Spiti. The humble family that hosted me there asked me if I want a pair of Ammonites which they gathered high up in the forests. I accepted those ammonites since I was drawn to them. Those moments there, were life-changing, just being present at Komic village.
Back then I didn’t trace the reason why I accepted those ammonites. Later on, when I began learning energy healing and was initiated into crystal healing, I understood that those ammonites were metaphysical treasures to have. In fact, two months before I learned Crystal healing, I happened to go on a trek to the Great Himalayan National Park in Banjar Valley and found Clear Quartz crystal clusters high up on the trek. It was when I practiced crystal healing that I learned that Ammonites aid in bringing you on your soul path and that the soul path of the person who receives the ammonites is encoded within it. And Clear Quartz is known to be the master crystal.
Now when I feel deeply about these experiences, I am sure they happened for a purpose and I feel guided by the universe. I believe the ammonites and quartz chose to bring their blessings into my life and led me to my soul path. The light in these moments can only be realized through awareness and often seem illogical when narrated, and are real moments of magic. Despite a small pocket, I grew richer in spirit. After a one and half year sabbatical, I returned to Mumbai to work and save up for my travels. After working for a year, I decided to freelance and work on the go. By now, I had also found many homes to return to. Above all, it made way for gratitude in my life.
4. Which one would you choose and why?
Treehouse | Jungle House | Boat House | Hill top House | Beach House | Tent | Skyscraper
I would go with a hill top home because mountains will always be my first love. Every time I arrived at the Himalayas or left from there, it has been a magical blessing in my life. It always feels like home. That little home in the hills, a farm, a simple life and the road towards the light, always had my heart. So I decided to move here, freelance, commit to writing, travel, energy healing and to my spiritual arts venture, Iktomi.
On a beautiful morning, I could climb that snowy mountain sitting pretty under an umbrella of clouds, meditate or go an evening walk only to be stuck in traffic; with a herd of sheep. At any time, I can switch on my heart’s GPS without an internet connection. On another day, I could be sipping chai’s and listening to stories from grandmothers in the village. I have also learned to embrace the art of doing nothing and just be, one moment at a time. On days, I make that back-breaking, stomach churning ride on an HRTC state transport bus up a bumpy road to a nondescript village in the mountains. On a cold Himachali day, I make an important presentation – dancing to Himachali or Ladakhi folk songs. On the coldest Himachali day, I snuggle into a blanket or warm up by the Chulha (fireplace). On a Monday morning, I have meetings with mother earth; planting veggies on her or sweep the floor of our mud house with the turquoise hued ‘leune’ -a paste of cow dung and mud. On most days, my goals are to embrace joy and sharing that simple living brings.
Every single day, I appreciate the show put up by nature and feel grateful for these experiences. And every day, I have to share my time with our beloved baby goat ‘Chinna’, the dogs, sheep, rabbits and cows at my little Himachali home in Khirku. My journey to collect more and more folklore will continue. I intend to weave, energize and manifest many more beautiful dreams with Iktomi.
5. What is your most memorable holiday stay experience other than a hotel or a resort?
Homestays or camping is my preferred choice. I just returned from a journey to a place called Rakhala in the upper mountains of Kangra valley with the Gaddi women who go high up to graze their cattle during the monsoons and live there for three months. I met shepherds who were on the way to Chamba and had taken a break at Rakhala. I went exploring further up from Rakhala with the shepherds, and by then, had an invitation to stay in their makeshift tent.
I lay in that tent; under a pile of hand-woven woollen Gardus (heavy woollen shawls) with a view of a grand, starry Milky Way above me. I woke up to a cup of goat milk chai and shepherd calls. It beautiful to see how they communicate with their sheep as if they are tuned. It’s in moments like these, we feel so grateful and connected. Hearing tales and sharing these humble moments with shepherds for whom this is a way of life, was indeed, a heart-warming experience.
Divya’s Coffee With Stayzilla was filled with unique experiences and fascinating anecdotes. Her vision of life is intriguing and her life as a traveller is absolutely inspiring.