Shilpa George, one of the founders of Chasing Sunsets talks to us about her journey so far and how the blog has changed her life.
Join us in our Coffee With Stayzilla with the inspiring, Shilpa.
DESIGN CREDITS: ARAVIND AZHAGAPPA
Traveller | Blogger | Writer at Chasing Sunsets
Mentions | Holidify’s Top Travel Bloggers | Outlook Traveller | Womprenuer
Contributions | The Culture Trip | Tripoto | Conde Nast Traveler | Trip Advisor
1. The concept of three travel bloggers from around the world coming together to start a travel blog is quite interesting. How did this come about?
We are three friends, all from India, who studied together in the US in 2011 and eventually split up, following our careers to different parts of the world. 2 years later, we decided to meet in Greece and that is where it all started. A beautiful sunset in the village of Oia, Santorini is what I remember and my need to document that crazy feeling I had.
Along the way, in the past 3 years, we collected accolades and have worked with tourism boards across the world to put the countries we visit on the travel map.
This blog in a way has motivated us to travel a lot more in search of fresh content and has inspired us to take the path less trodden.
2. Having travelled in India and outside it, how do the two experiences rank, especially considering woman travelling alone in India is still a big deal.
I have never travelled alone in India and I do not think I can. Don’t get me wrong, I have always lived in India and even though I am in the US now, I will definitely come back to India.
Our country has a lot to offer. There is a little bit of everything in India, Switzerland beauty, Thailand beaches, European festivals etc. but you need patience in India. Travelling in other countries is easy, you simply need a map and enough money and you are covered.
3. How hard is it to plan trips considering that there are three people living in different parts of the world? Any tips on budgeting for your fellow travel enthusiasts?
We essentially pick a place from the map which is equal distance for the three of us (US, Europe and India) and since I am always the trip planner, I end up sending the other two excel sheets of our itinerary, stay and a budget estimate.
Instagram is my main source of inspiration. I check the pictures of the places I want to cover and then worry about how and when to cover it. So far, we have not taken the backpack route and love a little luxury in our lives. We drive everywhere and stay at Homestays or boutique hotels.
4. Which one would you choose and why?
Treehouse | Jungle House | Boat House | Hill to House | Beach House | Tent | Skyscraper
If I have to choose, I would choose a Treehouse only because we have not yet stayed in one! Looking for a good one in the next place we go – Thanks for the idea btw!
5. What is your most memorable holiday stay experience other than a hotel or a resort?
I am a great advocate of Homestays and the likes. While not all have been good experiences, the best one I can think of has been one such.
While visiting Oia, Santorini, we stayed at a family run place that had a couple of ‘apartment-houses’ for rent. The owners had been living in this house for the past couple of generations and renting it was just a means of making some money for them. For us, though, it was the ultimate luxury. The white houses with blue roofs with a view of the sea from our windows was the cherry on top of the cake. When we opened our door, a big swimming pool greeted us with this brilliant view. The road leading down to see the sunset were crooked routes in between neighbour’s kitchen and dining rooms. I never felt more awesome.
We have always tried to make a positive impact whenever we travel and have tried hard not to be a regular ‘tourist’. We stay with the local folks and take great interest in the local arts and crafts. We meet artisans and write about their life and their need to carry on with the age old traditions. I don’t remember a time when I have come back without any souvenirs from each country!
Shilpa’s Coffee With Stayzilla is both inspiring and a true testament to the changing times for women travellers!