Traveling Transformed This Full Time Marketer Into A Full Time Travel Blogger And An Author Of A Travel Fiction
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

29th Jan | 6 min read

Table of Contents

    Meet Ami Bhat, she is a postgraduate in marketing who has worked for almost 15 years in the field of branding and advertising before taking a break and switching to travel writing and photography. Besides her travel blog – Thrilling Travel, she has written for many publications and websites like BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Deccan Herald, etc. She finally entered the world of authors with her first book – a travel fiction – When Places Come Alive. You can also check out her on Instagram.

    Tired of traveling alone? Connect with users from over 190 countries to plan trips and travel together!
    Try GAFFL

    What Inspired Me To Start Traveling

    Traveling was always a part of my life. Whether work or pleasure, I have always enjoyed my journeys. With a crazy corporate life, there was always this need to escape the madness and spend some quality time with my family. Every long weekend was the perfect opportunity to embark on a new adventure. For me, it is my dose of adrenaline that I feel restless without. And naturally, like all addicts, I need it every now and then.

    My Travel Frequency And Activities I Enjoy

    As often as I can. Pre-covid, it was at least once a month and sometimes more. I enjoy all forms of travel. Heritage destinations and their stories tend to bring out the Indiana Jones in me while adventure activities like scuba diving and hiking are kind of therapeutic for me. I love wildlife and bird watching for the sheer variety and learning that I get along the way. Basically, travel anywhere is what I enjoy.

    How I Choose Travel Destinations and The Preparations Afterwards

    For my personal family trips, I tend to take into account how versatile the destination is. I try to pack in a bit of adventure for my daughter, a little relaxation and nature for my hubby and for me – well like I mentioned, anything works.

    Family trips generally range from a week to a fortnight – depending on how many vacation days we have. For solo and work trips, it depends on the destination and what needs to be covered.

    Preparation for me is a lot of research- some to figure offbeat places to visit within the destination, what is the best way to get there, do's and don'ts of the culture, etc.

    How I Pack For My Trips

    My phone, my documents, and my camera are a must. I have a ready reckoner of sorts – one for beach destinations that include beachwear, scuba and snorkeling gears, sunblock, and one for the mountains with warmer thermal wear, layers, etc. It has now almost become mechanical for me to get these in.

    Safety Precautions I Take While Traveling Solo

    For one, my phone becomes my safety cover. I like to ensure that I am connected to the world and hence if it means getting a sim or a wi-fi connection, be it so. Researching the destination prior to travel helps me understand what are the acceptable modes of transport, what are the public timings, where is the best place to find a hotel etc. Based on that, I book my itinerary and ensure that the touchpoints are well sorted. I tend to leave behind an email or a copy of the same with my family.

    I also, try to dress down – keep it comfortable and respectful. This is to avoid unnecessary attractions and I do avoid late evening ventures.

    Countries I Visited And Felt Safer For Solo Traveling

    I don’t really count countries or places. I believe, it is the experiences that make your travel richer, even if it is in your backyard. On the one last count, I recall it being over 25 countries.

    I can’t really pinpoint one country that is super safe for women. All of them felt secure – Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, UK, France, Netherlands – I was just as comfortable everywhere.

    Locals are an important part of my travel. I have loads of memories and friends made with the interactions during my visits. It is had to pinpoint a favorite.

    “When Places Come Alive?” And My Future Plans About Writing More Travel Books

    Every destination triggered my imagination with its stories. Sometimes it would emerge from the local folklores, and sometimes from the landscape and culture. I would imagine people, their way of living, what they did, etc. These stories would keep playing back over and over again – long after I returned. It is these stories that I wrote down as my book. For me, these tales are what brought places alive.

    The book has 10 short stories that revolve around different characters and their lives. They are set in different cultural scenarios. At the end of every story, I share the actual inspiration behind the tale – the remnants of the place, traditions, and practices that continue from them.

    A few spoilers – there is a story that revolves around a prevalent Hindu practice in Nepal. It involves the Living Goddess of Nepal. Then, there is another tale that comes all the way from Bhutan based on an actual phenomenon that happens every year and no one has been able to explain that.

    The initial reception of the book has been positively encouraging and I am motivated to write a sequel to the same. I might just start it soon.

    What Inspired Me To Become A Travel Blogger

    As a frequent traveler, I used to get a lot of questions from my friends and colleagues on various destinations. They would want to know where to visit, where to stay, what can be done etc. My travel blog started as a hobby to answer these questions while detailing out my own memories and experience. Over time, it has evolved in some ways but the basic premise still remains the same – sharing information about destinations and travel through my own experiences. I would simply put it as – storytelling with lots of tips and suggestions.

    Managing Cost And Traveling On A Budget

    There is always an upper limit I assign while I try not to cross. That helps me decide on a few activities during my trip. For example, I wanted to try rafting in Bhutan but the cost was frightful. Instead, I dropped that in favor of exploring a completely new place that was not initially a part of my itinerary. It cost me lesser and I honestly, loved the experience.

    Going local is another great way to manage costs. I try to hire local cabs or eat in local restaurants – turns out to be way more effective. Staying local in the BNBs or guest houses definitely helps cut the costs.

    How I Manage My Work and Travel

    I am now a full-time travel writer and photographer. While I am traveling, I am expected to do social media for my clients and blog for them. I tend to use the major part of the day exploring and gathering details and it is only once I return to my hotel or room, I do the social media. There are times where the itineraries are so packed or the network is bad – in those cases, I get back home and publish the posts.

    My blog and writing always happen after the trip. One main reason for this is that the time helps me soak in the experience that I have already had.

    Advice For The Solo Female Travelers

    Start small, start local. Explore your backyard first. This will help you get over the fear and will also, help you understand what you need to research for when you travel to the bigger destinations.

    New to our blog? Here are some of our inspiring solo traveler's stories worth checking! 

    Tired of traveling alone? Connect with users from over 190 countries to plan trips and travel together!
    Try GAFFL