In a society where children come with pre-decided careers and especially girls who are looked to in a certain way, it often takes courage to pursue something one is passionate about. Sometimes it is to let the artist inside sore, a writer to bloom and a traveller to explore. Moreover, not every time is it about what you can give back to the world. But, finding the secrets of the world that you live in and discovering the vivid is what makes you who you are. Along the same lines is our today’s bucket lister. Shraddha Gupta achieved her wishlist of solo travel and finding art along the way.
Growing up as an artist and then to a designer from National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Shraddha Gupta found her bit in her travel stories where she discovered the language of art and design through the people she met and places she explored. In conversation with her, one gets an in-depth understanding of how she started travelling, her search for art, a travel blog that came up in the process and passion that drove her every single day. But, most importantly, the design of the world that makes each beautiful in its own way.
An Inspiration To Break Life’s Monotony
Just like each traveller out there, travel was a way to escape the monotony that life throws your way. In 2012, when the idea of solo travel was still very foreign in the country, Shraddha took her time to convince her family for a long break. With that, she landed a volunteering work in an NGO, “LHA” in McLeodganj, Dharamshala. Her work included teaching English to the Tibetans in exile.
Furthermore, every other volunteer came from different part of the world and soon they became Shraddha’s family in the mountains. She remembers that it was this very trip that inspired her to travel more, meet new people and get all the experiences. It was the recharged sense that she had come back with that drove her to continue her passion.
A Life-Changing Solo Ride
The month-long volunteering trip to McLeodganj had given an insight into life like no other. However, journeying to a foreign land with no known face around can be a daunting experience. One might feel the need to browse through their phones and question the decisions taken. With time, it subsides, and all you have got to do is take a step forward, and you will have a neverending land of opportunities.
After her time in the mountains, Shraddha realised that she craved for that experience again and again. Since then, she has gone for various solo treks, silent retreats, a solo trip to Mexico, Ladakh and Spiti. Being foreign in an independent land gave her a sense of self-awareness and confidence that she carried in her personality ever since. It is not about being alone but about the strangers that you meet along the way.
The First Solo Travel
“My first student was a nun from Tibet who practised her spoken English with me while teaching me a Tibetan word every day in return,” Shraddha recalled with a sense of pride in her voice. It was a fresher perspective with something she’d never think she would learn.
Her volunteering experience was the first story that she had written for the local newsletter published by the “LHA” itself in McLeodganj. Moreover, during the stay, she often contributed Tibetan stories to the newsletter. It required her to talk to a lot of immigrants and understanding their culture deeply. Every story that she researched for and wrote made her realise how less she knew about the world outside, people, cultures and their politics.
The more people she met from different part of the world from different upbringing, society and culture to even the choice of food and music, she realised how vast the world was. And, with her being just a minute part of it all. Every story drove her curiosity and every trip then on came with a perspective to learn and grow.
The First Bucket List Milestone
In 2012, Shraddha went for the Chadar Trek in Leh, Ladakh. It is considered one of the wildest trek in the world with unforgiving temperature drops. Moreover, it was one of her solo trips, where she was determined to push her limits, both physically and emotionally.
She admitted that she had never been much of a trekker and wasn’t very built-in her stamina. Hence, the trek was intimidating at first. However, her successful trail along the rugged path was a cure to that. It provided her with the understanding that a woman tended to perform equally great in a trek as much as a man. More than the physical strength, it required a stronger mind. Will power always goes a long way, and the Leh-Ladakh trek helped her find that power in herself.
Shraddha recalled how fashion, art and design had been an integral part of travelling. Travel is about the places one visits and especially the traditions and heritage that shape the area. May it be a big country or a small neighbourhood, it moves you with a different colour palate, smells of mixed spices and changing languages that are music to the ears. Moreover, people, one meets express their culture in what they wear and how they dress up.
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On Sharaddha’s visit to Mexico City, she found how involved the city was in its own art. With splashes of vibrant colours, the country boasted of a very strong Frieda Kahlo vibe its fashion. Whereas, in contrast, Toronto City was a mix of graffiti, historic brick buildings and clean glass doors and windows.
In addition to that, her discovery of Puerto Rico was through its strong voice of political opinion throw its street art and historic architecture in bold colours. On the other hand, her view of London was pure fashion, trendy and contemporary. One can instantly remeber places and experience them differently through what they see on the streets through its style, art and design.
StreetTrotter: The Heart Child
StreetTrotter is a blog that started with Shraddha’s love for storytelling and a passion for exploration. After her course in design, Shraddha had ventured into journalism, and her blog gave her much needed a break from the strict business writing. Eventually, it had transformed into a personal blog. However, over time, it became a platform that spoke of global culture, design, creative professionals, wellness, climate change and travel stories of other travellers as well.
The objective was to bring more stories that were worth telling everyone willing to read and listen. Moreover, to produce good journalism content in the areas of travel, culture as well as design.
An Ever-Changing Bucket List
Talking about her bucket list, Shraddha found her bucket list to be an ever-changing idea of experiences. She keeps ticking off things she wants to do soon and adding stuff along the way.
Currently, she lives in Toronto with a bucket list goal of finding a new job that she loves. Further on, she dreams of taking a vacation, living in a treehouse in Costa Rica and volunteering at the textile community of Peru.
One thing is for sure; Shraddha moves forward with the belief that life is too short to live in a box, especially when the society is brutal. Moreover, she believes that passion is everything – be it reading a new book, becoming more fit, solo travel, trying a new career, contributing to the community or just scuba diving one fine day. Don’t overthink and stay away from people who make one analyse their choices. Solo travel is the way to finding oneself truly!