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I Travelled On A Budget Of Rs 300 A Day, Here Are 7 Reasons Why You Should Try It Too

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By Hitesh Bhatt

Two months ago when I decided to travel full-time, I had very limited money in my bank account. I had no other option but to travel cheap. Two months later when I have travelled to quite a few places in the northern part of India, I have realised the immense benefits of being a budget traveller.

1. Less Money, More People

FB_IMG_1441105457285If we have limited money, we’ll need people more than anything else: to hitchhike, to feed ourselves, to sleep in a cheap place or in our own tents, to know the directions, to travel. Money can buy any material for us, it can inflate our ego and it will definitely distant us from people because we won’t need them for our survival. A leisure/luxury traveller misses out on everyday-trivial-yet-important conversations that revolve around peoples’ lives. At least for people like me who see conversations as a must-have ingredient of travelling, low-budget really helps.

When I was in a village called Kalga in Himachal, I stayed at a place for Rs.50 per night. The hosts were such amazing people, that I can’t compare it with any hospitality offered to me by five-star hotel staffs. The reason is simple: The former were natural hosts while the latter were professionals. You get the point.

2. Test Your Limits

I read somewhere, “When you reach your limits, your limits expand.” In the consumerist world, there is no place for a poor person. Everyone needs to earn money to sustain a life. How much ever sad this is, this is the reality. When our pockets are empty, we go beyond our limits to fulfill our basic needs. From finding the cheapest place to have that afternoon meal to finding that reliable place where we can keep our bags without paying a penny to walking those extra miles out of the city to reach the highway; a budget traveller always tests their limits. I have walked many miles with 15 kg of luggage on me. Now I don’t even feel the pain in my shoulders. I can eat once a day and not feel weak or hungry. We are more than what we know of ourselves.

3. Kill Your Ego

DSC_0481We have an enormous amount of ego stored safely in us to make us miserable. The ego which we believe to be our self-respect (who accepts that they have an ego issue?) is doing more harm than any good. The ignorance of self, I, me, and mine makes us an egoistic person. In reality, we never try to observe our existence independent of our possessions. We are all the same people without our possessions. Without air, water, and food we all will die. We realize this when we travel with a very low-budget (INR 300 a day is mine). When we are out there in a far away place with no worldly possession and everything is at risk of being lost, we find ourselves. We happily and gracefully kill our ego and come out as a better person who values everything and everyone in life. What best could travel offer than this! I have found people mean to me, mocking me, judging me and I have realized that it is not my problem, it is theirs. I do not feel bad anymore, I just do not take the unnecessary offense which helps me focus on my work and move on.

4. Learn New Skills

IMG_20151106_082332When we are testing our limits and killing our ego every day, we become less judgmental. The real learning starts. We learn how to hitchhike, how to talk to anyone, how to convince a total stranger in a village to let you camp in their premise, how to cook food and enjoy it and what not. Since we are willing to do anything, all the strings in our mind loosen and we tighten them again like a new-born baby. We are aware, empty, and always ready. These skills, I believe, will help us in a long run as well. These are survival skills. (I am learning how to cook and enjoying it.)

5. Food Tastes Better

When we realize that life is more than satisfying our taste buds, we accept anything that comes on our plates. And surprisingly it tastes so good (better than KFC’s ‘soo goood’). We get to eat local food from different places that we enjoy with total strangers in their premises. And the conversations over food, Ah! inexplicable; tastier than the food. I make friends every day. I love the stories I hear during the meal. I love the sense of humor and simplicity with which people in the rural India live.Know Ground Realities: Apart from knowing who we are, what are our limits, what is our reality; we get to know the ground realities that are prevailing in peoples’ lives. We experience life situations at the bottom of the pyramid. When people share with us their stories, their struggles, their happiness, their tales, folklore; we learn how limited our problems are and also how limited our happiness is.

6. Know Ground Realities

Apart from knowing who we are, what are our limits, what is our reality; we get to know the ground realities that are prevailing in peoples’ lives. We experience life situations at the bottom of the pyramid. When people share with us their stories, their struggles, their happiness, their tales, folklore; we learn how limited our problems are and also how limited our happiness is.

7. A Better Person

IMG_20151213_112200563_HDRThe more we travel; the more we break our stereotypes. We become less judgmental. We see humans as one species and learn that religion can be more dividing than uniting. It sometimes creates more problems than solving them. We find one in all and all in one. It is debatable and so I claim is true at least to me.

Life is more than what we will ever know. Travelling is one way of getting closer to its meaning and purpose. Travelling for me and many like me is just not an escape from the world, it is rather a journey of self-exploration. Travelling is adventure, travelling is for that adrenaline rush that makes me feel I am alive. It is to evolve and empathize and live: live beautifully.

This article was originally published here on the author’s blog.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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