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Writing Was My Best-Kept Secret. Then I Quit My Corporate Job To Become A Travel Blogger

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My passion for travel and Ruskin Bond; signed copy by the author himself

We’re so sorry; we exhausted you a lot, that too on your birthday! But what do we do? We love you so much!” I said, shaking Mr Ruskin Bond’s hands with water brimming in my eyes.

That’s what keeps me going,” replied the author with utmost sincerity, as he signed my copy of “A Book Of Simple Living”.

The date was May 19, 2018, his birthday when this travel blogger decided to make an impromptu trip to Mussoorie.

Mr Bond had largely been the reason that I started writing, and mutual love for the mountains further pushed me to start my travel blog Itchy Hands And A Travel Bag.

Living my passion is important to me, though it wasn’t quite like this in the beginning.

Being a sincere, academically bright student, who was slightly vulnerable, and low on self-esteem, I enrolled for the Company Secretary programme, and at age 22 landed a job as a Compliance Officer with a Delhi-based conglomerate. I was successful, financially independent, but I was missing something.

Five years into my corporate job, I was asking myself, “Is this my passion? Who is the real me?”

I belong to Almora, Uttarakhand and grew up reading Ruskin Bond. I’m deeply inspired by his works, especially, his precision in detailing his travels.

In my corporate job, I felt like a robot, and to vent out my conflicting thoughts and emotions, I wrote and felt better. Writing as a hobby was my best-kept secret, but before it was too late, I quit my job.

I realised that writing was that missing spark. I took it up with renewed zeal and felt liberated, but I also wondered – could it be a mainstream career choice? I dabbled with content writing, wrote for travel blogs and did other projects, like writing product descriptions for fashion apparel, home décor, and art brands.

Though I felt positive, it was also a struggle.

My experience with a fraudulent client, payment defaults, and rejection, slowed me down. I wondered – should I go back to my uninteresting job? I had tasted happiness and contentment through writing as a profession. Would I enjoy doing anything apart from writing?

Passion calling

Eventually, following my heart, I started writing my own travel blog. I put my heart and soul into scanning numerable YouTube videos and articles on Google, and based on my assembled virtual knowledge, I built and designed my own website. Through this exercise, I learned a remarkable lesson.

“So easily we give in to preconceived notions. We simply think it’s not meant for us and refrain from trying. That’s when a creative soul dies.”

Travelling nurtures the compassion inside me and helps me grow as an individual.

Now with a ready website and blog, I needed visibility to connect with an audience.

Through social media, I stumbled upon SHEROES and downloaded the SHEROES app available on smartphones. I started posting on a mix of topics ranging from women empowerment, my observations in life, poetry, life quotes, and travel. I loved the judgement-free platform where women and girls freely expressed their interests and views across communities like Aspiring Writers, Poetry, Travel and Health. Interactions and real-time mentorship added to my enrichment.

Today, my favourite communities are the Aspiring Writers community (which I joined first) and now, the Travel community.

Meeting new people, knowing their stories, lives, cultures and cuisine, awakens my senses thoroughly, and I am also able to share my own blogs, adventures and travel nuggets with the community.

Going solo

Women solo travellers are a growing tribe, and our country needs to take notice of this trend

I am especially drawn towards the wandering lives and journeys of solo women travellers. When renowned travel bloggers Shivya Nath, Amrita Das and Charukesi shared their solo travelogues, I was taken by their energy levels. Apprehensions, challenges, safety issues and other hardships haven’t stopped them, and how they broke preconceived notions, is amazing!

The SHEROES travel community also does a great job in fueling energy into solo women travellers. I’m also delighted to learn about women-friendly travel destinations in India and abroad, and about women entrepreneurs who are building unique travel startups.

A safer India for women travellers

As more and more women travel solo, it’s high time the Indian Government focused on issues like safety, with the same intensity with which they promote ‘Incredible India’ to bring foreign tourists. How about a separate domestic tourist helpline for women similar to the one existing for foreign tourists?

India has so many solo women travellers, and I take inspiration from such women of wanderlust because they are breaking societal norms to live their dreams.

Let’s never stop exploring places, and ourselves. Let’s not hold back because we aren’t meant to travel. We have the willpower and the strength to do it. So, more power to us and our growing tribe!

About Nidhi Thawal:
A writer at heart, a poet by soul and a travel enthusiast, I’m a travel blogger and an active SHEROES community member. My undying spirit to explore myself keeps me going.

                         SHEROES Communities for women are accessible via and the SHEROES app
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  1. Aparna Chavan

    Wow such an inspiring story??loved it. Great going nidhi God bless you always ?

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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