LifeOutside2by2, the solo travel blog of travel blogger Kanika Gupta, is much more than just a blog. This is the place where the 31-year-old traveller narrates her travelling experiences. Kanika holds an MBA degree. She also worked as a corporate employee for a few years. However, she never wanted to restrict herself to a 2 by 2 cubicle job. One day she decided to quit her job as an export manager to start a new career as a content writer. Since then, Kanika has been doing what she loves. This decision perhaps is still the best one of her life!
Today, Kanika Gupta joins us in this conversation with conflatingVisions to tell us about her solo travel blog. Apart from sharing her experiences as a traveller she also reveals how an aspiring blogger can start writing a travel blog. We hope this interview session with Kanika will inspire many of you to pursue blogging as a profession!
Hi Kanika, glad to have you with us on conflatingVisions today. To begin with, we would like you to say a few lines that aptly describes Kanika Gupta.
I am a passionate adventure traveller with a thing for mountains. I love to reach hard to reach places and enjoy writing about my experiences. I don’t enjoy doing things that are commonly done and try to make my travels interesting by doing offbeat things.
What motivated you to start your travel blog LifeOutside2by2? Is it a solo travel blog?
Yes, LifeOutside2by2 is a solo travel blog. I started travelling 4 years ago and have been hoarding all the memories in pages upon pages of my travel diaries. When I completed my solo trek to Annapurna Base Camp, I knew it in my bones that it is time to start documenting my travels where people can read and realize that it is completely ok and safe to travel alone.
Kanika, please tell us about your solo travel blog LifeOutside2by2.
LifeOutside2by2 is like my travel diary, only online. I like to write about my experiences in the rawest form. I like to admit out loud my failures and victories, my personal challenges and my struggles as a solo traveller. The idea is to encourage people that there is no such thing as perfect time to pick up those bags and leave. Most importantly, we live in a world that is social media obsessed and I want to tell my readers to stop wasting their time creating “picture perfect” Facebook moments and truly get out there to experience the simple joys of being in nature.
How do you fund your travels?
I am a professional freelance content writer that allows me to travel and take my work with me. So I work and travel simultaneously.
How do you plan before going for a travel?
I hate planning. I just like to take things as they come. Over the years, my instincts have sharpened and I never ignore my gut feeling. If my heart says that I want to sleep and read in a hotel room for 10 days, then that’s what I do without feeling any moral compunction to go outside. But when I am exploring, I leave no stone unturned in finding crazy stories and experiences. I fall on both ends of the spectrum.
While writing a travel blog, what are the things that you keep in your mind?
I want to be brutally honest. I do not hide behind politically correct language and say things as is. Sometimes I draw a lot of criticism for being unfair. But I don’t mind because my blog is my reality and one can choose to ignore it if they disagree. I just like to keep things simple and relatable for my readers. Unless they cannot picture being in my shoes, I think my blog has failed to do its job.
Kanika, you are blogging on travel for quite sometime and must have come across a couple of memorable events. Please share a few of your travel experiences with our readers.
The most recent ones have been from my month long backpacking trip in Kashmir. I spent an inordinate amount of time with the locals, breaking bread with them like a family member and splitting meals at Iftiyari. I also celebrated Eid with my CouchSurfing host’s family. They were incredibly kind and fed me the most delicious Wazwan (Kashmiri cuisine).
There are a million good experiences but the ones I cannot seem to forget are the ones that involve selfless kindness of strangers who do good out of the goodness in their hearts. They don’t expect anything and only want to give you a true taste of their hospitality. I experienced similar kindness not just in India but also when I was backpacking in Europe.
Which is the best place that you have visited till date?
I am still intoxicated from my Kashmir travel and will say that it has been my best. I say this because Kashmir gave me the most well-rounded travel experience ever. I was stuck in curfew, trekked in the mountains with local nomad families, was given a refuge for free in a guesthouse in Aru, was treated to amazing local food and had the opportunity to discuss the Kashmir situation at length with the youth. It was so profound that I cannot get it out of my system, even though it has been a month since I came back.
Which places are there on your bucket list of travel destinations?
I want to go vertically up for the most part. So I want to trek to Advanced Everest Base Camp in Tibet, travel to Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, trek to K2 base camp in Pakistan, travel across the length of US, climb Mt. Rainier in Washington, experience Patagonia’s raw wilderness, complete some portion of Pacific Crest Trail, bungee jump in South Africa. The list is endless. The point is, I want to experience true adrenaline pumping activities and survive to tell the tale.
What are your future plans?
Be a successful writer so that I can someday transform my blog into a book. I want to write books about crazy travels and how others can do it too.
What would be your advice to the travel bloggers who want to start writing a travel blog?
I am still at a very nascent stage to give any advice to travel bloggers. But if you are someone who wants to start documenting their travels, then the time is now. Don’t worry about doing it wrong. Readers of my solo travel blog have been incredibly kind to me and have helped me learn so much.
Anything else you want to share.
We live in impossible times. Everything is accessible and well connected, thanks to the internet. But I advice that don’t let that consume you. Nature is still raw and you must give yourself time to digitally detoxify yourself to maintain sanity.
And one last question of this session Kanika, if you have had one wish…
I wish I had started this sooner. I just want to go back 5 years, not more. I am 31 and feel like that I lost a lot of my good years in living the life I cannot account for. If only I could go back just a little. I don’t regret anything but I want to be able to do this longer. But like they say, age is just a number and it is never too late to do the right thing!