Drifting on the Winds of Change

Pallabi Saiki is a YouTube vlogger, photographer and a travel junkie. She believes that travelling is a necessity to help us free our minds from our monotonous day to day routine.

She hopes to inspire people with her travel journey through her vlogs. Pallabi in a conversation with Storiyaan revisits her travel experiences by talking about Scuba diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and an accidental trip with her girl gang in Ladakh.

Read more to know what this daredevil has to say about her travels and experiences.

Interview

Questions and answers

Your blogs showcase a different perspective on travelling and exploring. When and how did the idea of vlogging strike you?

Ever since my childhood, I loved travelling and exploring new places. When I was a young girl, I had to travel with my family, but as I grew older, I started making plans with my friends and also went on solo trips. My first trip with friends was with Buli and her sister Lipi to Gangtok, Sikkim where we had the most thrilling experience of river rafting in the Teesta River and paragliding. We also visited Gurudongmar Lake, which is one of the highest lakes in India having an altitude of 17,800 ft. The way back in the day was itself a challenge. To be honest I never had the idea of vlogging, but lately, when I saw some of the vloggers like Casey Neistat and many more travel vloggers, I got inspired and decided to start my Youtube channel Palluglitzgladen Vlog. My Instagram handle @pallu_glitzgladen, where I share my travel stories.

What are some things that you always consider while planning a trip?

->First I always determine how long I want my trip to be.

->Next I would like to determine my place if I wish to go for a well-known destination or lesser-known spot or Adventure trip or some relaxing destinations.

->Then I find out the best season to travel to that particular destination.

->Then my next step is to find out the Budget. I determine whether the destination is affordable to visit by checking the cost of the flights. I also check the prices of foods in restaurants and then calculate the basic costs along with the course of activities at the destination.

->And lastly but most importantly I always look at the official sources of information as to know whether the location is safe to visit.

Having travelled so much, what are some of the areas in which Indian Tourism can be improved to yield greater economic growth?

->Firstly I would say that Marketing plays a very important role in economic growth. There are so many unexplored places that people rarely know. It can only come to focus on my marketing or advertising.

->Secondly is the infrastructural aspect to it. Even if the place is beautiful but holds no proper infrastructure like an optimal place to stay or no proper roads or proper communication, no one will come to visit the place. So a good infrastructure is a must.

->Last and the most important for economic growth is training. Proper training should be given to the locals of that particular place on how to host a tourist and also be a good tour guide to make the tourist feel comfortable getting familiar with that place.

Dambuk, the valley of orange orchards, is nestled in the beautiful hills of Arunachal Pradesh and has the most mesmerizing orange festival. Can you talk to us about it and shed some light on how it is celebrated?

Nestled deep inside Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang valley, Dambuk is known to produce some of the best oranges in the country, and hence the orange festival is celebrated. It is a four-day event that pitches itself as India’s first feast that combines adventure sports and music gigs on one platform. The idea behind it was to bring people together from across the world to explore the untouched beauty of the place amidst a bunch of exciting activities.

The journey itself was an off-road challenge.

A bumpy SUV negotiating rickety roads, tea estates, slush, and jungle dirt tracks, and of course, orange orchards make its way to Dambuk. Since the place is cut off for a period of 6 months, only a chopper is able to conduct transportation. But when the sky clears, the orange festival of Adventure and music invite adrenaline and music junkies to this quaint valley.

What are some of the most beautiful memories you created while Scuba diving in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands?

The idea of leaving the world I knew and entering into something far mysterious was undoubtedly scary. It took me around 15 minutes for my instructor to train me regarding underwater communication. Then we finally dove into the ocean. For the first 10 minutes of diving, I did not take my eyes off my instructor. But as I slowly sank, I heard a louder pop in my left ear.

Life underwater was even more beautiful than I imagined. I saw uncountable fishes both small and big dancing their way around me, making my entire scuba diving experience fairytale-like. Candy hued coral swayed underneath like a colourful Monet. Crabs were crawling across the seafloor. Seeing the turtles made me feel like one of them. As I went deeper, I found a scooter decorated underwater where we took beautiful pictures which were incredible. That was one most amazing memory.

The lockdown has affected everyone's plan of travelling. How do you manage to keep your vlogs alive and active amidst this pandemic?

Now that travelling has taken the backseat, I am making the most of the time reworking my content. There were a lot of places which I visited before the pandemic but did not get time to edit them. So during this time, I was working on all those pending works. I also started exploring nearby places in my hometown, which I never really explored before. That is how I managed to keep my vlogs alive.

Being awarded as the title winner of women's power car rally, what do you think about the backlash of the female driver's experience?

India is still a patriarchal society where women are often seen as subordinate and inferior to men. So I as a woman had to face challenges breaking the stereotypes by showing that women can also drive. Women face discrimination in almost every place, whether in the workplace or at home. We must all come together as one to fight these issues faced by women in India.

*Secondly, society, codes of ethics and customs stop girls in India to do anything, let alone travelling. But I am fortunate enough that my parents allowed me to do so.

* Safety is everybody’s concern. It is unsafe for female drivers to go anywhere without knowing the place.

While travelling alone how do you ensure your safety?

->Although travelling makes me feel independent, I always make sure to keep in contact with my family and friends via call or Instagram. If something does happen, there is a better chance for you to be safe if people know where you are and what you are doing.

->I always research about the place that I want to go and book my accommodation in advance. If you don’t know where you are staying, you do not have a guaranteed place to stay.

->I am responsible for taking care of my mental and physical health because no one is there to do it for you. I always carry the basic first aid kit along with the medicines that I may need.

->I mostly avoid travelling late at night, but this isn’t always possible. But in case if I have to leave alone at night, I always try to have a safe mode of transport ready and also ensure that my accommodation is already planned.

Have you ever received backlash or negative comments for travelling alone being a woman? So how do you deal with it?

Yes, I have even felt threatened at some of the places. I always grasp the situation and handle it. Sometimes I avoid it as well because it may be risky. I always trust my instincts. If you feel that someone is a potential threat or harassing you, walk away.

Having travelled through so many states, what are some of the things about India that fascinate you?

People here in India are so friendly, culturally rich wherein every 200 km you will find different cultures and hear different languages. Whether it’s a joyous occasion or a moment of grief, people participate in wholeheartedly, feeling the happiness or pain. A festival is never constrained to a family or a home; the whole community or neighbourhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion.

You are so keen on skincare. How do you make sure that your skin does not suffer while you are travelling through the states in different environments?

As I have a combination skin type, I have to take extra care of my skin to keep it hydrated and to avoid getting acne.

->I always try to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

->Cleanser is a must. I always make sure to cleanse my face after I wake up in the morning and before I go to sleep.

->I always keep my moisturizer and sunscreen handy during the day. It is an essential need for your skin.

->I always carry a wet tissue in my bag and make sure my skin is clean enough by wiping the dirt during my travel.

->I always make sure to wear a hydrating serum mask or sleeping mask before I go to sleep, which makes my skin feel so hydrated and refreshed.

What about the Ladakh trip? Like how you want it to specify?

Ladakh is one place in India that remains on almost every traveller’s bucket list and serves as a memorable time in their lives. My other friend whose name is also Pallabi and I planned this amazing trip to Leh for 9 Days from Guwahati, Assam. But after landing at Leh, I coincidently met two of my very old friends, and we decided to complete the trip together, which made it even more interesting. We didn’t even know what kinds of amazement were waiting for us. The sunrise at 5 am from behind the snow-clad mountains, the reflection of the rising sun on the lake and the night stay in a tent at the lakeside was even more amazing, what more could we expect.

Quick 5

1.Travel package (Kit)- Items you carry: Travel Journal, Hiking Shoes, clothes, go-pro, DSLR, drone, water bottle, first aid kit, wallet,

2.Lakes or mountains: Mountains

3.Favourite cuisine: Chinese

4.Favourite Souvenir: Ornaments made of shell from Andaman

5.Favourite song on your travel list: Chalochalein by Ritviz

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