What was your favorite travel experience? There are many favorite moments. One of them was teaching English to six-year-old kids in Vang Vieng, Laos. I have never taught someone as young as these kids. The days I spent with them were full of laughter and happiness. It was almost like an introduction to motherhood – to understand the naughtiness behind the innocent faces and constant antics.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a traveler? You don’t need much. Travel as light as you can.
How do you stay fabulous while you travel? Drinking lot of water, eating properly and maintaining a high level of personal hygiene helped me to stay fabulous.
What’s your greatest extravagance when traveling? Books are my greatest extravagance. There are these not-so-famous authors who don’t necessary have the refine or the fame of the renowned authors. But they have stories especially the folk or the legend of the place or opinions or the different point of views on the history. You can usually find these books outside of temples (places of worship) or flea markets. I have a certain fascination for them and I love to buy them. The fact that they are dirt cheap makes them even more exciting. So once in Myanmar, I found one such book – I bought it and took it to my hostel manager. We sat together along with other hostel staff for hours as he translated the stories about this now extinct tribe (that even he wasn’t aware of). The author had very beautifully narrated the weddings he attended of this tribe. It is so unfortunate that due to the lack of proper documentation, so much of the indigenous history is getting lost.
On what items do you prefer to save money rather than spend money when traveling? Clothes, bags, shoes
What’s your most important travel item? Camera – I love to capture memories.
What characteristics do you dislike about yourself when you travel? The fact that I cannot talk to people in their own language is what I dislike about me the most.
What characteristics do you dislike about others when you travel? People making opinions about travelers and trying to create an image of them is what irritates me. Like backpackers don’t shower or wash clothes often or they travel only to sleep around, etc.
What do you most value in a travel buddy? I am a solo traveler and I like my own time and way of doing things. In a travel buddy, I look for the same independent attitude. So we can do a bit of both – solo as well as group travel.
What do you absolutely have to know before you go? Currency rate and visa procedures. I hold an Indian passport and with it comes a lot of visa and entry regulations.
What travel experiences are still on your bucket list? Traveling to Antarctica and Africa.
How do you plan for travel, especially paying for it? I plan by reading about places and decide on the route by checking the visa and other entry procedures. As for travel fund, I create my own by working and saving money religiously.
Ever heard of a YOUNG WOMAN TRAVELER from INDIA exploring the world on HER OWN for more than a YEAR? Leena (aka Miss Walking Shoes) quit her job in April 2014 and since then she is on the journey of her life. She has travelled to 32 countries across three continents since then, covering some 79,827 kilometres (49604 miles) which is roughly equivalent to circling the Earth twice! All this on budget and using minimum air transport. She made her dream of a solo tryst around the globe come true despite an Indian Passport and currency constraints. She blogs regularly at her site misswalkingshoes.com.