I’m not sure how awards work. I never wanted our blog to be sucked into the game of numbers. I’ve tried hard not to be a part of it and sometimes, succumbed to it. That said, I’ve never been good with numbers, anyway. So, I’m not going to make this post about awards, rules, or chain posts. Let’s make this post about people. People who may not be like us and yet, through their life stories and thoughts — inspire us. It’s also our way of showing, how much it means, for us, to be noticed and appreciated by our fellow bloggers.
I started following Leslie (The Real Uganda) last year. We have never visited any country in the African continent and I’m hoping we can change that in the near future. I had only heard about Uganda in the news. And, I must confess, I didn’t (still don’t) really know much about this fascinating country. And that’s why I admire Leslie’s blog. In addition, to the amazing humanitarian work her organization is responsible for, she doesn’t limit her posts to her work. Developing countries often find themselves trapped in a deep trench of stereotype. Something, I’m only very well aware of. Leslie’s posts offer us a slice of everyday life in Uganda, countless photos of smiling children (gives me hope), and an opportunity to wipe out our pre-conceived notions and discover true stories in the real world.
Maria (Maltese Steps) started following us roughly a month back. She’s all set for a new life in Malta and most of her posts highlight local life, people, and the challenges they face. I appreciate Maria’s honesty. When asked about what she’d like to see in the blogging community, she replies, “More posts about real people, people that isn’t as perfect as the social media shows, people who also fail and take the wrong way sometimes.” And that makes so much sense to me. Real people stumble and fail. Maria’s challenge is to improve her English. Reading her posts and point of view; I’d say, language is only a way of communicating. It’s the thought that counts. Maria, you never fail on that account.
I’ve bunched Leslie (L) and (M) Maria‘s questions, for us, together. Chosen the questions that I might not have covered in my earlier posts. I’ll try to make this short.
(M) What is your blog for you?
Our blog started as a travelogue of our travel experiences in India and across the world. We wanted it to be a mix of a virtual album and also a site to help anyone who wanted to explore the world. We’ve completed two years — this February. As our blog shaped up and I started interacting with other bloggers; I didn’t limit my posts to travel. Our blog is now my daily writing prompt and helps me stay focused — when I lose focus of what’s around me.
(L) Books or movies?
This is a tough question. I’m definitely a book person and so is Basil. Basil is drawn towards science fiction, aliens, the end of our planet, and action; while I like books grounded in real world topics such as culture, race, and old school story telling. We both share a love for comics or graphic books, with Japanese Manga comics and Tintin among our firm favourites. Sadly, we don’t read as much as we should. Movies have taken over our love for books. Most lazy weekends are spent in suburban theatres.
(L) How many times have you changed career since starting to work?
I think Basil and I are very similar when it comes to career choices. We’ve always, strangely, complemented each other. Monotony gets to us pretty soon. We met in college and initially thought of pursuing a career in research. That said, Basil started as a scientific editor and jumped onto management and eventually, business development; something he’s currently pursuing. I started with online advertising, dabbled with events, switched to freelance web content writing, and travel blogging. Perhaps, not the best CV for HR managers.
(L) How do you choose new bloggers to follow?
I generally follow bloggers who are fascinated (without being excessively obsessed or exaggerative) by real travel, culture, or photography. That said, I have also found some fantastic blogs on writing (fiction & poetry), cooking, expat life, and even mums who share their challenges of everyday life with us. If something or someone interests me; I will follow. Life is not just about travel.
(L) What are the main factors that guide you in deciding where to holiday or travel?
We crave isolation and seclusion. Being introverts (socially awkward at times) and coming from a country of a billion people; you’d understand why. We’ve always lived in a chaotic city by the sea. So, we prefer mountains and quaint villages to bustling cities or beach getaways. We avoid gimmicks and tourist traps — if we can. And love talking to locals, sampling food, and going for long walks.
(M) Have you ever had a long conversation with a stranger? Tell about it!
We’ve had many such conversations. And I love talking to people who don’t sell tourism. The longest conversation stretched for two days. Our driver, a young man in his twenties, navigated us over four mountain passes ranging from 3000 m to 5000 m, gave us the right pep talk when we were sick with the changing altitude, and narrated stories of his life. We’ve never met him again. I doubt we ever will. But, he’s someone we will surely find hard to forget.
(M) What would be your ideal adventurer moment (can be unreal!)?
I think Basil would love to get lost in space. Or navigate a spaceship to explore distant planets, make contact with other forms of life, and discover new galaxies. As you must have guessed, he is a big ‘Star Trek‘ fan. And since, we don’t have that kind of money to enroll for the space mission; I think I would like to hike a mountain in the Himalayas. That might seem achievable for many; I’m not so sure whether I would be able to keep my fear of heights in check or build my fitness to that degree. Fortunately, we can dream, can’t we?
(L) Have you ever been to East Africa? If not, what’s stopping you?
We have never been to Africa! And, I really don’t know why? One of the reasons could be that we figured we would require more days or weeks to explore any country in this continent. There’s such a wealth of wildlife, culture, and people. We have friends in Kenya who have shown us what we’re missing. I’m hoping we could change this. I know I want to.
(M)How can you contribute to make the world a better place?
This one’s a toughie. Growing up, especially when I was in my teens, I wanted to change the world (especially, the one around me). I’ve grown increasingly disillusioned with time. I find lofty ideals being floated around in charity space and beneath the surface, only hollow words. That said, I hope, through our travel experiences, and by keeping an open mind (one of the most difficult things in this world), we can change skewed perceptions — even if they happen to be our own.
(M) Describe your philosophy of life in one sentence.
I’ve contemplated and ruminated about life for many years. Didn’t get much out of those internal debates. I’ve learned that Basil has a more pragmatic mantra: Live each day as it comes.