An up close and personal interview with former brand strategist and now travel writer, Archana Singh.
Archana Singh is a former Brand Strategist turned travel journalist. An award-winning travel writer and a Public Speaker who likes to visit offbeat places in search of untold stories, she publishes her travel experiences on Travel See Write and regularly contributes to international publications and online journals. When she is not travelling, or documenting her experiences, she makes brand strategies for some of the most iconic brands in the world.
How and when did you take up travel writing?
Although I have been a traveller since I was a kid, travel writing happened by chance. It was in the month of August 2014, when it finally fell into place. I was finally visiting Ladakh – my most anticipated trip. I was in Manali dreaming about the open blue skies and wide vistas. The trip organiser had collected the entire amount as advance. I was to join a group of 6 people and reach Ladakh by riding bikes and jeeps. Unfortunately, just a few hours before I was to leave, I was told the trip has been cancelled as the group backed off and now the trip wasn’t financially viable for the organiser. I had two choices – join the organiser for a short trip in Himachal or carry on all by myself. It was a hard choice. I had not done any research on Ladakh and had no contacts. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And that’s what I did.
During my Ladakh trip, I had life-changing experiences that I felt compelled to share with others. What happened to me could have happened to anyone. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Ladakh was beyond physical beauty. I experienced different faces of beauty – the beauty of the land and the beauty of the heart. I wrote a travelogue series – 11 days in Ladakh. 11 faces of beauty. The response to that series was phenomenal. And the rest is history.
Can you share 3 of your pieces that have a special place in your heart and tell us why?
Choosing your three pieces is like choosing your favourite child. However, these are some of my all-time favourite articles:
- Japan: Land of the rising Toilet Seat: There are a lot of incredible things about Japan but one thing that impressed me the most as soon as I landed was its toilet seat.
- The USA Travel, Things you should know before you visit: I avoided going to the US for a long time as I had wrong perceptions about the country but all my perceptions were shattered by the experience I had in the great nation.
- The untold story of Sapa, Vietnam: Travel is not just about visiting beautiful places but goes beyond that understanding the people and their struggles. This story is one small step.
What does ‘freedom to travel’ mean to you?
Freedom to travel should be to travel anywhere without the worry of visas, dollars and safety. I wish we could travel to unchartered territories the way Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo travelled.
3 things that you love and hate about what you do?
Things I love about long-term solo travel:
- Experiences: As I travel wide and far, the unique and diverse experiences keep surprising me every single day. No two days are same.
- People: The best part about travel is the amazing people you meet during your journeys and lifetime friendships you build.
- Growth: I have grown manifolds as an individual with every travel I have taken. I am more compassionate, confident and adaptable now as compared to the past.
Things I hate about long-term solo travel:
- Safety net: Leading a nomadic life means giving up on the vagaries of life and always living a life on tenterhooks. You don’t know from where your next month’s paycheck is going to come or who will help you if calamity strikes in foreign shores.
- Unplanned life: You have no fixed plans. You don’t where you’ll be next month or even next week.
- Instability: because you are always on the move, leading a normal life and finding love becomes increasingly difficult. You can’t commit to anything long term.