I come from Gorakhpur, a small town in UP. Growing up, I only dreamed of traveling in a plane. I boarded a plane for the first time in 1999. I was traveling to Singapore to attend an academic conference while I was doing my Ph.D. at IIT Kanpur. I still remember the rush of the aircraft thundering through the runway and then suddenly taking off.
I got my first travel opportunity as an academic and then as a travel blogger. I feel immensely lucky to have traveled to 32 countries till date. And while all my travel has come to a grinding halt since March 2020 due to the pandemic, it is time to remember my trips through Instagram Reels.
As I said Singapore was the foreign land I ever set my foot on! I was sitting inside conference rooms most of the time but I did manage to see a little of the city. Then I went back to Singapore in 2017 on a blogging trip! Singapore will always remain special to me!
2. Athens, Greece
I once again went to Athens for an academic conference in 2001. I was still a broke Ph.D. student. I still sat through a lot of papers in a conference room and I only saw a little of the city. I boarded a metro for the first time in Athens! I didn’t know how the system worked. I have come a long way since then!
3. Amsterdam and Groningen, The Netherlands
I appeared in a post doc interview with the University of Groningen in 2002. Those were the days, they invited you to the city to take an interview. I managed to spend some time in Amsterdam too.
4. Modena, Venice and Rome, Italy
I visited Modena as you know now, for an academic conference and I hopped over to Venice for a day trip from there. This was 2003. None of my pictures from this trip can be found. But I transited through Rome in 2017 along with my sister Alka. We did spend a night in Rome and managed some sightseeing.
So, these are the first four countries I visited. Not bad for a small town girl, who never thought she will travel the world. I even named my blog Travel Tales from India and added the ‘and Abroad’ bit much later.
This is to be continued!