The seeds were sown much earlier. But it took a while to incubate then germinate and exactly 365 days ago, an idea was born. An idea to travel, with women and go to places that capture the spirit of adventure and offer glimpses into lives of local people, at the same time make it a fun-filled experience for women. And what a journey it has been! Soul Purpose, an adventure travel enterprise, was started by Mimi Chakrabarti and myself, to make travelling a fun, safe option for women.
So we set off for Bharatpur as our test case. It’s a place that’s close to Delhi, almost everyone has heard of it or has been there. So what would make it different, you might ask? Just ask the 11 women who went on this adventure. Women, free of men, spouses, children, partners, mother-in-laws, parents, can set the place of fire.
So what happened in those two days, that came as a revelation to us? Well, what happened in Bharatpur stayed in Bharatpur, but without naming names and revealing the secrets, here are some highlights: one had never traveled on her own, without parental supervision; some did not know much about birds; others gained the experience of driving cycle rickshaws and even openly buying booze from a shop on the highway ( if you stay in Delhi or Haryana, you will know that this is a big deal!).
And every trip since then has been an eye-opener: women who has never worn shorts before; women who had hydrophobia but still decided to do rafting and sit at the bow of the raft!; women who has never stayed in a village before; women who had never left their children under anyone else’s care; women who had never traveled with a group of unknown people before; women who had never traveled in sleeper class on trains and….. The list is endless. Each experience has been fun, fulfilling and giving us the push and incentive to do more.
It’s been an eventful 2013 and looking forward to 2014 with many more exciting trips!
Pics: Mimi Chakrabarti; Vidya Deshpande; Ajay Jaiman