Two mountain lovers and travel enthusiasts, Anunay Sood and Brinda Sharma have been jumping from one destination to another, creating memories. ‘Just The Two’ of them, ferry around the world, documenting each step of the way without leaving their full-time jobs as engineers. We got in touch with one of these wanderbugs, Brinda Sharma, to know more about their adventures and what travelling means to them. By Bayar Jain

 

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1. How did you dive into the world of travelling?

Ever since I [Brinda] was a child, I’ve been travelling with my family. At the time, I didn’t really understand the true meaning of travelling since I had only visited places with my parents before. When I went on my first trip on my own – to Triund – I got addicted to the process of travelling. I knew my true calling was to feel that feeling of independence, thrill, and new experiences. On a trip to Spiti, I met Anunay, and we instantly connected. After that, there was no stopping us. Now, we travel full time while also having full-time jobs with the aim of sending a message to everyone like us!

2. When travelling, what are the various factors you keep in mind while choosing your next destination and how do you fund it?

 

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We have a bucket list in which we continuously keep adding destinations and experiences. We never plan well in advance. When we have a few leaves coming up, we go online and see where we’re getting the cheapest flights to – usually around our final and main destination goal for that trip. After that, we use Google Maps and plan our itinerary! To save money, we avoid expensive hotels and eating out in restaurants. We try not to limit ourselves to destinations and flights and remain flexible to cheaper options.

3. Your favourite travel memory and why?

 

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We were in Iceland photographing Kirkjufell where we met a friend on the way. All of us parked our car on the snow on the side of a road and made dinner (chicken and vegetables we bought from a local supermarket) over a barbecue. The sun was setting, and it was getting really cold. We huddled around the little disposable barbecue when I happened to look up at the sky only to see the most unreal sight – dancing, colourful northern lights! We instantly forgot about the cold, and quietly watched the sky get darker and the lights get brighter. It was unreal! It made us realise how spectacular our planet is. Till day, I still cannot believe we witnessed the aurora!

4. When travelling, language or dietary preferences could be an issue. Has it ever been a hurdle for you?

 

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The only time we had a language problem was the time we entered Italy and the automatic assistance at the tolls was in Italian. Then, we had a tough time figuring out what to do. Apart from that, language has hardly ever been a problem since most of the places we’ve visited outside India has had English speakers.

Sometimes in Europe, I have dietary issues since I don’t eat port or beef, and you hardly get chicken there. But, we manage since we shop and eat from grocery stores.

5. Your tips on travelling consciously?

 

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Carry your own water bottle. When shopping, don’t pick up plastic bags. Instead, keep things in your own bag. Stay small. Large chain hotels, although provide good accessibility and comfort, are not usually sustainable. Instead, stay with the locals and book Airbnbs. Support and eat local. Shop at locally-owned shops. Explore on foot. It’s a good exercise when you travel and it is also nicer to the environment.

6. Where were you when the lockdown was announced and how have you been coping with it?

 

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When the lockdown was announced, we had very recently come back from Finland and were planning visa applications for our next trip to Canada. We were definitely disappointed about not being able to travel, but we were grateful for being home. Since travel plans for 2020 are a distant dream now, it has given us a lot of time to reflect on ourselves. Not only has it given all of us a break from our usual hustle, but it has also given our planet a much-needed breather.

7. What do you miss most about travelling?

 

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I miss the feeling of putting an ‘out of office’ message and packing my bags to leave for the airport. But, honestly, what we miss the most about travelling is being in the lap of nature, exploring new experiences and surprises, and having long conversations with the mountains.

8. In your opinion, how do you think the world of travelling will change after Coronavirus?

 

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I feel after Coronavirus, travellers will become more conscious. If anything, this time has taught us all the value of our planet and the repercussions of our actions.

9. Once travelling restrictions ease, which is the first destination you’ll visit?

 

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We would definitely head back to India, straight to the mountains.

10. As per trends, domestic travel is expected to rise. So, if you have to travel within India, where would you go?

 

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A long road trip around Ladakh, and end it with a trip to Spiti.

11. In a sentence, tell us why you love travelling?

 

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It opens your mind to experiences you can never predict.

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