Nivi Selvaraj, an indian backpacker with an insatiable thirst for offbeat experiences from around the world. She believes in responsible travel and support local communities in whatever ways she can. She focusses on budget, solo travel with a keen fondness on culturally diverse and immersive experiences.

One of your most memorable journeys so far and why?

Each destination holds a special place in my heart in its own way. I have chased fireflies and mapped constellations in a remote mangrove in the Thailand, cried in awe looking at the peaks of Himalayas in Kashmir, camped under the star lit sky in Thar desert and danced along with the Angami tribes in Nagaland. Each place, its people and the stories collectively make the experience a memorable one.

What are the various things you keep in mind, when you decide for a trip?

Budget plays a crucial role in making a trip come to life, so I usually make a rough budget to see what places I can visit under the cost I have parked for a trip. Then I narrow it down to the other factors such as weather conditions, duration of the trip and what would be the focus areas on that trip ( it is humanly not possible to see a place in this entirety in just one trip, I prefer slow travel so that I can soak in the experiences the way the come in). Another factor that I usually consider is to check whether it is peak season or low season (I usually prefer travelling during the shoulder season, as it has the advantage of low crowd and affordable accommodations).

A travel curious soul who loves the smell of books and gets high on food. I thrive my soul on travel, art and adventures.

What kind of food/snacks you have during your trip and music on your travel playlist?

I’m a foodie, I love experimenting the local cuisine while visiting a place. That said, not every meal is experimentative, I take a lot of fruits or juices during the day and settle for a lighter and a simpler breakfast if I’m planning to have a heavy lunch.  I do carry dry fruits and chocolates in my bag to munch on. You never know when the need will arise!

When it comes to music, it mostly depends on my mood. I end up listening to songs only when I’m on a long journey. I have a separate roadtrip playlist, sail playlist (made this mainly cause of my frequent visits to islands that involved boat rides). The lists has old classics (John Denver is a favourite), some indie songs (When Chai Met Toast, The Local Train, Hari & Sukhmani, Prateek Kuhad, Taba Chake) and the likes of Maroon 5, Tom Rosenthal and Marshmello. All that said, universal playlist for all moods comprise of AR Rahman songs majorly.

How has your lockdown been?

The initial days of lockdown was frustrating. Professionally and personally a lot of projects were drowned. But with time, things changed. Acceptance is the key to handling any situation I guess. I focused my time and efforts into learning different skills and working on some dream projects which I never found time to, in the past. I have successfully launched my first physical product in the market, which are handpainted postcards embedded with augmented reality carrying stories from different destinations across the world. Have been getting a lot of positive feedback on the cards, so heart is content right now.

5 tips for travel enthusiasts?

  1. Travel responsibly (not because we are affected by pandemic, but otherwise as well)
  2. Support local business and local community in whatever ways you can (Stay in a homestay, buy souvenirs made by local artisans etc)
  3. Don’t plan to the last detail, just go with the flow
  4. Indulge more in local experiences, learn a few words of the language in every country you visit, attend a cooking class, take a walking tour
  5. Carry multiple copies of necessary documents. Keep a backup in a folder on email as well.