We were not born to rich parents and we earn every single penny we spend on our travels ourselves. So we tried to get scholarships, educated ourselves as much as we could, got well paying jobs in Singapore and then in London. As we grew up, we would use our salary to try and travel to a new place each month. We also saved for full-time travelling for 10 years instead of buying a house or car as travel is our priority.
While dreaming is essential, putting in the effort to make that dream a reality is even more essential. We worked 10 hour shifts at it everyday alongside our jobs (hello 20 hour work days!), learnt SEO, & the basics of digital marketing. Hundreds of hours were spent garnering a readership on social media and our website. It was a steep learning curve and we learnt many lessons along the way. Finally after over 3 years of blogging alongside day jobs , we took the leap to travelling and blogging full time.
For a long time we concentrated purely on garnering a readership and putting high-quality content out there. Upon seeing the quality of our content, we were soon contacted by The Tourism Board of Finland and went on a memorable trip where we saw the northern lights for the first time. It was of the most special memories has been the precious moment of watching the Northern Lights from an igloo on the Arctic Circle, It was so overwhelming that I cried that was the only time I was so emotional while travelling. It was special & I can’t ever forget it.
I boarded my first flight at the age of 18 & from then we’re here today! We both were born in professional middle class families in New Delhi.
We started dating each other only 4 years after of meeting.
One fine day, 10 years after we first started dating, we decided we wanted to get married. We were sure we did not want the Big Fat Indian Wedding. We never were the ones to follow the herd, we opted for a really simple civil ceremony in New Delhi. We didn’t register for gifts for our wedding or accept gold (a staple at Indian weddings!). Of course our families couldn’t live without giving us a gift or two. Guess what we asked for? A Macbook, which we started blogging with and a Nikon DSLR camera for our travels. These two were, without a doubt, the best gifts ever!
After we had visited 50 countries or so, a lot of friends started asking us for tips to explore destinations. So we thought we’d put everything we’d learnt on the web! Almost 10 years after we first started travelling together, we decided to blog about it.
The greatest irony of this decade is that there is so much information about travelling and destinations online but there are very few well-written articles that actually talk about things a traveller needs to know when visiting a new destination. That’s because most of them regurgitate information penned in reputable guides such as lonely planet or other websites, sometimes without having visited the actual place. I found this really frustrating when we first started travelling. So that’s the gap I wanted to address with our articles. I’ve maintained a travel journal for as long as I can remember. So I used the notes I’d we put it online in the form of coherent articles. We had a huge library of photographs from our travels, so we used those as we put together these articles. The battered state of our passports made the choice of name easy.
Hard work also brings with it rewards – we’ve had the opportunity to work with brands we’ve loved and used for years such as Citi, HP, Hyatt Hotels, and Go Pro and our story has been featured on BBC, Discovery Channel, CNN, Cosmopolitan, and TED, so it’s all worth it. Bruised Passports is 5 years old and right now, believe it or not, we work longer hours than we used to in our jobs. But if you work is your passion, it doesn’t feel like work at all. Establishing an online platform and watching it flower is an incredible feeling. Bruised Passports started with just one reader (my mom!) and today it’s read by over 3 million people.
The best part about our work is meeting hundreds of thousands of readers across the world, wherever we go, is overwhelming and truly emotion. We’ve had many special memories of getting help while travelling which felt really special – after an Airbnb mix up we were left stranded in a small village in Spain. An old gentleman invited us to his house and we stayed up all night listening to his tales and had the best time.
We work a lot with underprivileged kids and women’s empowerment – we are both staunch feminists and believe that in the twenty first century, we should really not be discriminating on basis of gender! So we really look up to people like Justin Trudeau and Justin Baldoni who are doing incredible work to towards gender equality and feminism! Recently during our meetup in Bombay someone said “Congratulations you are doing a great job by empowering your partner”. I and Vid both had the same reaction, we always believe in equality and when people come up with such comments we feel disappointed. It’s sad that people need to congratulate men for empowering their partner. Later we were told yes you are right but these things should be obvious without someone having to make your realise! Marriage is about equality and not about himdering each other, it’s giving each other wings to fly. End of the day about respect and mutual understanding.
Back in 2008 Savi got her phd done and I was working but it didn’t take much time for me to decide to move with her to the UK. I quit my job and it was the best decision! Earlier I used to teach at Delhi university and also with lesser privileged kids. I started missing this in London. Once we started travelling we started doing a lot this special work.
We volunteer at local orphanages & do little things as much as possible. While travelling we come across some beautiful people. We love interacting with the locals and kids in every part of the world. We love celebrating joy of sharing happiness! We want to start our foundation which can help these children pursue their dreams, they need wings to their dreams and we are going to turn this into reality in future. As of now we are trying to impact some lives while travelling and when we are in India we teach the children who are unable to attend school. We all can make a difference in any small or big way, it doesn’t always have to be with a lot of financial involvement too. It was my birthday just before we left on our road trip of Ladakh. Instead of birthday gifts, I asked all my friends and family to give me as much stationery as they possibly could. They got me tons of stationery. We went and added some more stuff to this stash and set out on our road trip to Ladakh with a whole backseat full of stationery- notebooks, crayons,paints, pens etc. We met this little girl in ladakh, she was in her school and after receiving the stationary she said thank you. They were taught to express gratitude but she was too shy. I offered her some chocolates that I had in my bag and we that’s how we indulged in a long chat, in fact we had an intense conversation where she shared everything about her life, family, school. A small gesture can lead to some memorable moments of life.
Throughout our road trip we visited local schools that work with less privileged kids in order to give them however much stationery they need for their kids. The more we travel, the more we realize that education is something most of us take for granted, but it’s truly the greatest gift of all. It’s the only way to dispel ignorance and all sorts of societal evils. So we try to give back in any possible way on our trips. It really doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering endeavour because every little gesture helps.
Once we met Muzzamil – a young boy who wanted to study and we enrolled him to pursue his dreams. He was so happy and said he is the first one from his basti (nizzamudin slum) to attend school. These are our special moments and we want to continue giving back by contributing to a better world. We want to build a foundation to support lesser privileged kids for education.
We’ve learnt so much from children and people based in remote places with lack of access to basics. People don’t have much but they are happy. There is so much to learn from them. These things makes you realize and keeps you grounded. There are silly worries like fancy phones, small things which doesn’t really matter much. There are people dont even know if they will get their next meal so it’s important to feel grateful and content with our blessings.
We always advise people to do something that worked for us – Purge all the negativity from you life. This isn’t an overnight change but a gradual process. A combination of persistence, passion, and lots of hard work will get you anywhere. And if full time/frequent travelling is where you want to be you’ll get there. Start small and work your way towards what you dream. Before you know it your dream will become your reality. Never compromise on your ideology or give up on your dreams. Our story is of two self-made individuals who live by what their heart wants instead of societal stereotypes and chase pure happiness at every single stage of their lives. The end goal our entrepreneurial venture isn’t just to generate an income but cultivate happiness and contentment at each stage of our lives.
Source: Humans Of India
Tags: Start small, Dream, Reality Inspirational story