An English Teacher Shares Her Inspiring Travel Diaries And Experiences On Teaching English in a Foreign Land – An Interview with Kristin Sewell – Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Kristin!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

Where have you spent teaching the most in your life?

Kristin – So far I’ve spent the most time teaching in Kerala, nine months! It’s been the best and most challenging experience of my life and I loved the whole crazy ride lol.

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While on a stroll through the streets of Kenya.

what would you suggest to those who aspire to be an English language teacher before
they step out into a foreign land to hunt for jobs?

Kristin – For new English language teacher, such as myself, I think the best thing is to just do your research and make sure the jobs you apply for / accept are legit and good quality workplaces. Lots of companies/programs have Facebook pages where you can read others’ reviews. Also, during interviews, I always ask the interviewer’s opinion of the company, which is a fun way to make them feel as nervous as you are and maybe even get an honest answer from them haha…

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Gazing at the sunrise in Ireland.

How can you make yourself qualified has an English teacher?

Kristin – The most important factor in becoming qualified to teach English as a language is getting your TEFL/TESOL certification from a reputable institution. Having a bachelor’s degree (usually in any field of study) qualifies you for better positions than those without a university degree. It’s always good to open as many doors as possible for your future paths in life, so having that college degree just gives you more opportunities!

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A snap from the land of castles  – Czech Republic (Charles Bridge on the backdrop)

The most intriguing part of teaching English to foreign students?

Kristin – The most intriguing aspect of getting to teach ESL is opening up the lines of communication between myself and people I never would’ve gotten to know if they hadn’t learned my language! I love getting to learn about people’s lives and making friends, so it’s awesome when someone is able to express themselves in a language that is foreign to them and we can get to know each other.

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Dreamy Icelandic landscapes.

Your Instagram handle seems to have some amazing clicks! Looks like your cutting
down your bucket list one by one. How many countries have you been to so far?

Kristin – It’s crazy to add them all up and realize I’ve been to 23 countries…I want to go everywhere and eat everything and meet everyone lol, so I’ve still got like 170 countries left on the list haha. There are so many cities to explore and traditional dishes to try, so I’m always looking forward to the next adventure. But I’m back in the phase of work work work now in order to be able to start another phase of wandering.

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Having fun in the turquoise waters of Mexico.

 

Travelling solo especially being a girl in India is a huge deal. What do you have to tell parents about letting their daughters fly free and pursue their dreams?

Kristin – I mean…my parents were as scared as any parents would be…super hesitant to let their daughter fly away into the unknown totally alone, even though I was 29 when I left for India. But I think the saying is true that you’re supposed to “give your children roots and wings” and it’s especially true for girls because, despite all the horrors that happen all the time around the world, females need to be bold and follow our calling to roam. I think that the only time we get a chance to be brave is when we’re scared…so we have to take every opportunity to walk through that fear when we know something worth pursuing is on the other side. As far as parents preparing their daughters to travel solo…maybe take a self-defence class, and I constantly remember my dad’s words “always be aware of your surroundings.”

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An American road trip through the Hawaiian islands.

How can you stay safe on the go? Some tips to young girls out there?

Kristin – It’s DESPICABLE that females have to have this innate instinct to fear men, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pay attention to who’s around you, never walk alone in the dark, pay the money for a taxi, always have emergency money in your secret pocket haha aka bra. Take care of yourself and remove yourself from dangerous situations, stay sober, don’t be too shy to ask for help if you need directions, dress and behave appropriately for the country you’re visiting, etc. Overall there are more good people in the world than bad people, so hope for the best but plan for the worst and appreciate every experience. Fear kills more dreams than actual failure ever will so just get up and go live your best life.

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Flavours of spices from India.

The craziest thing ever happened on your trip?

Kristin – One of the craziest things that have happened to me while traveling was getting stung by a sea urchin while snorkeling in Kenya, I had to lay on the sand while some local guys sliced the sea urchin barns out of my foot with a razor blade 😅 Other crazy experiences were getting to hug a real live penguin while visiting Dubai in a Middle Eastern desert, being in a motorcycle accident in India, getting assaulted by a man while visiting a mosque in Morocco, abseiling down waterfalls in Ecuador, and surviving jumping off the roof of a boat into the Red Sea in Egypt.

Your dream destination to visit?

Kristin – My big dream come true has been living in India. Kerala is now a home to me and it’s got everything I look for in a place to go adventuring. All the incredible food, luscious nature, and beautiful souls one could ever hope to encounter. As far as the next country I hope to explore…I’ve been thinking about Georgia and Azerbaijan a lot, the cities of Tbilisi and Baku are calling my name lol.

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Blissful green tea plantations captured from the hills of Sri Lanka.

Spending most of your time in India for the past couple of months. What do you have to say about your great Indian adventures?

Kristin – Living in India has been the biggest adventure of my life. The thing about This country is that when you come from such a Western place as the US, literally every day in India is an adventure. Buying groceries, taking the bus, teaching a class lol legit everything is new and different every day. Alappuzha and Munnar are stunning but some of my favorite moments were just taking sunset motorbike rides through pineapple groves and paddy fields, looking up at the moon through coconut and banana trees, listening to the frogs on hot evenings, the music playing on private buses, I just love and miss Kerala and all the elements that combine to make it such an overwhelming experience to live there.

One last question. What do you have to say to people who want to explore more but
can’t manage a work-life balance?

Kristin – Gokul listen, Those people need to prioritize. I know what I want in life, I want to explore. Every little choice you make in life leads you in a certain direction. I knew that working and saving my money by living at home with my family (like normal people do all over the world except for the West) was the best way to be able to afford to travel. I plan and plan and plan, figure out different combinations of cities and planes and trains and hostels to figure out how I can accomplish my goal as cost-effectively as possible. The amount of money people waste on rent is the price of a trip to the other side of the world. But, when you want something badly enough that passion drives you. So it’s really up to the passionate people to decide how hard they’re willing to work and how bright they wanna be about saving their money for what’s important in their lives.

Thank you so much for having your time Kristin. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

*************


You can follow Kristin’s Instagram handle.

Instagram: kristinsewell


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

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The Woman Power Over The Internet- An Interview With Jinsha Basheer – GV’S Talk (Blogwithgokul)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Jinsha Basheer!

Let’s Kickstart the interview.

How did your vlogging career begin? 

Jinsha – I started off vlogging in 2017 October 1st. It all happened unexpectedly. I happened to notice malpractice that took place in a gas station. They were catering less amount of fuel to the customers to that of the price. So I insisted on the staffs in the gas station to pump more fuel ie if a person asks for petrol for 100 Rupees give him the fuel for 105 Rupees so that the amount that is being neglected could be resolved. It wouldn’t be a rip off for the customers. I always spoke if something obscene happened in front of me. I couldn’t stay quite. I told my husband that we should let more people know how the gas station owners cheat people in this way. I recorded a video. It was my husband Faisal Mohammad who suggested to create a Facebook page and then shares the video. But shockingly I received 5000 likes in one day. There is another reason to this as well Mr Ratheesh R Menon a YouTuber happen to share my video which brought the video to the limelight.

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Jinsha with her husband Faisal in Malaysia.

There is a speciality about you or let me say that you had
one more hurdle to overcome. Coming from a Muslim
conservative society how easy was it for your journey till
here?

Jinsha – Yes, I belong to the Muslim community. I believe in Allah. It is perhaps difficult to be in the media industry from such a background. The number of people who accept my ideologies was less in the beginning just because I was Muslim. But it’s wrong! I was asked this question many times at the beginning of my vlogging career ‘Hey girl, Don’t you want to die ? or Sometimes Do you ever wished to go to heaven after death ?’. But what I wanted to say to all of them who said this is that that thought is wrong. If you think what you do is helping others, could shine and bring happiness to somebody else’s life then do it. You’re doing it right. Believe in good deeds and support that person irrespective of gender.

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A regular day at work.

Let’s not talk about negative criticisms now. First, how far do
you accept constructive criticisms?

Jinsha – In the first year, my followers reached 3.70 Lakh followers and on Youtube about 60000 subscribers. So things have changed. People are understanding and accepting what I need to say. It is great progress that now among 100 people less than 10 of them brings out destructive criticisms rest all are suggestions and feedback on improving my channel. I accept them wholeheartedly. I want to improve more.

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A little pride!

You have been a person who had to face a lot of destructive
criticisms in the beginning. Do you think you had to face this
because you were from the female half of society? How did
you deal with it?

Jinsha – A lot of criticisms as I mentioned before, There was a point when I even thought of quitting from vlogging, but Gokul if you ask me how did I ease them and what made me push forward I would say it’s my family and close friends. My dad worked for the military and he had always thought me to speak up for my rights. Not to let a life suppressing my thoughts. I am extremely a lucky person to have a husband with the same ideology. Faisal is my backbone, he supports me in everything from shooting to editing videos. I have a daughter ‘Inara’ who is four years old she’s been a nice kid and my sisters too are encouraging. I should not leave my friend Shamjad and his family, they were the only people who gave me courage when most of the people from my neighbourhood disagreed on me vlogging.

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At a flood relief camp.

Many women after getting married specially in Asian
countries are confined to taking care of children and home
chores. How do you manage to keep a balance between
work and life?

Jinsha – There is always a belief that a woman is supposed to stay home and look after the children and household chores. It is acceptable but their life is not just meant for that they always have a space of their own. They should be able to work the job that they love and are passionate about. Getting a partner who understands and supports you is a big win-win.

I said I have a young kid but at the same time I work and look after her. She is my priority. It wouldn’t be possible without my husband too.

I am not a feminist and I can allow men to be a step ahead of us but thinking woman are not capable of anything is absolutely deniable. It’s the 21st century and in a household, it is responsibily of the wife to support the husband in every matter even financially. Share whatever comes up in life together. That is my belief. No no nobody suppresses a woman.

You are a popular Youtuber among Gulf Malayalee’s and
here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the charity
works that you have indulged being a social media
influencer. What gave you the interest in helping the needy
ones?

Jinsha – I work for money, GV you know how much YouTubers get paid. I had a copyright issue and my monetization was banned for 5 months and it’s been only 15 days now I was allowed again to monetize. I charge customers for publicity I do on my channel and I do it really looking into their background. If there are financially sound what’s wrong in charging them? I live on that.

If I feel they belong to the poor section of the society I don’t charge anything. I even travel kilometres to their place to shoot the video without any charge. This is how I can help them and to bring progress to society. Charity is another thing I promote intensively through my channel. I need to give back to society for the love they give me now. I have received 6 awards so far. I was able to raise 30 lakh rupees for a year old kid to get her bone marrow transplant done. It gives me a smile and I’m thankful to god!

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What would be the proudest moment in your life that
vlogging as brought you?

Jinsha – The proudest moment is what I mentioned now, to raise the amount the money for that kid. Her parents did not actually watch the entire video that I made on JIPMER medical centre on bone marrow transplantation and misunderstood for free treatment and travelled all the way to the hospital. That kid was tired and her parents wanted to let me know about the situation but they had no means to reach me apart from my video. Some NRI Malayalee made a video and shared to reach me. Ironically, I happened to see that I felt bad about the situation. I made a live video immediately and then rest was history. I was able to raise a whopping 30 lakhs! I was so happy when her father sends me the screenshots of the bank transfers to his account from all over the world. When the child underwent surgery and came back recovered with a smile on her face. That moment still lives in my heart. I thank all of the people who made this happen from the bottom of my heart through GV’s Talk.

Can you think of what is the unforgettable experiences that you had through vlogging?

Jinsha – Yes,  all the countries that I got to travel is through my Facebook page. It just opened up a whole new world to me. We both were software engineers but now vlogging is what we love and do for a living.

Do you have any tips to females who wanted to take up
vlogging as a career?

Jinsha – It a great world to be. It a full-time job for many. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is to be you. Be natural. Never try to imitate anybody. Many people have asked me if I’m rude at home but the reality is this is the way I speak and I’m most confident to speak that way. Now people like that. Also, there are many females who do not like to reveal their identity so people like them can do cookery shows and so on in the comfort of their home. It’s an income generator. Try and see what works for you.

Before we wind up do you have anything to tell the society
through GV’s Talk?

Jinsha – Okay! The one thing that I wanted to convey to all the readers of GV’s Talk is that if you believe in one thing strive your best to bring that into reality. There might be many hurdles in front of you but it will all pay off but make sure there is a good deed in what you do. Thank you, GV!

Thank you so much for having your time Jinsha. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

*************

You can follow Jinsha’s Facebook, YouTube & Instagram handle.

Instagram: Jinsha Online

Facebook: Facebook

YouTube: Jinsha Basheer


 

Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

A Couple Who Inspires To Travel Through Living Their American Dream. An Interview With Sanjay & Riya -GV’s Talk – Blogwithgokul.

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Sanjay & Riya! Merry Christmas to you both!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

Can you guys tell me about your first trip that you went together since the Trip Couple was born? Anything special about that place? 

S– Merry Christmas Gokul! We started off our first trip for Trip Couple by visiting the WTC.

R– Oh my god! It’s been almost two years since that trip. August 2nd week Trip Couple turns two years old.

G– Congratulations on that!

S– There is a reason why we chose World Trade Center initially because Riya arrived first in the United States in December on 29th 2015. She hasn’t been to New York before so I wanted to show her this brimming multicultural magnificent city and also this to be her first US destination to explore.

R– Moreover, my college was nearby and also Sanjay’s workplace was just opposite to WTC. For the video perspective, we found this place to be best because we already had prior knowledge about its history and also it was just a 30 mins ride on the train from home. We even knew what spots we should select for good visuals.

S– When we watched our first video on WTC we felt that we wanted to recreate in a better way. Initially, we just went around the WTC and shot the video but on the remake which we did a few months ago we had gone up to the 100th floor of WTC and have tried to get much better visuals.

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Are you guys inherited with lots of money to frequently travel? What do you guys think? Is it necessary to be rich to go on a trip? 

S– Haha! Absolutely not. I have a full-time job and Riya studies at the university and we live in New York. It is damn expensive to live in New York. Most of the places we travel around are in New York. Places like the NW upstate could be reached around in 3-4 hrs drive. So, it’s all in our vicinity.

R– We really don’t believe that being a traveller means you need to have frequent international trips. Exploring nearby destinations is more than enough to keep yourself educated with history and lets you know more about it. We encourage our followers to start exploring from their hometown and it could change the stigma of thinking that a traveller means a person who only does International trips. We had to turn down a lot of opportunities to do International due to financial constraints.

S– We are really not into splurge. We live a modest life so whatever extra penny we could save we use it for our trips and creating videos.

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Riya Overlooking the New York City.

People say once you’re married or if you have kids or get occupied with work they never find time to travel. Is it just our state of mind that holds us back from travelling? What do you guys think about it? Of course, you guys are proving it wrong but still… 

R– Yay! We have proven it wrong!

S– We believe that if you believe in your passion you will definitely find time to accomplish it. Saying that you don’t have time is just an excuse I believe.

R– We also split our responsibilities. Now that I am working too it is quite a task but we make sure that the job is equally split among us for instance, for a trip if Sanjay is busy with the editing stuff I take in charge of the planning the itinerary and we help each other. I believe I am lucky enough to find my soulmate who shares the common interest. Eeee.

We even make sure that we go to the movies and watch at least two movies in a month. So I believe its an excuse people make if they do not have time to travel.

S– Yes, if you are really passionate about travelling you would definitely find time for that.

R– Talking about travelling after having kids. We have examples from our trip couple community. We recently had a family coming all the way to the US from Dubai with three little kids all around the same age and they rented a car to see around the country!

S– Yes, we had Anand from Muscat who arrived in the US along with kids. There was another family who came along with kids too and travelled to Vermont and they even tried ski diving! So these all examples!

R– So yea! we don’t think these are travel barriers anymore.

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Packing bags is a nightmare for many. I personally hate them though. I often do get confused about what to take along with me. How do you guys pack your travel bag? 

S–  I am really not interested in packing travel bags. What I always check on is whether there is a pair of dress and charge in my camera, rest all is done by Riya.

R– I don’t really hate packing maybe because I am used to it. We only have an extra pair of dress for shooting videos. Like if its a 5 days trip we carry 6 pairs. We have almost everything geared up in the trunk of our jeep. We make sure there is first aid ready for long trips and so on. We care the camera bag the most while flying. We really don’t want someone to dump heavy baggage onto the top of it. We are always on the lookout. Our clothes luggage would be somewhere else which we usually don’t worry about. Unpacking and cleaning it up after the trip is a mess but! lol!

Sanjay is it true that travel is all about unexpectedness? What would you have to say to people who do not travel in the fear of not working out as planned? 

S– Many people do have fear for that.

R– Unexpectedness can happen everywhere not just while travelling. We must set our mind to be flexible. We had a lot many issues while travelling, last time we were on a tight budget and that was the time when we got charged 500 dollars for speeding ticket.

S– While visiting Grand Canyon we had to skip one part of it to reach our hotel on time and catch the flight the next day. We were quite sad for skipping that part of Grand Canyon but to our surprise, we were able to witness a great sunset on our way back which we showed on our Youtube channel. It was mesmerising!

R– On our trip to San Francisco our bag was stolen and we lost our passports and green card. We had to wrap up our travel to 5 days. So whenever you plan, plan for the unexpected and be a little flexible and have a backup if you cannot visit a particular place.

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Hersley’s love!

I have heard that people have misconceptions about a particular place until they visit them. Have you guys ever been astonished about a place that turned out to be just the opposite to your thoughts? 

S– Yes, that has happened much time. Riya did some research and came up with a place called Catskill mountains. She said we can have a train ride through the woods. It’s fall time so we could see colours but I wasn’t much fond of the place like I was thinking why should we travel this far to have a train ride? So yea I was hesitant first but then when we actually got to the place it was so beautiful that the colour was so stunning in green, yellow, red and so on. The mountaintop view was absolutely breathtaking. Anybody could actually drive all the way up there.

R– To the contrary, we drove a lot to a place to witness some Christmas lights.

S– It was a place called Coastguard Christmas Village.

R– We drove pretty far and it did not really meet our expectation.

S– Yea we had both experiences, but usually it turns out well!

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Imagine a fairy rings your doorbell and says that she can either offer 10000 Dollars or a trip to visit a place which you have dreamt about for ages. What would you guys choose? 

S – We would choose 10,000 dollars. Haha! We could really have a European trip. Maybe an Iceland trip first. Then go around Finland, Norway and so on with the remaining money.

R– We could go three to four countries with our budget plans with money. If the fairy would have said that she would give 1000 dollars and then a trip. I would have chosen the trip for sure.

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Tell us about your worst trip ever! 

S– We haven’t had any worst trips yet. Its been only two years since we started travelling so we are still experiencing everything one by one. Our trip to Las Vegas has been one of the most memorable trips ever. We almost spend 2500 dollars for that but it was worth it.

R– Yes, the most memorable trip to cherish forever.

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What you like the most and the least about Sanjay as a travel companion? 

R– I think what I lack is what Sanjay has in him. So we balance each other. They have been examples. He is always cool and carefree and tries to make me happy when I get worried. I was so terribly worried when we lost our passports but he was still happy about it. Haha.

S–  I tried to be cool unless it’s a dead situation. We had a trek which scared the hell out of us.

R– Maybe that’s the worst trip we had?

S– Yes! that’s it. This happened when we were so confident about doing hikes. We did 4 to 5 hikes in Pennsylvania and New York so we were pretty overconfident about doing hikes. We went to see crystal caves and then explored the caves and we started to hike around 5 in the evening. All of the sudden, it became dark and we never expected it to get so dark. The sun was setting on the other side of the hill. Soon after it became pitch dark and we had almost hiked for two hours up the hill.

R– We were so unprepared that Sanjay was just in his shorts, tees and boots whereas I was in casual wear and sports shoes.

S– I carried a lantern that was the only source of light and Riya was walking in front of me. Soon after, we heard a hissing sound and to our surprise, Riya found a rattlesnake right in front of her. She jumped backwards and fell onto me. We both were lying down with rattlesnake beside us. Riya is so scared of snakes that she almost fainted. Then we realised we have to get back to our car immediately when we found out warning signs to look out for bear attacks. We gathered our courage and kept running downhill until we reached an electric post. We stood there back to back to see if anything comes to attack us. We could hear spooky sounds and howl. I only had five per cent battery on my cell phone when I tried calling 911 for help.

R– We literally stood beneath the post for half an hour waiting for help. Believe me, it was like waiting for three hours. Thereafter, the firemen arrived and helped us reach our jeep. I was scared as hell and getting inside the jeep was heaven to me.

S– We drove for 2 hours back home and that night Riya couldn’t even sleep. We slept with lights on. Yes Gokul, this could be the answer for both the questions. Phew! A scary trip.

R– We always say don’t underestimate the nature be all prepared for the worst or at least have boots while on a hike! Haha!

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Tips to have a perfect American trip? 

S– I believe that the road trip is different for everyone. It depends on the time you visit. The east coast and west coast is totally different.

R– The thing you have to keep in mind is to do a bit of research on the internet. Everything is available there. You just have to spend some time on it. Make sure if your travelling on a tourist visa to the US then you have your medical insurance, medical care is so expensive here. Just a precaution. Talking about food, every kind of food is available here from Italian to Indian. Internet connectivity is great that you have access to it everywhere touristry. Another thing people should keep in mind is that do not carry heavy baggage. Most domestic flights have limitations and you have to pay extra. So carry less. People always keep in mind the terrorist interventions that have happened in the country so the security is vigilant and strict. Any unseen situations can lead the flight to be cancelled to that area. Get note of the emergency numbers and you are all going to go for the American adventure.

S- You see almost all landscapes in America that you will never go back disappointed.

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Your dreams and expectations for Trip Couple in future? 

S– Our greatest dream is just like all the travel lovers to travel all around the world. I always wanted to break my fear. I was always scared of heights so last time I went to a zip line which is the highest in North America. That’s the first step.

R– My fear for snake haven’t gone yet, Haha!

S– Haha! Also, create good quality contents on travel on Youtube and also spread positivity.

R– Pray for good health to travel more and spread good vibes.

 

Thank you so much for having your time both of you. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

You can follow Trip Couple on their Instagram handle.

Instagram: Trip Couple


To watch their Youtube videos and to subscribe head onto Trip Couple


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

Meet This Young Dubai Based Entrepreneur And Television Host Who Is Changing The Country’s Tourism Industry. An Interview With Nada Badran – GV’s Talk – Blogwithgokul

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Nada!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

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An Abra ride through the Dubai creek.

1) How was the whole idea of Wanderwithnada born? That initial spark?

Nada – I almost always have friends visiting Dubai for vacation or on business travel who I love to show around. We usually wander all over the city exploring all of Dubai’s bucket list experiences and its historic sights which have given the city its own unique flavour. I was always fascinated by the city, and so to watch my friends experiencing countless moments of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and amazement at the city’s diversity of cultures, this was an eye-opening moment for me. So I worked on finding a way to make those experiences accessible to other culturally curious travellers who travel the world, seeking educational and interactive adventures.

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Nada with her fellow wanderers

2) What makes Wanderwithnada stand out from the rest?

Nada – Wander With Nada is all about creating and capturing moments of culture, people, and authenticity in unexpected places. The tour experiences offered are unique in the way they are designed to be transformative to the traveller. Guests who arrive will see, learn, interact, and later depart with an expanded worldview. This is where the innovation lies, and falls far from the standardized tour offerings which may be targeted towards bulk travellers, and are designed to be more of the ‘point-and-see’ type which is often less informative and less personalized.   

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Some scenes from the bustling souks of Dubai.

3) Your favourite part of the city?

Nada – Dubai is a city brimming with gorgeous sights, architecture and culture spread out in both its old and new districts. I find that its magic is best captured from the heart of the city: the Dubai Creek.

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A staircase of stacked books.

4) How do you see Dubai in the next 20 years?

Nada – It’s hard to even imagine tomorrow let alone the next 20 years. The city’s growth is unrivalled in terms of its gravity and velocity. I often joke around saying that we’re going to be living like The Jetsons in a futuristic city with flying cars and jetpacks, but some of these technologies are actually real and are in development today. So who knows? In 20 years, we could be living our very own actual version of the show.

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Some snaps from Nada’s travel diaries in Europe.

5) Being a woman entrepreneur- How do you feel about it?

Nada – Female entrepreneurs are founding companies at an increasing rate across the world, and the MENA region is no exception. I think that starting the business here in the UAE was an advantage that many others in the industry may not have, simply because of the country’s focus on empowering individuals, whether they are women, men, or youth and ensuring that everyone is treated equally and fairly. That certainly levels the playing field. There are still a few bumps that I experience along the road which I manage to resolve simply because of my perseverance, but some shouldn’t be there in the first place. Hence why dedication is crucial.

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That majesty in architecture! 

6) The biggest challenge that came your way in building Wanderwithnada and how you overcome?

Nada – Challenges come in various shapes and forms. When you’re facing one, it often seems like the biggest thing you’ve ever had to tackle. So looking back, I’d say I’ve had several big challenges which I’ve worked to overcome throughout the different stages of the business. My best advice, in this case, is to not rely exclusively on your own opinions and expertise but to also seek others from more experienced individuals to avoid being blindsided.

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Alps, greenery and some fresh air!

7) The real essence of walking tours?

Nada – There’s nothing like experiencing a city on foot and immersing yourself in the local way of life topped with a dramatic narrative along the way.

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London calling!
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Her wanderers enjoying the Abra ride.

8)  The fairy question! If a fairy grants you a wish. What would you ask for?

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Nada – Ask the fairy never to let me give in to any fears so that I can keep following the yellow brick road.

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At the gateway of the Dubai Hindu temple street in the Old Creek.

 

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9) A message to the upcoming woman entrepreneurs in Dubai? How can they find assistance and guidance?

Nada – With any entrepreneur, I think the best way to find assistance and guidance is to seek a mentor(s) who is from outside your usual circle. Target individuals who have skills that you seek and spend time learning from them. Keep in mind that they’re not there to give you answers and solutions to the problems that you may be experiencing, but to share their expertise and even play the devil’s advocate and encourage you to become curious along every step of the way.

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Wanderers trying out the traditional Arabic dress on her tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) Wanderwithnada – Future expectations?

Nada – Being in this industry and city, the word ‘future’ isn’t 3 or 5 years down the line. It’s tomorrow. So I see the next day as an opportunity for growth. My growth plan centres on my vision for the company which is to provide immersive cultural experiences. This entails capturing a wider share of the market, offering a wider variety of local experiences, expanding the brand’s footprint into other emirates, and investing in a wider portfolio of services that are a part of the tourism industry.

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The beauty of the Dubai skyline.

Thank you so much for having your time Kristin. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can follow Nada on her Instagram handle.

Instagram: Wander With Nada

Don’t forget to watch her mini travel series telecasted on CNN Arabic named ‘Tajawal Ma’a Nada’.


To book walking tours with Wander With Nada in Dubai !! Just head onto this website: http://wanderwithnada.com/


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

This Monsoon Vacation Escape Into A Tranquil Tree-House Hideout In Munnar, Kerala- Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat.

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Blossoms along the way to munnar.

Thinking about a quick trip to do on your short vacation for a week? Is your Indian blue humble passport holding you back from your plans to travel to International destinations?

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The lovely curve roads for a perfect drive.

I have often felt lost for myself trying to figure out the visa procedures for a quick escape and have looked upon my fellow mates who hold the US, UK passports jump onto Skyscanner and book tickets and fly the next day. Well, there is nothing we can do about rather get yourself in a tour package spending a lot of money or dedicating an entire day at the embassy.

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That lush greenery

But I have wondered, it could be because we have a world within us.

Spreading from Andaman & Nicobar Islands to Kashmir & Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh exhibit a whole lot of difference in culture and language.

Kerala- a land blessed with coastal and hill ranges have never disappointed its visitors. In this blog, I am introducing Ela Ecoland, a quick hideout in the Hill ranges of Munnar that I visited last summer.

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Enjoying my evening on the balcony of the tree house.

Ela Ecoland is a nature retreat than a resort. I found the retreat to be so close to nature that I did not find anything artificial or non-biodegradable used in its premises.

Ela Ecoland offers three types of accommodation.

  • Rock house rooms
  • Luxury Tents
  • Treehouse

Treehouse stay is unique in his style. They aren’t many treehouses in Munnar only a couple of few countable on fingers. I was lucky enough to stay in one among them.

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Getting my works done on a tree house in the woods.

Golden tip: If you’re interested in Treehouse then book them at least one week in advance and to be noted Treehouse is couple friendly which accommodates two comfortably.

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The view of the tree house from below.

The view from the Treehouse is stunning that it overlooks a small pond with falls and to add to the natural beauty they have a bamboo raft which can be used to move around in the pond.

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The bamboo raft 

As the sun goes down begins the chirping of the birds that you feel you are totally lost in the jungle having nothing to worry about your chaotic life and is best if you want to disconnect yourself from the hectic life you have back in the city.

The stream flows by that adds to the beauty and serene environment. Imagine laying on your cosy bed in the cool weather where the temperature drops to as low as 15 °C listening to the chirping of the birds and stream, reading your favourite book. Perfecto!

If you want to stay connected then internet wifi facility is available at the reception. Mobile networks go on and off. Idea and Bsnl networks often work but are not stable.

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Benjamin with his friend.

Run by these two nature lovers Benjamin and his friend would never leave you disappointed. So, this monsoon vacation head to Ela!

Excuse me! Don’t forget to take your camera with you! You may come across some beautiful spots to capture nature photographs.

You can also watch my Youtube video on Ela Ecoland for some visuals.

Do visit to get connected to the nature retreat to book your stay through this website.

Happy Vacation!

Blogwithgokul©

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For Nature retreat website: www.elaecoland.com

For booking call: +91 9400946800


Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

Make sure you also follow Benjamin on his Instagram YouTube Channel.

This Malayalee Couple Vlogger Is Set Out To Explore Dubai- An Interview with Midhun and Vasu -Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk Midhun and Vasu!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. Tell us about yourself.

Midhun- We live in the United Arab Emirates lately. We are natives of Kerala, The beautiful south Indian state of India. We grew up there and after marriage, we moved to Dubai.  That is when the idea of vlogging struck right into our minds. I tried my luck and people seem to like it. Yes, that’s why we are here now!

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‘Vloggers’ The term that could describe you both. Right? How did your journey as a vlogger begin?

Midhun- I am a persistent viewer of Mo Vlogs. I watch that almost all day. Then I started to watch Casey Niestat Vlogs. I admired their way of presentation and editing. I understood that it would be quite popular and accepted by the English viewers but was doubtful about the regional viewers. After a while, I came across the videos of vloggers from Kerala. So, that’s when we thought it’s time to start vlogging and the journey begun. 

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Vlogging could be tough I assume especially when you’re in the middle of the street and when people stare at you while speaking to the camera. Is it true? If yes, how do you tackle it? 

Midhun- Anybody can buy a camera and edit videos without much prior knowledge in them but I guess the real challenge that arises is the one you said ‘dealing with the people around you’. Not only in the Middle East but in India as well when you walk around the streets talking to your camera they are chances that people get offended especially if it’s a woman near you. They might think that you are trying to capture them, they wouldn’t know if your a vlogger or a youtuber. I make flights reviews often and it’s an absolute challenge to record video in a confined space without spoiling the privacy of other passengers. I mostly turn my camera towards the window and shoot.

Vasu- For me overcoming the fear and shyness was the major challenge. Initially, I felt really awkward to talk to a camera which was a non-living thing, I felt weird but later I got accustomed to it. I was a person who had stage fears and whenever we had a stranger on the vlog I prefer to be silent but now things have changed after our 90th video. I am more comfortable to interact with people and talk to our travel companion which is our little camera.

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‘A turning point’, one vlog that you could mention that just blew your expectation? 

Midhun- Well the turning point was, While I was vlogging all the way to India from Dubai Actress Swetha Menon was in my same flight and I met her and told that I am vlogging and requested her to say ‘Hi’ to my subscribers and then a thumbnail for my video. The video just went viral crossing 1 lakh views. That was the video which made me realise that even I can achieve one lakh views being a regional language video creator, it was unbelievable. If Shwetha Menon reads this blog we both take this opportunity to thank her from our heart. Thank You Swethaji!

I went through your vlogs on YouTube and when I scrutinized through the comments. Most of them are so eager to know about this and have asked ‘Midhun and Vasu! What are your jobs?’ Haha. Yes, what do you do for the living? Full-time vloggers? 

Midhun- Yes! I Think it is one of the questions which I get often asked. Most of the Youtubers from Kerala like Sujith Bhakthan, Ebadu and so on would have answered this about them almost every month. I have income through three sources presently. I run a start-up company in Dubai, then I also work as a director for a US-based company.

Vasu- I work for a travel company.

Midhun- We have also started to earn quite a sum of money through Youtube recently as well.

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Vasu it’s your turn first. What makes Midhun a good travel companion? And then Midhun how about you?

Vasu- Actually, whatever I say he listens…

Midhun- Hey! When in Kerala, Whenever I ask her to hang out she jumps onto the bike and keeps blabbering throughout the journey. Haha! A chatterbox in short.

Vasu- See it works like this, I believe that one should be talkative and other should be silent. So, I belong to the former one while chettan (Midhun) belongs to the latter one.
He keeps listening to me throughout our travels. I think that’s what makes him a good companion. Haha! Thanks for bearing me.

MidhunOurs was a love marriage but even then we never talked or imagined that we will turn into vloggers. All we wished is to buy a house and get settled in a peaceful place and lead a good family life. I would say Vasu is the backbone for me. She became really familiar with vlogging and she is the one who insisted me to buy Canon G7X when I said I will go with something that is cheaper and would do the job now. Her attentiveness makes her a good companion.

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‘Vloggers On Rise’. Young generation looks to you on YouTube. How can you impact the society being an influencer? 

Midhun- Let me not narrow down into vloggers alone. I believe the social media itself has influenced the young generation a lot. In the forms of trolls, vlogs, blogs, memes, live streams and more people are being aware of the happenings without spending time reading newspapers. Each persons opinion matters. So imagine each person voice their stance through online platforms and then the overall voices play a very important role in the end, it could be an issue that is political or social. Moreover, Sharing of information has improved rapidly. Networking takes place in a blink of an eye. You are able to connect people of similar likes and beliefs. Be a part of initiatives, connect to eminent personalities and this itself is a great example being a part of GV’s Talk by you Gokul. I believe India is going to witness a massive change by 2019 elections and social media influencers will be a great part of it.

Vasu- I would say just like the young generation, people in their old age too are viewers of Youtube. Living all their lives and being in the retirement age and when young people bring out something different to watch they seemed to be curious. I wanted to influence them in a way that saving money, building a house or buying a car is all a necessity but above all, we have to travel, see things that are new to us, learn about other customs and tradition.

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Tips for upcoming young vloggers? 

Midhun- My suggestion would be I think almost all of you should have a youtube channel. Earlier days advertisement was done through local media and newspaper but now most ads are through google and facebook and its reach is on a global level. Money circulates through the global market so if we can cluster it in our market it would be a huge revenue. Create a channel and start promoting your business or whatever. Bring positive contents.

How do you manage to travel frequently? Do you take a day off for vlogging

MidhunIt’s not possible to travel around for 365 days a year while working but certainly you can have a balance between both. Keep aside a day in a week for travelling and that is enough for vlogging. It need not be a trip to a foreign country it could be a walk to an open market down the streets.

Most of your followers are from Kerala. What do you guys have to tell them at this moment? 

Midhun Let me thank everyone for supporting us so far. Please keep supporting.

Vasu- Live your life, keep your worries aside and create some memorable moments so that once you reach your old age you will have something to cherish about always. Keep supporting us.

Thank you so much for having your time. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can subscribe to Midhun V Sankar & Vasu’s Youtube channel.

Youtube channel: Midhun V Sankar


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

A Young Artist and A Social Media Fame: An Interview with Akhilshah-Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk Mr Akhilshah!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. Tell us about yourself.

Akhilshah: I’m Akhilshah. My friends call me Akku. Well, I come from the Perinthalmanna district of Kerala. A high school graduate and all set to begin a college life. I’m so passionate about arts and love to sketch portraits of people. I make dubsmash videos which made me popular on the social media. Yeah! That’s why I am here! Haha.

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Akhilshah with the portrait of Malayalam Actor Jayasurya

Let’s talk about art first. Okay. Who was the first person who found your talent to become an artist?

Finding out the talent in me. Yes, I would say my parents are the one who found my talent in arts. My mom, she always encouraged me to pursue my interest in arts from a very young age.

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His galore of art collections

Have you had any formal training in arts?

No, I haven’t. I could say I always loved drawing on papers and that is how I grew a passion for it. Like the more you practice the more perfect you get. I figured out the ways in which one can create a great art. During school days, We have an hour dedicated to the arts. My school art teacher helped me during that hour giving me certain guidelines.

A young man who graduated from high school. Right? What are your plans for the future?

Yes, graduated from high school. I wanted to be an Architect. That’s my ambition. I have taken NATA exam to qualify for Architecture colleges in India. Yea, waiting for the allotments to be published. I would definitely work on creating more sketches.

Akhil at this young age you were able to meet a lot of celebrities but tell us how many celebrity sketches have you done so far?

I have sketched a lot of celebrities portraits, I haven’t taken the count but in person, I got the opportunity to create portraits for nine celebrities. They include actress Sruthi Lakshmi, Nyla Usha, Surabhi, Abhirami, Rimi Tomy, Bhama, Honey Rose, Mamta Mohandas & Chakochan (Kunchako Boban).

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Akhilshah with Mamta Mohandas and Kunchako Boban

Who is the dream person that you want to present a sketch for?

I have been a hardcore fan of our ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar since childhood. I would love to meet him and gift him one. If it happens I would be in cloud 9.

Recently I saw your performance on the television in which you created an art within the limited time period of a song! Which is absolutely mind-blowing. How challenging was it?

Yes, I drew the sketch of Lalettan. It’s called stencil art. It was my first time performing on stage, I was very nervous as well. The audience was so supportive that I completed it on time. I hope I did my best.

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Presenting an art to actress Surabi

Amazing talent in acting as well. Do you wish to try your luck in the film industry?Yea I love to act in films. It’s been one of my dreams from childhood. I am not much into lead roles in a movie but I would love to play a role of a supporting character in which I can explore more in acting. Yes, I love to, let’s see wants in stock for me. Haha.

Which was the video that led to your popularity?

My first video that went viral was the one I did from the Malayalam sitcom M80 Moosa. I enacted the characters of Pathu and Moosa in a double role. When I posted it on Facebook I realised that it was gaining many views in a short span of time. Later, it started circulating on Whatsapp and Youtube. The lead Actress Surabhi who plays the role of Pathu, Indian National award winner by chance saw the video and shared it on her fan page.

In most of your Dubsmash videos, your sister had a huge involvement? How fun is it to make videos with her? What does she do?

Haha! Yes, We always fight each other and the only time we stand cheek by jowl is when making a dubsmash video. She is in 5th grade and I love collaborating with her. She has a whole lot of a humour in her and the positive vibe we get when we spend time with kids is boundless.

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With his sister during the making of a dubsmash video

To watch dubsmash click here: Dubsmash

Who is your biggest support or the backbone who drives you to move forward creating videos or draw sketches?

I have to thank my parents first for helping me pursue my passion along with my studies. Then comes friends. I have to mention my uncle, he has been a constant support, encouraging me to do more arts and videos. He is always there for me.

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A portrait of Neymar and Messi

Before we wind up the talk Akhil what do you have to tell to the people who supported you by sharing your videos and made it a great hit?

When I did my first video I never imagined that people would appreciate and promote it. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me come to the limelight.  Thank you so much and I wish to have them in the future as well. 

Thank you so much for having your time. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can follow Akhilshah on his social media handles:

Facebook: Akhilshah


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.