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.

43788132_2085016115162484_3293423421274193920_n

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.

23826113_1862944097369688_5302076484289838197_o
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.

15194508_1678985082432258_3675443527847110996_o

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.

36773155_2002407573423339_1913520531525599232_o
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!

32475789_1960963600901070_5846314800484712448_o

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.

46486271_2107184896278939_951871225032867840_o

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.

44079454_2087272754936820_3073186869953953792_o

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!

26116256_1882225502108214_7924497782233017184_o

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.

30073581_1948326998831397_2855962276500933948_o

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.

Advertisements

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.

image1 (1)
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…

image2
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!

image3
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.

image4 (1)
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.

image5
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.”

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
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.

image7
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.

image8
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.

Insight Into a Travel Vlogger’s Life: An Interview with Sujith Bhakthan – Blogwithgokul (GV’sTalk)

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 Sujith Bhakthan!

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

Sujith: I’m Sujith Bhakthan. I grew up in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. I am a graduate in Engineering. I started blogging in 2008 and have been a full-time travel blogger for about 10 years. I own the channel  Tech Travel Eat on YouTube. It’s all about the latest trends in social media, technology, travel & food. Yes, a social media freak!

‘Kerala’s own travel vlogger’ What goes through your mind when someone addresses you in that way?

I would be extremely happy! Malayalees have always been a regular audience of prime travelogues namely like ‘Sancharam‘. I aimed out to bring something different from the conventional travelogues by introducing the concept of vlogging. Initially, people compare my videos with Sancharam and give a lot of criticism like ‘we really don’t want to see you talking on screen rather we would love to see the beauty of the place’. Now it has changed and people have accepted vlogging. Yes of course, who wouldn’t love being addressed that way! I’m honoured.

23331226_10213509815555478_1882800272677485366_o
Feeding the tiger in Thailand. Astonishing.

Vlogging as a whole hasn’t been that long since it bloomed among the Indian audience. How far has YouTube been popular among people?

I would say Youtube has become more popular after the launch of JIO services, It revolutionised the Indian market when the internet began to be available even to a common man for no cost. I assume that earlier people logged onto Youtube to watch movie trailers, gossip videos and so on. Now, they appreciate and spend the time to watch videos of content creators and are viewers of YouTube just like the national television. The massive number of viewers from a small community like the ‘Malayali’ itself is a great example of Youtube gaining popularity.

28423674_10214428252555829_652720011392481095_o
Paragliding in Kullu Manali, India

Congratulations on crossing 2 lakh subscribers on YouTube. Looking back into your journey how do you feel?

Thank you, GV. It’s actually on Facebook that I crossed 2 lakh followers and on Youtube, I crossed 1.3 lakh subscribers. As far as a Youtuber is concerned achieving 1 lakh subscribers is a milestone in his career. The target was to acquire one million subscribers in a year but I had to spend almost 1.5 years. I’m still figuring out why people are reluctant to hit the subscribe button. Haha! Well, the fact is I gain a good amount of watch time on YouTube, in actuality the number of loyal subscribers matters. For instance, if you have ten thousand subscribers for your channel and around six thousand are your fans then you’re a winner!

What could be the hurdles that can come across to a person while vlogging? Any situation to remember as such?

 When I started vlogging sometimes as I walked along the streets talking to the camera people used to laugh, tease and I have even overheard people say that I am mad. It was quite embarrassing. Later, I found a solution to it. I realised that it could be overcome by boosting up one’s self-confidence. Other than that would be restrictions in certain places for videography. I haven’t faced anything else so far. Now, I am all set to vlog in any situation in the best possible way I can. 

PHOTO-2018-06-08-15-35-04
Snow sledging with his brother.

The one video which turned out to fuel up your success rate as a Youtuber?

A resort named Rainforest Ayurcounty that rain for 365 days in Kottayam district of Kerala was the first video that became popular. It was an experimental video that I vlogged. Then I think the video about Kochi metro and T3 international terminal in Cochin airport were the turning point in my career. These videos reached the viewers profoundly. 

18121011_10211767856087580_6251597728081813083_o.jpg
Roadtrip to Goa, India. 

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

I had the golden opportunity to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron on an invite. The unbelievable thing is that I got the permission to capture a selfie video with him. I would always cherish that moment. Furthermore, I get extremely happy when I come to know that people had an amazing experience and express their words of gratitude for suggesting resorts and new destinations through my vlogs. I feel contented.

28872417_10214507904787085_9157410955619991552_o (1)
French President meet in Bikaner, India.

How can a vlogger influence the society? How impactful can one be?

Yes, Uhhmm… This is how it works. People are keen observers. Even if I have a scare or bruise on my face or body they notice it very quickly and you can see many commenting them on my video. This is certainly the case with the outfit I wear for vlogging, the types of equipment I use, the accessories and even the objects on the screen is been scrutinized and observed closely by the viewers. These are the reasons why companies consider us as influencers and approach for various marketing strategies. A Youtuber can certainly influence a society in many ways be it political or so on and it’s certainly up to the person. Yes, they are quite impactful.

23331497_10213509814155443_8695711538266835506_o
Dabbling with some scorpions in East Asia.

What made your transition from a blogger to a vlogger? Is it because people are more keen towards watching rather than reading these days?

Yes, the number of readers have dwindled in the recent years. It’s a fact. People are more towards videos these days. We need to catch up with the trends right? I think It’s already late when I started to vlog. I should have started off earlier but nevertheless, I believe it’s Ok. Furthermore, I am too lazy to write blogs now. Haha! I feel that I am able to establish an intimate connection with my viewers through visuals and express much more than words. This is absolutely an added advantage than blogging. 

28423693_10214428253515853_8518546971785060520_o
Time for some adventure.

‘Tech Travel Eat’ What are your dreams and expectations?

I wanted to travel to many places and explore different cultures, traditions, document visuals and reach them out for my viewers. Apart from that, I need to work on to have a consistent revenue model than now. ‘Travel with Sujith Bhakthan’ is on its way. It’s a long-term dream I have and I’m working hard for it. 

34692327_10215178879281028_5791425440564379648_o
Travel with Sujith Bhakthan

A large portion of your followers is from Kerala. What do you have to tell them before we wind up the conversation?

Wherever you go around the world you would definitely stumble upon a Malayali. Haha! Malayalees are passionate about travelling to places. It is always wise to travel around when you’re younger and healthy. There is no point in saving a lot of money when younger and keeping your savings aside to see the world at an older age. That is the time when you realise that your health doesn’t catch up with your passion. So, travel when your healthy and explore this amazing world as much as you can!

21122258_10212930085222582_5639760057244939751_o
At a press meet for promoting positive and informative content on the internet.

“Travel the world when your healthy and explore as much as you can” – Sujith Bhakthan

That’s a pretty good advice! Sujith.

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

Blogwithgokul©

****


You can follow Sujith Bhakthan on his social media handles:

FacebookTech Travel Eat by Sujith Bhakthan

Instagramtechtraveleat

YouTube:   Tech Travel Eat


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.