“Home Sweet Home” Questionnaire #3: Shivya Nath.
1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your passion for travelling started.
I grew up in a small town where family vacations were mostly about visiting family in other parts of India. The world of travelling was just that big and I loved it at the time.
At 17, I moved to Southeast Asia to study, and woke up one day with a (real) world map in my hand. The travel bug had bitten me. I was never much of a city person, so I started looking for offbeat experiences that Google couldn’t tell me much about.
I’ve loved being on the road since, and have travelled extensively around Southeast Asia & Europe. I recently moved back to India to explore shores closer to home, and can’t agree more with George Moore’s words, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”
I must admit that my travel blog, The Shooting Star, is both inspired by and an inspiration to my addiction to travel.
2.) Where is home?
A small valley at the base of the Himalayas. It’s called Dehradun, and it lies in the state of Uttarakhand in North India. More than the town, home is the house that I grew up in.
3.) How did you get there? Have you lived there all your life, moved there because of College or just fell in love with the city/town on one of your trips?
This is where I lived until I was 17, and this is where I visit “home” from wherever I’ve stayed since.
4.) What does your living situation look like? Give us a brief description (city or countryside, apartment or house, messy or neat-freak, roomies, pets, plants etc.)
I’ve been working out of Delhi for the last few months, and was based in Southeast Asia before that, so my living situation changed pretty often. Though what I consider home is the house we built in 1990, just after I was born. My parents still live here, so it’s far from messy. We’ve had dogs and cats for pets, and now two rabbits live with us. We have mango & lychee trees in our backyard and a whole bunch of plants and smaller trees in our garden.
5.) What’s your favorite spot in your apartment or house & why?
My favorite spot in the house is the terrace. We have two levels, one of top of the other, and I love the higher one. From here, you can see the Shivalik Range on one side and the Himalayas on the other. It’s a cozy little place to stargaze at night and you can almost always spot shooting stars.
6.) Do you prefer books or movies (plus what’s your favorite one)?
Among travel books and travel movies, I prefer the former. Reading about travel gives me the freedom to piece together images of a place and its people, unlike a movie where the visual representation of characters leaves little to the imagination.
I don’t have a single favorite book, but I recently read “From Heaven Lake” by Vikram Seth and it was pretty awesome. Seth is an Indian author, and this book is a travelogue about his hitchhiking adventure from China to India via Nepal and Tibet in the early 90s. I dream about doing the route he followed someday, and writing about it from a 20 years later perspective!
7.) Where & how do you write your blog articles? Do you start with a rough draft or get right to it?
If a place really inspires me, I jot down free thoughts in the place itself, and piece together an article while I’m on a train or bus. I tried using pen & paper to do both, but it was futile for my technology-dependent self. Now I use Notes on my iPhone instead.
If not while travelling, I like to write out of a café with a nice ambiance. I prefer to get right to the article, but sometimes it helps to start with a draft.
8.) What does a perfect day in your hometown look like? What season is it? Are you inside or outdoors? Do you hang out with friends or family?
A perfect day is at the onset of winter. The sky is a clear blue. The sun is shining bright. It’s chilly inside the house. I am lounging in the garden or on the terrace, warming up under the sun, reading a good book or taking a nap, and the aroma of home-cooked food floats in the air.
9.) Name three spots in your hometown, which you’d probably not find in a guidebook but you could recommend to travellers. Tell us what’s special about them.
1.) Orchard – It’s a small café that overlooks a small valley below, a stream that flows through it, and the mountains in the distance. The food is awesome, and it’s the coziest place to catch up with old friends.
2.) Drive down Sahastradhara Road – Until a few years ago, there was no road in this area. Now that one has been built, it makes for a beautiful drive. It’s close to town, yet it offers breathtaking views of the mountains around, and the streams below.
3.) My house – Personal bias aside, I think it’s a beautiful place to unwind and forget all about the world outside.
10.) What’s your favorite local dish (if you have one in your country/town, please tell us which one)? Can you cook it & what are the main ingredients?
I love local street food. It is as unhealthy as it is tasty and I’m glad I don’t know how to cook it ;)
11.) How much does 1 liter (or one gallon) of milk and petrol cost today?
A litre of double-toned Amul milk costs Rupees 44, or a little less than US$1.
I have no idea about today’s petrol cost since I don’t drive, but everyone’s been complaining about how expensive it is. I’m glad I stick to public transport for the most part.
12.) Where are you right now, on which device to you answer this questionnaire and what shoes are you wearing (if possible please add a picture)?
I’m on a train right now! We’re crossing Haridwar on our way from Dehradun to Delhi, and I’m answering this questionnaire on my Mac. I’m wearing my travel sports shoes, but now that you ask for a picture, maybe I’ll change that answer ;)
13.) Last but not least: What does “home” mean to you?
Home is where the heart is ;)
On a more serious note, home to me is where I go back to each time I miss belonging somewhere. Home to me are the places I’m still carrying in my heart because I fell so deliriously in love with them. Home to me is where I live today and where I’ll live tomorrow. And most importantly, home to me is where I love waking up in the morning (or at mid-day!).
Want to be a part of this series?
If you want to be a part of our series, just go to the “Home Sweet Home” article and download the appropriate questionnaire. We’d really like to read your stories :)
Participants so far:
#1: Ulli Maier
#2: Nisa Maier
#3: Shvyia Nath
#4: Rika Huang
#5: Yvonne Zagermann
#6: Dario Endara
#7: Frankie Thompson
#8: Roy van den Bos
#9: Monica Stott
#10: Doris Neubauer
#11: Amanda Slavinsky
#13: Casper Oppenhuis de Jong
#14: Ashley Abroad
#15: Inma Gregorio