Full-time public relations & communications professional and hands-on mother, Bienu Verma Vaghela lives a life wearing many different hats, but she also makes sure to travel whenever the opportunity knocks. As the chief executive blogger of Travel-Knots, she’s passionate about sharing her adventurous experiences with readers across the globe.
Be it a journey to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Canada, or Dholera village of Kutch, writing about her travels is always something Vaghela looks forward to.
Read on below about Vaghela’s inspiring adventures and advice on how you, too, can make seeing the world a larger part of your life.
Where was the first place you traveled to?
My earliest memory of traveling to a particular place is difficult to configure, but I have very vivid memory of visiting Taj Mahal in Agra, UP, India which I visited while I was in grade VIII, with my parents on a full moon night. Till then I had seen Taj Mahal only in my history text book. And when I was there at the Taj Mahal, I found a vast difference between Taj Mahal in my history book and the one before my eyes. The real Taj Mahal was quite a revelation, as it’s much bigger and magnanimous than the one in my text book. By all means, it was splendid and looked absolutely out of this world on a blue moon night, though I could not think it to be the most romantic spot in the world. The ‘marvel’ created in ‘marble’ by Mughal Emperor Shahjehan was stunning and this is when I was inspired to travel to different places. It was true revelation to me how places are so different in reality than the one which I had seen in photographs or movies. This way the adventure streak was in me since childhood and when I grew up the passion to travel stayed with me.
On a camel at the Rann of Kutch.
When looking back on your adventures, which is your favorite memory? Tell me about it!
I have very fond memories of visiting Niagara Falls in Toronto, Canada which I visited in the year 2004 with my husband and daughter along with my brother-in-law’s family. It was Christmas time, December 23, 2004 and probably the coldest period of the season. The falls just left me perplexed how nature could be so enchanting, on one side water was flowing with full force, on the other side there was frozen bed of snow and as I moved little ahead, the chilly wind of -30 degrees – all under one roof. Never ever had I seen such a contrast offered by nature. I really did not know what to enjoy more — the fall, the snow, or the wind. The whole place is a splendid gift of nature. I wanted to go on a boat ride inside the falls to feel the force of water but unfortunately it was closed then. My favorite memory would be when I climbed the tower in the Niagara Campus to view the splendor of falls from the top. As I opened the door, I was thrown by the strong chilly wind and force was so strong that fell many meters ahead. I can never forget that ‘fall’ at Niagara Falls!
Visiting Lego Land in Malaysia.
What sparked your interest in traveling the globe?
There are many aspects which can be attributed to sparking my interest in traveling, like the urge to see places, monuments, beaches, churches, shrines, temples, jungles, safaris, bird parks, and many more. I love visiting and exploring the habitats of natives of that place. Getting to know the local delicacies and handicrafts, rather than staying put in the confines of resorts or five star hotels, is what I enjoy most.
I have a huge collection of handicrafts and specialties of every place across the globe I have visited. I like to share my experiences with people around me but I found that quite limiting. Thus I started blogging which turned out to be a very fulfilling experience, and now I am completely into it. My readers keenly await my post on the place I blog about on Travel-Knots. I always believed in the dictum: “Seeing is believing.” Reading helps, but visiting gives a new high. Moreover, after doing the stressful job as a media professional, the break to even a neighboring town recharges me. Hence I plan one mega trip internationally every four years, to India every two years, and one good trip every year to maintain my sanity!
How many countries have you been to, and which countries are on your wish list?
In my highly limiting life-style as I mentioned above I have taken out time to visit each and every state of India. I have also traveled to London, Paris, Canada, Kuwait, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and UAE. Countries on my wish list are: The US, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Europe, SA, Mauritius, and New Zealand.
Checking out the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Why did you decide to write about your travels?
That’s a difficult question to answer but, I wanted to share my excitement and knowledge about the places I visited with travel enthusiasts across the globe. I wanted to create a platform where others could share their experiences, which would enable me to choose which place to visit next. I have been associated with writing for long, so travel blogging was a natural progression of that expression.
Traveling opens up a world of opportunities. How has it changed your life?
Indeed, traveling opens host of opportunities for every traveler, even more so for bloggers or writers. It completely changes your attitude towards life. You become more adventurous, more disciplined, financially prudent, physically fit, and mentally and spiritually liberated. It has changed me in many ways, most of all I have become a disciplined writer which use to take a backseat earlier. My mind is always preoccupied with the thoughts of traveling here and there and I break free. Hail Wanderlust in me! There is absolutely no time to waste here and there, hence I learned better time management.
Visiting Rajghat, New Delhi, India.
Do you have any advice on adventurers looking to make travel a bigger part of their own lives?
It’s difficult to advice adventurers as they surf their own waters to learn and unlearn. Every adventure leaves you spell-bound and you yearn for more. But new adventurers should be better planned at the back-end with their research on the place they are going to explore, and I must tell you it really helps. The chances of faltering reduces manifold. You should be well equipped to face atrocities of the climate of your destination, you should know the things you are allergic to. If you’re scared about any adventure, it’s okay to stay away.
Indeed travel is an expensive proposition, but you can certainly make it a larger part of your life by looking at means of monetizing your travel sojourns by writing a book, organizing travel workshops, selling travelogues and photographs to magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and marketing your videos and blogs. This way your passion can become your profession.