SheTravel

Dishing out food advice: Roxanne Bamboat, tinytaster.com

You know that tingling feeling in your belly when you are taking off to your vacation destination? Roxanne Bamboat experiences it more often than others. Having made a career of food and travel blogging, this spirited lady is living her dream.  She expresses her love for all things edible along with her wanderlust tales on tinytaster.com.  A writer who believes that great content will always stand out, no matter what the competition is. In conversation with Radhika Sharma

Food as a career

“I have no journalism background nor any culinary or hospitality background. I was born and brought up in Mumbai and did my regular BCom with an additional diploma in advertising and marketing. I got really frustrated with my job and wanted a creative outlet and started writing about food for fun. It took me about 8 months after I launched the blog to really start writing about travel. Its not as easily accessible as food is, so that bit took a while – but eventually in 2014 is when the travel quotient really took off!

Roxanne Bamboat, Food Blogger, tinytaster.com

“Food is my life and my job- isn’t that absolutely great?”

Wanderlust is not an easy job.

“It’s not easy at all. Anyone who tells you that is either the exception/ terribly lucky or straight up lying. Then again which job is easy ? It is always tricky while trying to pitch ideas to editors and publications but any freelance writer will agree with that. You do it because that’s really all you ever want to do. ”

“Quit whatever you are doing and just travel”- the new age mantra.

“The internet is full of articles like this and while they might try to inspire -I find them extremely misleading. Let’s be honest, travel is not cheap. It is an expensive proposition and it requires both time and money. The first thing I tell everyone is when you travel for work its not as luxurious or exciting as we make it out to be. At the end of the day it is still work and you are on a fixed schedule.My biggest advice to anyone is DO NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB. Earn well so you can spend and take many trips.. long weekends, holidays.. everything can be worked out. I will always advocate travel and I always urge friends and my readers to explore new places but I urge them to be smart and plan their travel well.”

 

Roxanne Bamboat, Food Blogger, Tinytaster.com

“Wanderlust isn’t easy and I want people to know that. “

The one woman enterprise.

“It is a tricky business and one needs to establish themselves well. I feel content will always be king no matter what anyone says and if you have good ideas people will be interested to publish your work. Please be respectful of  time and don’t flood or spam inboxes! It takes time and a lot of work but if you’re serious it will happen!

Some Culinary gyaan please!

 ”It comes very naturally because I am extremely opinionated about food. I know what I like and should be on a plate. I write about food not because it is fashionable or cool or because I get free meals ( believe me I turn more than half of them down ). I write because I enjoy it and I love how food brings people and communities together. I’ve had many many wonderful culinary experiences and it would be hard to pick one. I spent three weeks travelling through Portugal , some time in South Africa – Singapore is a superb hub for all kinds of food. I really like eating local food, so pizza and pasta in Italy, French Onion soup and Crepes in Paris, EVERYTHING in Thailand but for me London was fascinating because I ate ridiculously good Japanese, Iranian and my favourite Peruvian meals. ”

Roxanne Bamboat, blogger, tinytaster.com

“Lisbon will always have a special place in my heart”

The gender bias in the industry

“Thankfully no. I think if I experienced any sort of bias I would be seething and would make it very clear that it’s not appreciated. I have however felt a strong bias towards Western bloggers Vs Asian and specifically Indian ones. I have had international brands say that they aren’t  really looking at India which I find insane because we’re such a huge market but they only want to focus on the west. ”

Favorite places in the world are….

“Oh my lord, that’s like asking me to pick if I like my right hand over my left ! I love every place as cliched as it sounds because I don’t compare. I love them each for their individuality, their vibe, their culture , their people and most importantly their food. I will say that Lisbon has a special place in my heart. I just fell in love and never wanted to leave. ”

 

Tourism Spain presents Smart Cities for Smart Women

One women entrepreneur is set to fly to Spain to visit smart cities at the Digital Women Awards. Spain has long been a popular tourism destination but now with technology it’s revisiting the concept cities it can offer to its visitors. Spain has boosted its tourism sector setting goals and taking the necessary steps, after considering the diverse factors influencing the idea of a smart city, such as globalisation, changes of habits, environmental respect, transportation costs, and especially the progress towards an information-based society and the importance of new technologies. Have a look at the exciting aspects of smart cities that women entrepreneurs at the Digital Women Awards will get to explore.

What is a Smart Destination?

The Smart City paradigm is meant to be the last (and beloved) son of Postmodernity for urban territories, providing useful tools (an attractive mix of leadership, infrastructures, services and people powered solutions) for making them more efficient, more sustainable and more livable for citizens, as well as more attractive for tourist and occasional visitors.

Why a Smart Destination?

The addition of both concepts, Smart City + Tourism, may be useful for destinations, particularly, as nowadays, there is an overwhelming need for cities to differentiate themselves in order to challenge other territories and establish their credentials as the best choice for prospective visitors and tourists of all sorts. The race of cities to be recognised as a major tourist destination can reveal some success stories, several examples of the perils of commoditisation.

New services, apps or urban products regarding safety, ecology, mobility, connectivity, retail or cultural issues associated with the Smart City deployment are growing in importance regarding the consolidation or re-creation of the image and identity of destinations perceived by visitors.

Spain as a Smart Tourism Destination

For decades, Spain has been in the top positions of world tourism rankings: it is the world leader in sun and beach tourism, it is in 3rdpositionin international tourist arrivals (2014) and 2nd in revenues generated by tourism (2014).

In order to keep this position, Spain has to boost its tourism sector setting goals and taking the necessary steps, after considering the diverse factors influencing this sector, such as globalisation, changes of habits, environmental respect, transportation costs, and especially the progress towards an information-based society and the importance of new technologies.

In these circumstances, it demands creation of a new model linking tourism to the “smart” concept. The predecessors of this model are the “smart cities”, but in this case the model focuses on the motivations and needs of the visitor and the destination itself.

Segittur, Pioneer in implementing “Smart Tourism Destinations”

Segittur has implemented a new programme based on researching and developing “Smart Tourist Destinations”. This project is officially recognised through the Strategic Spanish Tourism Plan, approved by the Spanish Government Cabinet in June 2012. It includes concepts such us sustainability, accessibility, innovation and technology related to tourist destinations. The implementation of this new strategy represents the destinations shift towards a new model that replaces the old ones: quality destinations or purely sustainable destinations. The fusion of these concepts creates a brand new one: SMART TOURIST DESTINATIONS.

After months doing research and consulting private and public stakeholders, a smart tourist destination has been defined as: “An innovative tourist destination, built on an infrastructure of state-of-the-art technology, guaranteeing the sustainable development of tourist development areas, accessible to everyone, which facilitates the visitor’s interaction and integration with the destination and increases the quality of the experience”. As a result, it stimulates competitiveness through innovation, which leads to an improved perception of the destination and a greater productive capacity for companies, generating a better quality of life for residents.

The art of tying a Coorgi saree

Saree is a symbol of empowerment. That notion possibly gains special stature in Coorg where women are central to the society and the economy for who they are, and what they stand for. Their method of saree draping is one of the unique ways compared to all other styles. It has been a part of Karnataka’s rich culture since a very long time and has not changed a bit since its origin. The Kodava women find it very convenient and comfortable to move around in the hilly regions and to climb trees. In this Kodagu style the pleats are tucked at the back side unlike the other styles where the pleats come in the front. Here’s Radhika Sharma in her own at Virajpet.

 

More in our solo traveller series, Her Journeys

 

Her Journeys through coffees of Coorg

Coorg is among India’s most picturesque settings. A medley of beautiful clouds and fresh crisp weather paired with the stunning view of the Coorgi mountains, is what surrounds the serene town of Virajpet. The roads are windy, but the serene calm is steady and exuberant. Waterfalls, green grass follow you every step of the way in this land of spiritual happiness. The trees sway to the sound of the singing peaks, the atmosphere is truly alive for delightful memories to be carved in. What makes it a exhilarating journey is that it’s among the most empowered places for women as Radhika Sharma discovered through every bend of her trip.

 

Love Travel: Check Out Our Series ‘Her Journeys

Venture into the wild: Her Journeys with Binjal Shah through Kanha

Travelling alone is among the many things I have always wanted to do. That sense of oneness with nature. We leave the cocoon of our lovely resort and drive on a longish journey with many reminders that we were in tiger country. As I have come to discover, the charm of a safari is much more than the butterflies in your stomach hoping to find the tiger on his own turf. Adventure is itself our story. It is simply the most beautiful way to spend time with nature in its own and getting oneself a little better.

Munnar: Of sights, spices and splendor!

 

Far from my northern Indian notion of a hill station, Munnar the picturesque Kerala escapade is akin to Neverland. Lost in a time warp, the nostalgia of yore, of old-world myths and all that vintage charm that capitalism hasn’t yet encroached upon, unlike in the North. Nestled in Western Ghats at an altitude of 6000 ft, this picturesque hill station beckons nature lovers because of emerald green tea plantations, forests, hill ranges, valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. Did I say waterfalls? This pristine hill station, far from the urban mess, still retains its old-world charms.

 

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God’s Own Country: Kerala

 

 

With its carpet of emerald-green tea plantations, every turn on the road, resembles another frame of the perfect scenery. For someone having lived in Himalayas all through the growing up years, Munnar holds its charm. Western ghats shine in their lush greens, reveling in the magnificent low mountain scenery. “Moonu” means “three” and “Aru” signifies ‘waterway’, Munnar blooms out from the meeting point of rivers- Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala and spreads along these three.

 

Although the guidebooks suggest against monsoon season which extends from June to August, I loved it even more in the rains. The wet roads, rain-kissed flora, hustling winds with a smell of the soil, there’s this word for it right, petrichor?  Monsoons made for a perfect companion during my trip to Munnar, the third day of my stay I hiked to the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate and boy, was it a sight!  Flanked by a row of rugged mountains on its one side and a dense cover of forests on the other. I feasted my eyes on the view of deep valleys laced with wilderness! It was quite a task to reach this spot but it was truly worth the effort.

 

 

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Mahindra Holidays Resort In Munnar

 

 

The monsoons made for a fabled Eravikulam National Park experience wherein trees swayed with a ballet dancer’s enthusiasm. I wish I could have captured all this ethereal beauty in a time-capsule – the gurgle of the rivers, the hovering clouds and their aplomb, the crickets and the birds, raging waterfalls. Even the rains were a different breed here, it poured and yet what you were left drenched in were the fragrance of the forest. Somewhere in the greens, Nilgiri Tahr, the rare butterflies and the mystic flower, Neelakurinji, which blooms once every 12 years, were concealing their secrets from the prying eyes of tourists but to travelers, they were inviting.

 

Hidden Escapades

 

Whilst Munnar has been endowed with all that a hill-station would want, here are two of my favorite escapades from the town. These are a little off track from the buzz of the city radii and yet believe you me, this de-tour is well worth the effort!

  • Maryoor: 40 kilometers from Munnar, Marayoor is drenched in the veil of history (or shall I stay pre-history) this shrine of ancient heritage houses Dolmens (prehistoric structures believed to be ancient burial chambers). Dolmens have four stones and a fifth cap stone on the top, these structures are found across the globe, but the origins remain clear. Maryoor definitely gave me the adrenaline rush of being in an Ancient Aliens set.

 

  • Devikulam: Also known as Sita Lake, Devikulam is 22 kilometres from Munnar. I loved how this otherwise pristine lake interspersed with the hollowing winds – curating ripples and picturesque reflections on its canvas. The swaying swathes of forests and proximity with all that is green in God’s green earth give Devikulam a pious touch. As per the legend, Goddess Sita bathed in the sparkling waters of this lake, hence the name. Since this lake is a part of the Tata Tea Estate, you’d require prior permission.

 

Given the love for coffee and condiments, I reserved two days for the Tea Gardens. Tea flavors, spices, ginger and cardamom, I gorged upon each sight and smell! It was indeed a different experience to see how clove and cinnamon look in nature. I complemented the tea garden visits with an extensive assortment of chocolates!

 

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Facades of resorts in Munnar

 

What’s in it for Women?

 

To start with its a great place to spend some time with yourself. The lush greenery, the cocooned safety of tea gardens, the rich history of Munnar all bring several interesting options for women to choose from. Additionally, for those wanting to explore bicycle rides in the green to tailormade tours for history, heritage, tea, keralite cooking and more. Even a long walk absorbing the slow pace of the surroundings rejuvenates the senses. Couple it with plantation tours or take a hike up to the lush green hills and you are bound to fall in love with the place.

 

The Twin Duo of Manali and Kullu

 

Manali! The Queen of Hills, that’s what I believe. Some argue that it’s not Manali but Simla that deserves to be the Queen. But close proximity to the mountains and infinite travel possibilities that Manali offers to men and women alike, deservedly makes it the Queen.

 

Manali is not a place to just see on a weekend trip from Delhi or Chandigarh. Instead, it is a place to feel and soak in the spirit of doing the things you always wanted to do. Savor the delicious pahadi food, volunteer with NGO’s or local monasteries, and cherish the joy that closeness to Mother Nature brings.

 

The sleepy town of Old Manali might bring you close to your inner self. If nothing, you’ll surely associate yourself with the brotherhood of #HappyTravellers.

Whenever one talks of Manali; its twin Kullu, often gets sidelined. Today, we shall see Manali and Kullu as sister Himalayan Towns and go through what all they have to offer to a tourist; who could be a honeymooner, or a backpacker, or just another guy trying to find himself in the wilderness.

 

Manali – Where is Snow?

 

Manali means snow. Doesn’t matter which tourist category you belong to, the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Manali is of snow. Finding snow in Manali in peak summer season is little difficult as it is a crowded town that attracts hundreds thousands of tourists.

 

But within a day’s travel from Manali, there are many snow points that will bring out the little child in you, who always wanted to bombard others with snow balls. Other than this, Manali offers a little something to all types of travelers.

 

Things to do in Manali

 

>Take a stroll along the Mall Road. A tiny market bustling with people from all walks of life. A true manifestation of different colors of Indian culture absorbed in the warmth of the mountains.

>If you are a bike enthusiast, hire a day bike, you will find many rental services. Take a ride to close-by places like Vashishth, Gulaba, Naggar Castle, and Kais Monastery. All these can be covered in a day. And you can park your bike anywhere. No parking hassles.

>Old Manali means food, dance, and music. Indulge in delicious organic food, talk to strangers, walk along the tiny rivulets that flow all along the length and breadth of Manali. Cherish the freedom!

>Hike all the way from Mall Road to Hidimba Temple and observe how Manali has still preserved it cultural heritage. Not just the temple but ancient buildings surrounding the temples will tell you the same story. It’s just a 2 kilometer walk. If nothing, you will at-least breathe fresh air coming straight from the towering Deodar trees ;)

>Help Locals Takea souvenir back home, like a handcrafted shawl or a pahadi topi. These clothing items are made by various cooperative societies comprising mainly of women of Manali and near-by villages. What better way to empower women of the mountains! That’s what the spirit of #SheThePeople tells us.

 

What Not to Do in Manali?

 

If you are travelling by public transport, make sure you have made all your bookings well in advance. The state owned buses are reliable and have frequent service between Delhi and Manali

 

 

Kullu – A Forgotten Wonder

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The Beauty of Kullu

 

What would you do if you have been driving in a crawling lane and all of a sudden you see a diversion wide enough to accommodate all the mad rush of tourists heading towards Manali?

You will take a diversion, Right? Wrong!
That’s how you miss the incredible town of Kullu. The town of ancient wooden temples and homemade Kullu shawls.
Of late a few monasteries have added all the more to the charm of Kullu Valley. One such monastery is located right atop the hill overlooking this entire valley.

And if you are fond of trekking or hiking, Kullu has to offer you even greater heights.

 

 

Where to Stay?

Mahindra's White Meadows, Prini

Mahindra’s White Meadows, Prini

 

If I were you and I’d have to choose between Kullu and Manali, I’d take Manali every single day. Why? Because Manali has that magical charm associated with it’s weather and it’s people. And of course, there is no match for Manali’s hospitality.

Mahindra’s White Meadows at Prini are a great place to find solace from the mad rush of the city life. Right beneath the towering rocky slopes of Hampta Pass and Shring Tungu Peak, this luxury resort is worth giving a try. Try it, you won’t regret it!

 

Is Manali Safe for Women Travelers?


You’ll find many desi and videshi female solo travelers in Manali. Tourism in small-towns like Manali has certainly helped Indian women to follow in the footsteps of their western counterparts. However, a cautious approach will always keep you out of trouble’s way.

 

Here’s what you can do to make your Manali sojourn an unforgettable experience.

  • Plan Well Random is good, without any doubt. But a well planned journey will always keep you out of harm’s way. For instance, avoid walking down from Vashisth Hot Springs to Manali in the dark. That area is dimly lit.
  • Communicate Around Manali, there are numerous short day hikes. And a traveler will always be fascinated to head into the wilderness. Always, communicate with your hotel staff or family about your plans for the day.
  • Seek Local Input There are certain places and even villages too where women wearing western attire are not welcome. Sounds crazy, but that’s how it is. While in Manali, do as the Manalians’ do. Always seek local input before visiting a remote village.

 

Incredible White Meadows of Manali

Mahindra’s White Meadows, Prini

 

 

Art of nouveau tourism, personalised shopping tours

Among Spain’s women achievers she has mastered the art of nouveau tourism. A personalised shopper who can tailor a luxury shopping sojourn to culling out gems from Spain’s hidden markets. Meet Gloria Hidalgo who is defining the notion of a traditional job. She uses her experience to know travellers better and plans tours that flexible and indulgent.

 

Series supported by Tourism Spain and Matrix Cellular

 

Turning back time in fashion with Amparo Fabra

 

Dressing up and turning back time – that was a most interesting part of Radhika Sharma’s journey through Valencia. The city reflects its past with great dignity, charm and warmth. Amparo Fabra is one of its most reputed designers of the traditional dress, worn by women in cotton or silk versions. Since 1981, this spectacular designer is visited by people from world over to experience the glory of Spain’s rich past and become a part of history. Costumes are worn for a special parade every year.

 

Radhika catches up with the very special Amparo Fabra.

Madrid’s best kept secrets every woman should know

I just loved Madrid. The best way to explore this heritage hub is on foot, strolling along the tiny alleys, streets and following the sounds of the bustling sidewalk cafes lining up the squares. It was free-spirited, with several parks, lots to do for those who draft their trips on food or those who hog history. I had a great time. In this interview, I am speaking with Sabine Schwanz who is originally German and just simply fell in love with the very charming Madrid.

 

Also catch some of our other stories in the series She Loves Travels with Radhika Sharma

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