My corner of the internet. My place on the planet. Where I share my love of travel with the world.
Who am I?
I am Neeharika Satyavada.
I live in Hyderabad, India.
& I love exploring.
I am, also, a full-time independent travel writer, an award winning photographer and the blogger here, behind, Map In My Pocket.
What is Map In My Pocket?
THEN. In 2015. (When it all started)
If travelling is about exploring not just on the outside but within. For me, this blog is but a continuation of that exploration. That constant search to understand myself, express myself.
Through this blog if I am able to re-live those travels, give structure to my nostalgia and gain a sense of satisfaction from having ordered my thought and created something. And am able to bring inspiration. Even if it is just that one photo which made you want to pack your bags and go there, I would have achieved something.
So, here I am. Camera in hand & map in my pocket, forever ready to embark on that next journey.
psst..and, thats also how this blog got its name!
& NOW, In 2018.
Much has changed in these three years. Map In My Pocket has evolved. & so have I, along with it.
Today, on Map In My Pocket, I write comprehensive Travel Guides, Road Trip Itineraries, Destination Lists which include both mega monster lists like this one – Road Trip Guide: 56 Incredible Weekend Getaways from Hyderabad within 500 Kilometres or even quick city guides like this one here – 24 Hours in Jaipur. Because, I don’t want this blog to remain just a visual inspiration. I want for it to become a guide that you can bookmark and refer to when ever it is that inspiration hits you and you are ready to go.
But that does not mean I have given up on Travel Stories or Photography. How can I, for they are after all my first big love and what got me to start Map In My Pocket in the first place.
The things that I care about most and love writing about still remain the same.
Q. Do you Travel Solo?
No, I do not always travel solo. I usually travel with family, friends, groups or even that person that I accidentally met who shares my love of travel or photography.
Q. Do you do this full time?
Yes. I do now. But, I do not have the typical backstory of quitting my job to backpack around the globe. It was, in fact, my job as a Digital Strategist for a camera retailer that gave me the impetus to finally do what had been on my mind for as long as I could remember. So, when I started Map In My Pocket back in 2015, I was working full time. And, I still think it was the best way to start.
Q. How do you afford to Travel so much?
By the time I started this blog, I had already lived in Australia, Singapore and Dubai and travelled quite a bit there while pursuing my Masters. And, that I had already been into Photography for over two years helped with crafting my first travel stories for the blog. Later, after coming back to India, I started working and saved along the way to build my camera system and also travel. While doing this, I started Map In My Pocket and broke into freelance travel writing.
Last year, I quit my job and since then my main source of income has been from freelancing. I regularly contribute stories and images to Websites, Newspapers and Magazines – Lifestyle, In-flight and Corporate. Of which The Better India, Mint and Go Getter are a few.
You can see my Published Work, here.
I also make a little money from the blog, creating collaborative content for Brands and Tourism Boards that align with my interests and values. Like this piece here that I wrote for the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
BUT, all of this can only come together with finding the perfect balance of Work + Priorities + Splurge + Save!
Q. Are you a photographer, a travel writer or a blogger?
Can’t I be all?!
Q. What camera do you use?
I use a Nikon D810 with 16-35 mm & 24-70 mm Lenses. I also have a couple of other lenses and accessories that I use, but, not as often as these.
You can take a look at what’s in my camera bag, here.
Q. How many countries have you been to?
Honestly, I had never kept a track of this. Counting off UNESCO World Heritage Sites and my annual trips to The Himalayas was my thing. But, this is amongst one of the first few questions that I get asked every time I mention that I am (or am introduced as) a travel blogger.
So, that would be six countries – outside of India – of which, I have lived for a time in three.
For a complete (more or less!) list of where I’ve been, click here.
Q. Why ‘Heart in The Himalayas’?
After two major setbacks – in both my professional and personal lives – in quick succession, I was left to ruminate, search, experiment. Exploring to find a way to bring my life back on track on my own terms and to then create a life of my choice. It was during this phase in my life that I decided to take that life changing trip to the Himalayas, back in 2013.
I was a cocooned and protected only child of doting parents. A life of travel as a career choice, wouldn’t have even occurred to me at that time. But, as with things that are meant to be, I found a photography group that was travelling to Lahaul & Spiti, a little known desert valley in the Himalayas (then) – the middle land between India and Tibet, got my then-bestfriend on board, convinced my parents to allow me to go on this journey of self exploration and discovery. And yes, also got my first DSLR. Unwittingly comitting myself to a new life. One of travel and photography, without the slightest idea as to where that would take me.
& since then, The Himalayas have had my heart. 🙌🏻
Q. What’s your Travelling Style?
For me, it isn’t just about eating like a local (though that’s essential too). To truly experience a place, I believe, one also needs to understand its history, its heritage, its culture and most importantly its people. So, while I do like to not miss out on the touristy things, it is to going off the beaten track, exploring and discovering that I enjoy the most.
I BELIEVE TRAVEL, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THAT ONE TAKES UP IN LIFE, SHOULD BE DONE CONSCIOUSLY.
& as far as budgeting goes, I don’t like to confine myself to a particular style of travelling. Each destination calls for a journey that is unique unto itself. So if it is the Land of The Royals that I am headed to, then it is luxury all the way and if it is the Hippie Island of Virupapur Gadde, then I am all for renting that 200-rupees-a-night – mattress to spend the night under a star lit sky.
So, you will more often than not, find me hunting for and happily settled in, at…
Q. What are some of your favourite travel memories?
- Sleeping on the banks of a Lake that reflects the colour of the sky.
- Climbing my first mountain.
- Trekking to The Valley of Flowers.
- Road Tripping through the Himalayas in winter.
- Abseiling in The Blue Mountains.
- Waking up to the Sea in Gold Coast.
- Learning to Surf on the waves of the iconic Bondi Beach.
- Kayaking with fellow bloggers (who are now friends) in Kerala.
Q. What has been your biggest moment since you started blogging?
Winning the Kerala Blog Express and representing India in their fifth season has to be my biggest achievement as blogger. But, what has been a bigger moment for me personally and even professionally since I started blogging is to shoot The Pushkar Fair, 2017 with Mr. Raghu Rai. Because, photography for me transitioned from simple love to serious business only once I started blogging and this blog in a way became the means to fulfilling my ambitions as a photographer too.
Q. Do you have a Travel Philosophy or a Manifesto?
Yes, of course!
I did not always know this of course or consciously apply it to my travels. But, this is something I came to realise, as I found ways to travel more. Travel while studying. Travel while working. Travel while being based at a place like Hyderabad – neither a hinterland in the lap of nature nor a glamorous cosmopolitan city smack in the middle of all things happening. While saving up to travel. While researching to find destinations, near and far.