Name: Radhika Sharma
Occupation: Full-Time Blogger
Residence: Dehli, India
Career: Full-Time Travel Blogger
Passport Stamps: Bali, Malaysia, Italy, India, Mauritius
Radhika Sharma describes her home as a polluted, an overpopulated city, full of rude run-ins, but to be fair she does live in Delhi, India – the second highest-populated city in the world, amongst over 28 million other residents.
The 25-year-old could have been another number who simply calls Delhi her home but once she got a taste of the fresh air deep in the forests and high in the Himalayas, seeking the beauty of the world became her home.
Earlier this year, Radhika quit her job as a research analyst to pursue travel blogging full time on Nomllers alongside her childhood friend, Rachita Saxena. Their blog on average has 13,000 monthly readers who look to them for travel guides, experiences and a daily escape to the beautiful locations they venture to.
Radhika told me about her travel beginnings, her budget-friendly travel tips and why India is a safe place for a woman to safely adventure to – that is if you prepare and do your research.
In The Eye of The Tiger
By 21, Radhika didn’t have a single stamp in her passport but she longed to explore, much because of the nature of her traditional culture.
“Girls are kept in the shadows of their parents,” she said. “I wasn’t allowed to go out that much when I was young.”
Radhika was successful in convincing her parents to let her go to Corbett National Park, a wondrous forest full of wildlife. While she was on a safari during the trip, there was no guarantee that she would meet eyes with a tiger, but she saw four. She so vividly remembers the feeling of smelling the fresh air and of the adventure afoot that stuck with her as she journeyed back home.
“The feeling that I got then was something that I really cherished and it was a feeling I missed when I came back to Dehli,” Radhika recalled. “Every month I was going out to feel it again… my parents saw how happy it made me and so they just let me be.”
A Full-Time Passion
Once the fire of travel was ignited for Radhika, it soon became an adoration she couldn’t shake. Her profession as a research analyst contributed in helping her become more independent, which meant planning more trips with her friends in her spare time.
“It just became nonstop, I was working for three years and traveling side-by-side so it was an ongoing process to go out during the weekends and then go out and travel,” she said. “I remember one time with my job I managed to pull off sixteen trips, including international trips.”
Writing and posting along the way brought immense growth of the blog and social media following, she decided to quit her job in March and make travel blogging her main focus. She started getting sponsorships, brand collaborations, and tons of messages from her audience looking for travel advice.
When she initially made the plunge, she wasn’t sure if travel blogging as a full-time gig would stick but after about eight months at it, she doesn’t have any plans to go back.
“I get to do what I really love on my own terms,” Radhika said. “I can do things on my own and I’m my own boss which I really like and I really enjoy the freedom as well.
Being a Friendly Traveler (Also to Your Wallet)
In the eager traveler’s beginnings, it was all about luxury – the beautiful hotels and private taxi cabs across town.
As she and her friends caught the travel bug, they steadily started trying hostels and riding the bus to their desired destinations. Radhika loves staying at hostels because it’s a great way to connect with other globetrotters such as herself.
“You get to interact a lot and make new friends. We also tried couch surfing which is staying with a local for free and along with traveling with buses, we were spending next to nothing,” she said. “Major cost is usually accommodations and we were able to skip that.”
Looks like practicing budget-friendly travel comes down to planning and general curiosity about the place you’re venturing to. Rachita has also found solace in the good-natured locals around her, who have given her exciting insights into what’s going on in the place she’s visiting, where she has discovered beautiful festivals and hidden spots.
“The best thing about talking to locals is that you get to know more about the culture and learn about their beliefs and history. I really like it because apart from seeing the nature, it’s really important to understand the place as well,” she said.
Getting Around in India
Radhika may have skydived in Italy and the majestic ruins of Cambodia but she’s primarily spent her time exploring the four corners of India.
She’s painfully aware of the bad reputation her country has on foreigners, especially concerning the solo woman travelers of the world.
I remember a man bluntly asked, how do you girls survive in India, there are people that are really bad and we are looking at him like no – not really,” Radhika remembered. “I feel like all the countries are not really safe because men everywhere there are molestation cases happening maybe in India it’s really hyped up maybe because of the population and over here people are very culturally protective and conservative.”
Radhika encourages you to come to India but to take some precautions and do your research first. Carry pepper spray. Stay in crowded locations. Study where you’re going before going. All sound advice that any traveler should think about. It’s also important to know that in many places in India, showing a lot of skin isn’t the norm.
Above all else, she has found kindness wherever she’s been, which has proved her own conventional thoughts about India to be wrong.
“I have always found good people who just go out of their way to help me,” Radhika said. “Small things showing people’s kindness is something I really like and I actually get surprised because when I was young and I used to see the news and stories of people and how it’s unsafe outside, it’s actually not like that and my perspective changed toward people in that sense.”