Who are we?
Thanks for stopping by our website. We are Su and Titu, short for Suhasini and Thirthankar. On a regular weekday, you would find us analysing finance and teaching literature.
We first met in 2010 on a hike around Durham, a picturesque cathedral city in the north of England. But it wasn’t until Christmas Eve that same year that we were really talking. Being amongst the only few staying back at the university over winter holidays, we attended the midnight mass at the ancient Cathedral that houses St. Cuthbert’s tomb. It was -15℃ that night, snow mantled everything around, and the scene was a perfect pitch for our future lives.
We hitched a free ride on a taxi (the driver invited us in), and we walked the last kilometre along the frozen River Wear to get to the service. The precinct was majestically lit, with a grand Christmas tree decorated tastefully near the alter, glowing with candles. The choir sang in harmony with mixed voices joining in, the ancient walls reverberated the traditional hymns and carols, and everyone greeted each other with genuine pleasure. (We later wrote a short poem about Durham, which you can check out here.)
It wasn’t the service that remained vivid in our memories, but the long stroll back to college along the frozen river, across the city, and through the dark woods. The footpath was icy and slippery all the way back and had heaps of snow on either side. We exchanged fond recollections from our separate lives in India: in Mumbai and Pondicherry. And out of these disjointed narratives, we found solace that brought us closer for the adventures that lay ahead.
Where have we travelled to since?
Since 2010, we have travelled through some 35 odd countries. Romantics at heart, we love remote locations as close to the serenity of nature as we can get, from high mountains to secluded islands, backstreet cafes, and hidden beaches.
We spent several miraculous nights in Arctic Norway, in a cabin deep in the woods beneath the full-blown splendour of the Northern Lights. We enjoyed the vistas of a snowy Switzerland up in a chalet overlooking Grindelwald, right below the North Face of the Eiger. We’ve also lived in a dog yard in Svalbard and island-hopped in the Mediterranean. In Dobato, we slept at a tea house with breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. We snorkelled with sharks in Maya Bay, rowed across the emerald waters of Heiterwangersee, and sat on a throne of ice crystals in Jokulsarlon.
While our quota of countries has just begun, it’s not always been about the number of countries covered. We keep revisiting places we love, although we have rarely returned to the same experience twice. For with each new visit comes a deeper rapport and understanding of a locality, which usually supplants the inevitable naive romanticisation of a single trip.
What we like?
We are not exactly daredevils, but we do embark on crazy adventures every once in a while, then kick ourselves about our foolhardiness.
For instance, on New Year’s Eve in 2011, our friends in Edinburgh soon realized the folly of climbing Arthur’s Seat at midnight, given the high wind speeds that could easily blow us off the peak. Nonetheless, driven by a desire to be at the same spot where we shared our first kiss, the two of us braved the weather and had to cling to each other and the craggy rocks in a moment of panicked exultation as we huddled together at the top looking down at Edinburgh’s bright Hogmanay lights through a layer of clouds.
On another occasion, we decided to cross the border of Himachal into Uttarakhand on our red scooter, knighted Nimbus, without taking into account that unknown mountain roads, especially in India, can be quite perilous at night. We ended up first crossing a brook flowing through the road, then came a waterfall falling on the road, and then came a second waterfall that grew into a fast-flowing stream with the road as its riverbed. We had to wade through this, with only our feeble scooter’s headlight to show us the way. Nimbus was left crying as we did so: “I am not a motorboat, for God’s sake!”
At the end of the day though, it’s fun recalling difficult times like these that make the overall experience worth it.
Oh, and we love dogs and animals in general. Like we made friends with a street dog we’ve named Happy who loves to wiggle her hind whenever she sees us. She sleeps below a car in Chail, a small town around 3hrs from where we live, and we visit her every time we cross the town and love to surprise her with a packet of biscuits.
In Dalhousie, we grew extremely attached to three dog families, and we had names for each of them based on their characteristics. There was Mufasa, a large black zen-dog who had clearly achieved inner peace; There was Snappy who loved being scratched on the head so much that he always snapped at us the moment we stopped. There was Thukpa, a newborn pup we discovered while having a bowl of thukpa at the Tibetan settlement, who was, unfortunately, treading a delicate line between being a good dog and an overexcited one. These dogs, amongst others, kept us company throughout the evenings after work.
Besides dogs and exploring remote nooks, we love to try out new cuisine, and we can be quite shameless about loading our plates when we taste something particularly sumptuous. Amongst our fondest food memories is the breakfast served on our maiden Hurtigruten voyage to Trömso, as we had some 7 varieties of fish, along with a ton of other delicious options.
What we value?
We value the environment and hate it when mindless people litter and disrespect nature or needlessly pollute the earth. We also get mad at people who tease or mistreat animals, whether domestically or in a wildlife conservatory. We like to think of ourselves as responsible travellers who respect the places, people, and the cultures we visit as if they were our own.
Going out to nature, then drinking and partying with loud music is not our cup of tea. We prefer walking or just sitting quietly, reading and writing, observing wildlife, smelling flowers on the way, photographing all creatures big and small, and generally being one with our surroundings.
We love local experiences more than the regular touristy stuff. We are constantly on the lookout for authenticity: whether it’s eating homemade Himachali cuisine or the Scottish haggis in a pub, warming up in a Finnish sauna then cooling down in the sub-zero arctic wilderness, or gathering berries in the English countryside during those rare spells of good weather.
We both prioritise freedom and experiences over materialistic stuff and have chosen not to be in the corporate rat race. We are minimalist nomads and spend our earnings primarily on our travels. So when people tell us that you must be very rich for travelling to so many destinations and countries, you can only too easily envisage our annoyance, for that is not true.
Currently, we are living in the Himalayan foothills, enjoying the mountains, while doing our respective jobs. And given our lives’ trajectory, it would be cool to stay on the move, and in Steve Jobs words, “Never settle.”
So what will this blog be about?
Stories: a lot of them, of all the adventures we have had over the last few years. We’ll also tell you about the off-beat locations we’ve been to, and all the travel planning that goes behind our trips. Starting from scouring countries, cities, and remote destinations on Google Maps, to finding out about accessibility, public transport, food and lodging.
We’ll share with you our travel ideas and tips from our experiences, and add a special section on literature and literary allusions. And, of course, we’ll have a whole lot of photos and videos to get you excited about packing your bags yourselves.