Today’s travel blogger interview features an Indian couple who had a memorable and romantic moment stuck in Adriatic Sea! Please meet Sonia and Ankur of Ticking The Bucket List.
What is your name?
We are Sonia and Ankur.
Which country do you come from/call home?
Sonia and Ankur, both are from India. Ankur hails from the Northern part of the country and Sonia has spent most of her life in Western India.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We are simply travellers. We travel on every long weekend and take a couple of extended vacations every year. We want to experience new cultures and make more friends. There is no timeline to our plans!
We have backpacked through Europe and enjoyed luxury in South East Asia….travelling style does not matter. It is all about having fun!
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
We both have regular 9-5 jobs and a burning wanderlust. Our regular jobs fund our travels.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Sonia: I remember the first trip I took, as a little child, about 5 years old, to my grandparents’ place in New Delhi. Over three decades ago, train was the key means of transport in India. 20 hours in the train, from Pune to New Delhi, seemed like an extended picnic and made me super excited!
Ankur: Religious tourism is big in India. As a 6 year old child, I remember travelling to the Vaishnu Devi with my Mom and Dad. I still have fond memories of walking over 15 km to reach the shrine. I can vividly remember the shoes I wore, my tired legs and the chants in chorus that surrounded me.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
The pyramids in Giza, Egypt! We were expecting them to be in the middle on no-where…far away from the city. We thought that we might need to ride a camel to get there, trudging along in the heat for a few hours. To our surprise, we could reach the pyramids at Giza easily by taking a metro from Cairo! It seemed to be bang in the middle of an upcoming suburb!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Typically, we do our home work well before landing in a new place. So, it isn’t very often that we are surprised when we land. Touch wood, life has been good to us till date…bags have always arrived on time, flights have seldom been cancelled and wallets have never been stolen. Hoping that the good luck charm continues!
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Oh… we have plenty of funny travel stories. The one that comes to mind now is an incidence in Croatia, when Sonia tried to captain a boat. This was the maiden attempt and I was the sole passenger. Let me highlight that I am a terrible swimmer and I cling to a floating straw for dear life if I am thrown in deep water. The sea was rough that day and the boat was tossed all around, Sonia found the anchor too heavy to lift…all this in the middle of the Adriatic Sea! Stuck in the middle of nowhere, it seemed like the ideal place for a romantic picnic.
We kissed and said ‘I love you’ to each other, realised how silly it was to even attempt to sail alone for the first time and somehow reached the shore.
It all seems hilarious now …Sonia posing to get a picture clicked as captain…me holding on my seat and refusing to get up to pull the anchor. It wasn’t as funny when we were struggling at sea though!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Sonia: Istanbul is my favourite place in the whole wide world. It is such an enchanting city…culture, history and food. The people are warm and friendly. Somehow, it makes me feel at home.
Ankur: Having been to about 25 countries, Croatia tops the chart for me. Zadar, a little town in Croatia has everything that I would want – natural wonders, blue seas, surreal sunsets and an easy pace…perfect for someone like me who has walked the world for over three decades.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
We have an ever growing bucket list. We add two items to its after we tick one off. Here are some items on our bucket list:
1. Getting the SCUBA diving certification
2. Doing the Samba at the Rio Carnival
3. Diving a blue hole
4. Swimming with the orcas
5. An African safari
6. Adventure sports in New Zealand
7. Floating on the Dead Sea
8. Completing the Trans Siberian train journey
9. Clinking glasses at the Beer Festival
10. Visiting Australia to see the kangaroos
….the list goes on….
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Our travel blog is:
Ticking the Bucketlist
When did you begin your website?
We started our website in March 2014. Back then, it was a simple blog on Blogger, without our own domain name. Only in October 2014, did we actually acknowledge that we loved having the blog and got ourself the domain name.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Sonia: I write to inspire people to travel. I want people to know that the world is a beautiful place and all across the world, there are nice people who want to know as much about you as you want to know about them. Writing gives me a creative outlet that my regular 9-5 job cannot provide.
Ankur: I cannot write! Language is not my strongest asset. I am happy taking pictures, managing the site and giving Sonia ideas on what our readers may like in line with what’s trending on the social media.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Our site is for those who have a job and still want to travel. There are so many like us out there who cannot, and do not want to leave their jobs. Well, work hard, pick up your bags, and travel. You don’t have to leave everything and hit the road!
Also, we are vegetarians. To top that, Sonia is a foodie and loves experimenting with local cuisine. Our site highlights vegetarians delights across the countries that we travel. Everyone’s taste buds need to have a good time, don’t they?
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We are happy doing guess post and promotional marketing posts in properties that we stay in. We also provide travel agencies with consulting services to help them position themselves better in the market. Lastly, we are happy to be associated with brands that we believe in and think will add value to to our readers.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Our most successful blog post till date has been the ’10 Day Itinerary to Croatia’.
Croatia has something for everyone …history, beaches, adventure, food, nightlife! No wonder it is making waves on travel maps!
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Between countries, we want to take flights. This is because we want to maximise the time that we have taken off from work. After reaching our destination, we like renting a car and exploring the place at our own pace. Our honeymoon was a road trip in South Africa and we love road tripping since then.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Travel to experience, not to tick a box! And remember to do your homework before you land in a new country!
What has travel taught you?
Travel has made us move a level higher in the Maslow’s pyramid. It has made us realise that the world is one big happy place, full of smiles, giggles and laughter. Any sad faces can quickly change to a smiley face with a positive attitude.
Quick fire questions:-
Sonia: It’s a tie between Greece and Turkey
Ankur: It’s a tie between Croatia and Thailand
Sonia: Istanbul, Turkey
Ankur: Zadar, Croatia
Sonia: Koh Phi Phi in Thailand
Ankur: Lokrum in Croatia
Ankur: Amritsari Kulcha
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.tickingthebucketlist.com/
Twitter handle? @TBLTravellers
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/tickingthebucketlisttravels
Google+ profile/page? plus.google.com/+Tickingthebucketlistblog