In Conversation With -Episode 1

“In Conversation With” is a series about people, art, and everything that holds the power to make life beautiful. Every month I will hold a conversation with an artist, a blogger, a writer, a painter, or anyone (in general) who can teach us something or the other about life.

The series came into existence with the purpose of highlighting art and artists.

Let’s dive into the first episode and welcome the guest of the month – UTKARSH – a solo traveller who lives to collect stories.

Ukarsh quit his 9 to 5 corporate job, packed his bags and ventured into the wild to experience life at it’s fullest. He then created a travel blog – Soul Trails and started earning as a travel writer.

His Instagram page @thesoultrails has by now reached 11.9k followers. From photographs to captions his Instagram feed is a total bliss!

Read more about Utkarsh here.

Time to read what Utkarsh has to say about being a travel writer -
  • What did you study and what path led you to be a travel writer?

I studied B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering. And post that I worked in an MNC. I never really planned to be a travel writer. Believe it or not but like most of the Indian start-ups, Soul Trails, too, is a result of a conversation between two drunk engineers! It wasn’t a conscious choice – it just happened out of sheer desperation to keep myself afloat.

When I quit my job I only knew that all I want is to travel. At that time I had my savings and some investments. If only my savings could last so long. Soon it got tricky for me to manage my rent and rum. And I started looking for corporate jobs again. It was then when a friend saw my travel journal and suggested me that I should share my stories and maybe I can write for travel portals. He also told me how it will help me travel more. That idea really intrigued me. I did some research and two weeks later Soul Trails was live.

  • How would you describe your travel writing style?

I try is hoard the stories I find in the most authentic manner. Be true to your content and be true to the people and places that gifted you the stories. I try to keep my language relatable. The intent is to keep the flow alive and keep it easy for readers to understand. Like most of the travel writers, I too write about itineraries and travel tips, but I try to keep my narrative revolve around my first hand experience.

  • How has your writing style and work evolved since you first started?

To be honest, it is fairly difficult for me to trace it myself. Only my readers can comment on that. But to answer your question, I feel that now I write with more confidence. I try to keep an eye out for the technical details of what makes a blog more readable and in what is more relatable to the mass.
Slowly but steadily I have built a style to balance all the aspects of travel writing including the commercial aspect, what readers like to see more, what my own experience was and my own creative authenticity.

  • What are some tips that you would like to give to budding travel writers?

Authenticity is the key, fellas. Be original and do justice to yourself and the story. Stick to your niche and develop your own style. Try to explore the unexplored. Good stories reside outside your comfort zone. So don’t be afraid to push yourself. Try different styles and see what works best for you. Read good literature. Only when you consume good art, you will produce good art.

  • From one of your recent instagram post we know that you volunteered at a school in Leh, How was the experience as a whole?

It was pure destiny that I did that. I went to Manali but ended up in Leh with no money. So I walked into that school in the outskirts of Leh and started volunteering.
Initially, I was not sure how and what am I gonna teach. But slowly the kids started opening up to me and I got a peek of their limitless potential. That inspired me to make the most of my time there and I started doing some art based exercises with the kids. Within a few days we became friends.
They would joke with me and often tell me cute stories. We would talk about everything under the sun. All of that was so humbling and heartwarming. I ended up with them by a chance encounter. I went there to teach, but truth be told, I learned more from them then I could ever teach anyone.
With them, I learnt the true meaning of ‘little things.’ They taught me that happiness is not measured by the resources you have but by the love you carry in your heart.

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What does 100 rupees mean to you? For me, a 100 rupee note symbolises one of the most precious stories of my travels so far. A few years back, I volunteered at a school in Leh. It was my last day at school. Before leaving, we clicked lots of pictures. Goodbyes were said, and I was told how glad they were that I came to their hostel and became their friend; that they will always remember me and my teachings. While we were busy hugging each other and saying goodbye, this one student I was particularly fond of tapped on my back. I looked around to find Stenzin Lhamo of class 4. I sat on my knees to look at her eye to eye. She asked me to close my eyes, and when I did, she handed me something and ran away. I opened my hand to find a 100 rupee note in it. Confused, I looked at achi Tashi. She said it is her gift to me — Money for me to get back home safely. Her kindness & love touched me. A 100 bucks is a big deal for underprivileged kids, but it was an even larger gesture for a 10-year-old to make! That was probably all she had for the month. Holding back my tears, I looked at Vijay sir, and he understood my dilemma. He explained that Lhamo might feel bad if I return her gift. So I went to her room, hugged her, and then made her sign that note. I told her that that note is the most precious gift I have ever received and I will keep it forever. And then as a return gift, I gave her 100 bucks in change. I have that 100 rupee note till this day. I ended up with them by a chance encounter. I went there to teach, but truth be told, I learned more from them then I could ever teach anyone. With them, I learnt the true meaning of ‘little things.’ They taught me that happiness is not measured by the resources you have but by the love you carry in your heart. I learned how important it is not to hold back and love everyone as they come. When someone loves you for who you are without judgment or pretense…your heart awakens, your soul comes alive, your senses are stimulated, and you know true happiness. Happy Children’s Day, folks. Keep that childlike love alive in your hearts. . #lonelyplanetindia #lonelyplanet #huffpostin #nomadsofindia #mypixeldiary #tripotocommunity

A post shared by Utkarsh | Travel-Writer 🇮🇳 (@thesoultrails) on

  • Is there a scope in this field? What is your advice to upcoming Travel bloggers?

Yes, there is a lot of scope in travel industry. Travelling is the most upcoming field, thanks to the global platforms available now and the increased spending capacity of people. You can understand the impact of this by noticing that you can now avail travel loans from banks.
And all of this increased interest in travelling means more people are looking for people who can help them travel, help them plan, research and provide first-hand experience of different places.

All you gotta do is find your own audience. Internet is a huge and there is place for everyone. Just be regular with your content. There is no over-night success. Set realistic targets. Write, share, repeat.
Persistence is the key.

Read more about him here –

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“How did you make it so far?” People often ask me this question. To be honest, when I quit my job 3 years ago I had no idea what I’m gonna do next. All I knew was that I wanted to travel. Slowly, with hit and trial, I learned the ways of being a digital nomad.⁣ ⁣ I had no idea how social media works; no idea how to make a blog; my photography skills were limited to auto mode – hell I didn’t even know how to write.⁣ ⁣ But I trusted myself and used my wits. I made the best use of my talent and kept at it. And I’m still doing the same. So yes, if you ask me how to make it, I will sum it up as – “Use what talent you possess.”⁣ We all have certain talents and it is best to use them while you keep exploring new ways.⁣ ⁣ So what if you don’t know how to write a poetic caption? So what if you don’t know the inside-out of photography? So what if you are awkward in front of the camera? I still am!⁣ ⁣ The best thing about talent is that it comes from something we enjoy doing. And if you feel overwhelmed by the perfect life of ‘influencers’ flooding your feed, let me tell you an open secret – IT AIN’T PERFECT.⁣ ⁣ Stop worrying about writing a perfect caption or clicking an award winning photograph. Just go out and have fun; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best, right?⁣ ⁣ And in case you ever need any help, your neighborhood ‘not-so-perfect’ backpacker got your back; like Blah got Fodi’s!⁣ ⁣ In 2020, promise to find ways to use your talent. Promise to follow your Soul Trails.⁣ .⁣ PC: @jimmykamballur

A post shared by Utkarsh | Travel-Writer 🇮🇳 (@thesoultrails) on

Thank you Utkarsh for sharing your journey as a travel writer with me and my readers!

Signing out,

Hope you all enjoyed this episode.
Let’s meet again very soon!
See you. 🙂