Ex IITian and current travel and fitness vlogger, Gaurav Taneja a.k.a ‘Flying Beast’ was recently in Meghalaya. We caught up with him to chat about his experience. By Amitha Ameen
1. Was this your first trip to Meghalaya?
Yes, this was my first trip there.
2. What are the three things people should keep in mind when travelling to Meghalaya for the first time?
c) Start your day early, as you would lose sunlight by 4:30 pm in the colder months, and there’s not much to do after dark.
3. Responsible travelling is the need of the hour. As an influencer with a huge fan following, how do you plan to advocate ‘responsible travelling’?
Most of the best tourist spots in our country are loaded with plastic waste from travellers. This leaves the place loaded with trash. Make sure to take your waste with you or dump it responsibly. Also, the way we use water is something we need to reconsider in places that face scarcity. In hilly places, it’s not easy to get a number of resources that we travellers spend very lavishly on, and that’s a complain I’ve heard locals voice very openly. We should be mindful of what kind of travellers we are because at the end of the day, it’s their hometown and we are just visitors.
4. While visiting new places, do you enjoy interacting with locals? Can you share an interesting anecdote with us?
Yes, I do. That’s the fun part about travelling. Locals can give you insights and information that you won’t find on google. They will tell you the stories and details of a place, its history, and everything else. They can also save you some money by suggesting good places to eat at.
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Flying over Patna once at 39,000 feet my first officer had to use the lavatory. Cabin crew came in as the part of the procedure. I told her to look left and see how small the Himalayas are looking. " We are flying above the greatest range in the world " . She replied softly "sir jab hum Zameen pe hote hai, to yahi Himalaya Hume kitne bade lagte hai, auur aaj hum inke upar hai to Hume lagta hai ki yeah kitne chote hai" . She taught me a great lesson that day, unknowingly. . Never be arrogant of your success when people look up to you.
5. You have travelled to Seoul, which is known for its thriving food scene! Did you go on a culinary trail? What were your top food picks?
Myeong-Dong is the best place to shop at and to taste some local street food. If you are a seafood lover, it’s the best place for you. We enjoyed a BBQ in a local park on the last day, so these parks provide you with the raw foods to BBQ. It’s the best way to spend time with family and friends, and I think we need to learn from this culture and emulate it here in India as well…
6. You are also a fitness buff. While travelling, how do you keep your cravings in check?
So, this is a real problem for everyone, and I have found an absolute solution for it. It’s called intermittent fasting. I do not want to miss my food and a chilled beer on vacation. So, I avoid eating anything until 03:00 pm in the afternoon. Also, I make sure I have my last meal by 09:00 pm. If you limit your total calorie intake for the day, it keeps everything in check, at least for me.
7. We heard London is your favourite city. How do you like to spend your days when there?
London has so much to offer. It reminds me of the old British era in India. I find London very similar to New York and Mumbai. If you want to explore London, the hop-on/off bus service is the best way to do it. My favourite spot is the Tower of London.
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This was my second trip to the Tower of London. One of the places which is close to my heart as it's the home to our pride, the "kohinoor" diamond. . Our rich heritage and culture never fails to amuse me and take pride. . Sone ki chidiya…. Mera Hindustan. . #kohinoor #pride #india #flyingbeast #London #toweroflondon
8. Three hidden gems of Turkey?
Half of the country is in Europe and half in Asia, and I think that’s enough to blow your mind away. One must try to get on the Bosphorus Ferry ride, as Bosphorus divides the country in two continents, Asia and Europe.
9. Do you like road trips more than flying?
I like road trips, but if it’s more than a five-six hour drive then I usually prefer a flight to save some time.
10. What does it take to tick as a travel blogger in today’s day and age?
Actually the trick lies in your personal engagement with the place and people. There is a lot of content online, but people want to feel as if they are really there. They can only feel that if you are completely raw and real in front of the camera. People watch bloggers for a real-life connection and not how beautifully or artistically the content is shot. You can just shoot the entire thing with your phone and have a really deep connection with the audience. It’s the day and age of personal engagement.