My name is Vidula and I live in Pune, India.
I spent the first 8 years of my childhood in Thiruvananthapuram, the most beautiful name a city could have. Back then, the city was called Trivandrum. We lived there because my parents worked there.
Early on in my life, I had had a glimpse of what travel meant. Every summer we would come down to Pune, to meet my grandparents and other relatives. We would board a train called “Jayanti Janata” that brought us to Pune in 2 days.
It was a literally a child-like exhilaration to see the varying landscapes that were clad in numerous shades of brown and green and blue. I remember – sitting on the steps of the exit door of the compartment, holding my father’s hand, the chai walas going “chaaiiyaa chaaiiyaa, kaapee kaapee” at major railway junctions, eating the food that the pantry in the train served us and finding it utterly delicious, meeting new people in the train, calling random friendly strangers uncles and aunties, filling water at stations with my father and then hurrying back into the train when the train started to move slowly, sleeping on the 3rd berth in the compartment, reading books in the train, always wanting the window seat, standing in between 2 bogies and feeling the coupling beneath our feet, counting the number of bogies through the window when the train was on a bend, running from one bogie to another with my brother and gossiping about other children and people and then giggling away, waving out to the kids in the villages that the train left behind, as it sped further away from them and brought us closer to our destination – Pune, etc.
Soon after we moved to Pune in 1989, my maternal uncle, who was a mountaineer, took me on my first trek to Rajgarh, a fort near Pune. We would board the state transport (ST) (or the “laal dabba”) buses, that would bring us to a field and we would have to walk for about 3-4 hours just to get to the base of the mountain. My uncle was the first one to have influenced me and it was through him that I learned how to live in the outdoors.
Then in 2005, I met Anoop, my husband, who was the biggest influence in my life. He had already traveled to a few countries before I had met him and after I met him, I have been trying to play catch up with him, only to match the number of countries that we have travelled to and lived in. Together we have traveled to 27 countries across 5 continents.