Today we are traveling with Natasha from The Boho Chica
I’m Natasha from The Boho Chica, I’m Indian, my parents were originally from Mumbai, India and moved to Dubai early on in life. I was born in Dubai and I’m also based here now. I used to work in Finance but I’ve transitioned into a career as a professional travel blogger and freelance writer.
My blog TheBohoChica.com and related social media channels are a platform for me to tell stories- whether it’s in the form of articles, photos or videos, about the experiences that have made travel more meaningful for me. I hope to inspire others to get out of their comfort zones more often and take every chance they get to travel with greater cultural immersion.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
When I’m traveling solo, I’m usually backpacking but not necessarily in the ‘bare minimum’ style. I could be staying at a hostel, B&B, apartment, guesthouse or any other kind of unique accommodation- it really depends on how expensive the place is and what my budget looks like, and whether I’m in the mood for constant company or not (like in a hostel).
When I travel with my husband, it’s a whole other story because he likes to have a certain level of comfort and luxury (because it’s a vacation for him), and we try to find a midway. I like traveling simply when I’m solo because it helps me to focus on the things that are most important to me when I travel- the culture, food, people and spending most of my time outdoors.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry
In my backpack you’ll find clothes, shoes, toiletries, personal items and I have another pack just for my laptop, extra drives, power banks, camera gear and tripod.
There are a couple of things I never travel without- a travel jacket that has become my own piece of comfort zone, a good travel book, a notebook (so that I don’t forget details of the stories), camera (because I like to take lots of pictures), and my hiking shoes. If I had to pick just one it would have to be my camera.
Are you usually traveling alone? Did you have any bad experience?
I’d say how much I travel alone and with my husband varies from year to year but my longest trips have been solo. I’ve never had any serious or bad incidents happen on my solo trips.
How was your solo travel in Bangladesh? Can you give some tips for female solo travelers?
It was my first solo trip anywhere and I loved the entire experience. Bangladesh is not a dangerous place for solo female travelers. As the culture is so different, I did feel the need to dress modestly, be mindful of my body language, avoid unwanted attention and generally try to blend in- but that would be true anywhere else. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to do that as a foreigner so as not to hurt the sentiments of the locals and disrespect their culture. For female travelers to Bangladesh here are my tips:
1. Dress modestly.
2. Refrain from excessive shows of affection to locals of the opposite gender.
3. If you’re traveling in Dhaka, avoid certain areas late in the evenings.
4. Inform friends/family of your whereabouts
5. Always have emergency numbers such as the police on your phone
6. Explore the rural areas of the country- the people are nicer and it feels very safe.
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
I think I experienced the most hospitality in Turkey while traveling with my husband. Everyone we met there, outside of Istanbul, was very kind and genuinely interested in how our day was going. In Cappadocia, we were constantly amazed by how nice people were, from the old pub owner who insisted we finish our complimentary platter of fresh fruits to the old man in a village bus who thrust freshly picked oranges into our hands and said ‘Eat eat’.
How is traveling for a girl in Dubai?
I’m based in Dubai and I grew up here so it’s hard for me to talk about it as a traveler. I do realize that for a lot of people traveling through Dubai, usually visiting for 4-5 days, the understanding and impressions they get of the city is very different from what I think of it. Let’s just say that it is one of those cities that you cannot really get to know closely when you’re visiting the main sites and malls, it takes a little longer to understand the culture of this melting pot of a city. As for women, Dubai is extremely safe.
Can you tell us about your experience traveling Oman?
Oman is rich in culture and is home to some fantastic landscapes. The people are simple, warm and helpful. Traveling outside of the cities in the small towns and villages is a fantastic way to experience local culture and hospitality and see nature like you would not expect in the Middle East. I spent my last birthday in December 2015 in Oman, camping on a beach in a seaside fishing village and it was such a unique experience.
How is a day in your life when you aren’t traveling?
My non-travel days are filled with hours of working on writing assignments, content for my own blog, and engaging on social media with my blog audience. The hours usually go by before I know it- life as a professional travel blogger can often feel even more demanding than a corporate career.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
For me travel is a lifestyle, even though I’m not constantly on the road. It’s something that I have to do naturally so I can function and feel normal and sane. For me the question is not ‘Why?’, it’s ‘Why not?’ If I can fund my travels and there’s a place I want to go, why wouldn’t I?
This whole concept of waiting for a later or someday just does not sit right in my mind. That’s the reason I go when I want to and when I can, even if it means traveling solo. I travel in the hope that I can find and tell new stories- I see the world as this huge book of stories, waiting to be read and told, and it would kill me not to turn the pages and feed my curiosity.
The most important lesson I’ve learnt is that people are amazing- there’s never been an incident where I needed help and someone didn’t show up to offer it. People are warm, kind and helpful and this theme has rung true through all my travels.
Can you tell us about your longest trip? How long was it and which places did you go to?
Two of my longest trips were both a month each- the first one was to Bangladesh and the second to Vietnam. Geographically I did not cover much in each of these trips, but they were special because I was volunteering for causes I truly believe in.
Staying in one area of the country for so long (on both trips) meant a deeper level of cultural immersion- something that was priceless for me. I budgeted these trips from my savings while working in my former career.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
I think Spain is currently my favorite from all the places I’ve been. The general vibe in the country is a happy one and it’s home to some beautiful landscapes, hiking trails and of course the delicious food!
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
It’s very hard for me to choose between Spanish and Thai cuisine because I loved them both so much. On one hand, I loved the spicy flavors of Thai curries and on the other hand, I had my first real introduction to amazing seafood on the Spanish coast in Costa Brava. So I’ll have to say both Thai and Spanish food.
Has there been any challenging and bad moments on your travels?
There was this one very strange night I had in Bhaktapur, Nepal. I’m pretty sure I was the only guest at the small guesthouse and I heard some strange screams late in the evening. I packed my backpack and left the place, only to find that the town was pitch dark and everything was shut. Guided by my flashlight, luckily I found a family run guesthouse with a spare room and was grateful for a safe place to stay the night.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping?
During my early travel days, I spent one night in a hostel in Bangkok. It was safe but not at all comfortable. The dorm had zero ventilation and the beds were hard. I wouldn’t ever stay in a place like that again.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
I’m off to Iceland in February for two weeks. This is one of my dream trips and I finally went ahead and booked it in December. I’m hoping I get to see the Northern Lights, I’m pretty sure I’ll have goosebumps.
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveler should I interview next?
Maria of Travelling Buzz.
Interesting stories from Natasha, thanks for your time Natasha from The Boho Chica!
Natasha told us many interesting experiences about living in Dubai. She gave us useful tips for solo female traveler in Bangladesh. Make sure that you read if you are going there. She explained to us why we need to start traveling and why we should do now. Natasha is an inspiration for starting to travel.
Natasha is currently living in Dubai ask her if you have any questions. If you want to know more about Natasha from The Boho Chica, read her blog. Feel free to follow Natasha in her social media Facebook and Youtube.
If you like the interview related to Natasha. You can check here, the interview with Alexandra from Sexy Crazy Fun Traveler.