Hyderabad: Gauri Jayaram has always lived a nomadic life. She changed nine schools and has never stayed longer than three years in any city during her formative years, thanks to her defence background.
That said, finding her roots in the travel industry was the most obvious choice. But, there is more to this mother-of-two who bears the soul of a gypsy. She was awarded the Most Influential Person in the Travel Industry by a prominent news channel and Travel News Digest this year and also received a citation for a Woman of Substance by the Rotary Club of Bengaluru for her contribution to communities through travel.
Gauri, a B.Com graduate from Mumbai has travelled across more than 35 countries so far. “I want to finish 100, before I turn 50,” she shares. While she loved the exposure that her travel job gave her, her take on travels changed once she started running.
“Until then, holidays were just meant to explore new destinations, but later we started planning our vacations around treks, cycling and running. For instance, I went to Norway to run the Midnight-Sun Marathon and cycled my way around Cambodia. More recently, I went to Bhutan for a multi-activity holiday,” says the entrepreneur.
While she was still working with Cosmos, one of the largest touring companies in the world, she decided to start her own company. “On my 40th birthday I gifted myself a trek to the Everest Base Camp and the Dead Sea Marathon in Jordan.
Though my friends and family wanted to join me, none of them could make it and I found myself going there alone. This was the turning point in my career. I wanted to cater to people like me, who lived for adventure, even if it meant doing it alone.
Thus, was born Active Holiday Travel,” she says. From there on, now she is all set to hold the country’s first ‘International Adventure Travel Symposium’ this December in association with Australia-based Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest adventure travel company and UK-based Exodus, one of the oldest adventure travel companies in the world.
Gauri incidentally is also an author. She debuted as a writer with Wise Enough to be Foolish, a fictionalised memoir last year. “Finding my husband has been nothing short of a full fledged drama and while I was on a cruise with my friends, they egged me on to write about my life and I humoured them.
I wrote the book in four days, but it took me two years to edit and publish it,” quips the former national-level field athlete and javelin thrower. While she is working on her upcoming event, Gauri has also conceptulised two more ideas to turn into book. “This time they will be on self-help and stories about the inspirational people I have met in my life,” she concludes....