She just can’t wait to get on the road again

Deccan Chronicle.  | Debanjoli Nandi

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Bitten by the travel bug, Lalitha Mahaadevan has been criss-crossing India. She talks to DC about the fun of being on the road.

Lalitha Mahaadevan

A handsome salary could not make up for the typical ‘squeeze work out’ MNC culture as far as Lalitha Mahaadevan was concerned. “There was no room for creativity. We were just chasing a goal, no idea where it was leading to,” she says. She gave up her run-of-the mill corporate job in 2017 to travel full time.

This 28-year-old has travelled through most of North India, North-east India,  parts of South India and Nepal. She found joy in uniting with nature and plugs responsible travel.

Lalitha shares ideas on how to maintain eco-sustainability while travelling. “If we buy bottled water, the empty bottles will have to be burnt. This will raise temperatures and harm agriculture. Instead, use steel bottles and ask homestays to provide boiled water,” she says. As a responsible traveller, Lalitha took part in a clean-up drive in Khardung La pass in 2018. She also encourages use of public transport rather than taking flights which are more expensive and leave larger carbon footprints, even though they’re faster.

She is equally concerned that local identity should not be lost with the advent of tourism.  “Nothing can be worse than forgetting your culture and letting go of your roots”, she cautions. Lalitha also prefers to try locally sourced food when she travels through the country, rather than cuisines that come from outside India. Talking of expense, she says “you can opt for Air BNBs. You can also offer your skills as a volunteer and get food and accommodation for free.”

Lalitha believes that everyone can travel solo, not just the rich or the brave. “You should always have a positive mindset. This attracts positive experiences. For the sake of safety, carry a pepper spray, a swiss knife and an electric taser,” says the woman who once lost her way in Nepal and had to spend a night in the forest with neither sleeping bag nor tent.

Lalitha is organizing a workshop on the A-Z of solo travelling at a popular café in RA Puram on Sunday.