A Travel Interview with Sudeep Shukla

Sudeep Shukla is a traveller and travel blogger. He is a communications professional and currently works as an Asst Brand Manager with Hindustan Unilever Limited in Mumbai. 

He blogs at chasingtheexperience.wordpress.com and goes by the name @oldmonk_says on Twitter. We caught up with him for this fun interview where he shares his travel secrets and foodie preferences. 

Tell us about your passion for travelling. How did it start?

My passion for travelling always existed. Staying away from home made me explore nearby places during my years in college; and that’s when the travel bug bit me harder. I decided to travel the world, one country at a time, but on a strict budget because I did not want money to be a deterrent to my travel ambitions.

What are the key things you focus on while selecting a destination?

My first focus is on my travel (bucket) list and then what all the destination has to offer in terms of things to do, places to see etc. Besides that, cost of travel to the destination also influences the decision a lot ?

How do you like to explore the local cuisine while you are travelling? Share with us an interesting anecdote!

Sudeep Shukla

I prefer tasting and exploring the food that locals eat at any destination. I almost never look for ‘gourmet’ experiences during my travels. I am a big fan of street food and that’s the first thing I look for when I am exploring a new place. From tasting dried sea food to scorpions and snake wine in Vietnam to falling in love with the Turkish Doner Kebabs and coffee, I have eaten strangest things during my travels . Once, I tasted the best Saxonian food in Dresden, Germany while we were looking for cheap street food. The restaurant owner turned out to be an Indian who heard us talk in Hindi. We obviously started chatting with him and he told us that not many Indians visited that place. He promised that he will get us the best food that we would ever taste! True to his word, the food he served us was so delicious that we gave him our backup “theplas” as a gesture of our gratitude.

Which is your more favorite regional Indian cuisine and why?

I am a food-lover and enjoy nicely prepared dishes, whatever cuisine they may belong to. When I am in south, I enjoy eating south Indian food and when I am in north, I love my Punjabi dishes. But nothing beats a hot dal and chawal with kheer on a usual day.

Photos from Sudeep’s travels.

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Do you think travelling solo is as important as travelling with company? Which one do you prefer amongst the two?

Yes, travelling solo is very important as it teaches you a lot of things and also makes you more responsible. It also helps you understand yourself better while meeting new people and exploring new things. I prefer solo travelling, in fact that’s how I started travelling in the first place.

A big advantage of travelling alone is that it is easy to plan or even go without a plan. When it comes to travelling in a group or with a company, a lot of things matter like everyone’s common tastes or interests, etc and planning according to that can be a bit tedious, unless it’s with people who really want to do the same things as you!

Do you cook? What do you like to make?

Yes, I do like to cook whenever I get time. Mostly I make simple comfort food like dal-chawal, raita & pulao, some basic sabzi with roti or pasta.

Which are some of your most favorite travel books?

I like Into the Wild, The Motorcycle Diaries to name a few. Besides that, I love reading any and every edition of Lonely Planet!

If not in India, where would you like to live and why?

If not in India I would love to live in either Germany, Caribbeans or New Zealand. The food, the culture, the places there are too inviting for me. I love the vibe of those places and would like to settle there if given a chance.

Take your pick:

  • Beaches or mountains? I am a beach bum
  • Hotels or home stays? Home stays. Cheaper and more authentic! They give you a chance to spend your holiday like a local.
  • Sunrise or sunset? Sunset. Sunrise is too early for me to wake up for ?
  • Fine dine or street food? Street food anyday
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