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Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Interview with the Travel Vlogger Jyothi Purohit (@Gullytrotter)

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Introducing Jyothi Purohit (@gullytrotter), a crazy dreamer with an insatiable desire for travel and adventure who could never settle for an ordinary life or conform with the norm, also an experienced & one of the most-recognized travel Vloggers who keep sharing her travel stories helps tourist planning their trip across India in budget.

“One of the best things travel does to you is, you stop being judgemental. Eventually you realise happiness is about understanding people around you as human beings and letting your ego go away. You are able to accept every culture, caste, creed beautifully because that is what travel is all about. Travel makes you realise that life is not just your house, luxury, family or a job, but it is a way beyond it.“

Retro Kolkata : First of all, thanks a lot for accepting our invitation for an interview. it’s a great pleasure to have you as our Guest. Let’s start from the first question… Let's jump into the past. How did you get started with traveling? What inspired you to start travelling?

Jyothi : I have always been a fun loving and adventurous person since my childhood. I loved talking to people and going around, visiting places I haven't seen before. Since college days, I had taken up internships, hosted events as an Emcee in various brand launches and also worked as an Ielts trainer while I was doing a full-time job even post college. I always believed in doing something or the other as a side hustle with my full-time job and I never wanted to stop doing this. It was in the beginning of my corporate career; I started going on trips with friends and realised how much I was enjoying it. Slowly I started documenting my experiences and that is how "Gullytrotter" was born. Eventually, I started traveling often because it made me happy when I met people from different places and heard their stories and this kept pushing me to travel more often than ever and then, there was no looking back.

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Retro Kolkata : Have your family and friends always supported you? How do you handle it when perhaps some people close to you doesn’t agree with your decision to travel? Jyothi : Though I belong from an authentic Marwari family, my parents always had strong belief in me, my mother (my biggest strength) trusted and supported my decisions. Fortunately, I got married to a man who encourages me to travel more than anyone else and is always there for me, be it anything I want to pursue. Yes, sometimes they are worried for me when I am traveling alone to places where the weather is not fine, when there are safety issues and places where there is no network. But eventually I make them understand that I can take care of myself and as well be fine even when I am alone. I ensure, I call them from time to time and keep them informed about my daily travel plans. Retro Kolkata : What are some of your favourite places you’ve visited?

Jyothi : I love every part of India because everything in our nation is unique and different. Every culture, every place has its own beauty. But, one place I would love going back to again and again is Leh, Ladakh. The mountains, the snow, the architecture of the monasteries make it impossible for you to believe what you see with your naked eyes. There are so many colours you witness at each point, the air is so fresh, the people are so simple and kind that you would never want to come back. Every locality you meet up in the mountains has so many stories to share and it feels like you are so connected. The hospitality is marvellous. Something you would not experience while living in a city, because we all are so occupied in our lives.

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Retro Kolkata : How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

Jyothi : It's difficult to manage work & travel together but it's not impossible and like I mentioned in the beginning I have always loved having a side hustle along with a full-time job.

It gives me less sleep hours, less time to rest but I am fine with it. Because I am able to do what I Love.

I always had savings from what I earned through my full time Job. And I managed my expenses from what I earned through my side hustle and that helped me fund my travels.

But, it's not necessary that each one has to have a side hustle to earn that extra income to travel. One can travel by saving wisely from his/her full-time job and utilise the funds smartly implementing "Budget Travel" which is my niche

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Retro Kolkata : Have you ever travelled solo, was it what you expected?

Jyothi : Yes, I have travelled solo and I have loved it from Day one of my first solo trip. For me, Solo travel means I am able to travel my way, spending as much time I want to, in any place I like to.

I don't have to worry about any other individual traveling along and about their comforts, their boredom, whether the person is liking the food or not, if the person is wanting to spend the time I want to, talking to a local or just enjoying a view. Solo travel also helps you evolve as a person, gives you so much exposure about the world, about people, places, their cultures, problems and lifestyle of a particular place/destination.

Retro Kolkata : Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

Jyothi : Every place that I have been to in India & Outside has been absolutely beautiful more than what I had imagined. I went on a one month backpacking trip to Kerala and was astonished seeing the beauty of the place and realised how rightly we have named it as "God’s Own Country". Kerala not only has Mountains, hills, Beaches, Tea Plantations and waterfalls but also the most kind hearted humans living across the state, who always welcomed me with a heart-warming smile.

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Retro Kolkata : What destination(s) would you recommend to first-time travellers?

Jyothi : India is safe and I realised it only after I completed a couple of solo trips across states. But yes, that does not mean all the evil has ended. A human being anywhere on earth (and in India) needs to be careful of the evil people who are surrounding us everywhere but you don't stop traveling because of them.

As per my experiences, Palampur (full of defence retired personnel), Naggar (with the kindest people) and so many other places in Himachal are safe for solo travellers. However, the list does not end, there is Kerala, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and lots of other places which can be considered as a destination for first time travellers. The point here is, a place is not unsafe but people with wrong intentions make it so. Ex: I felt super secure when I was in Palampur also because Vikram Batra belongs from that place. But that doesn't mean a man with wrong intentions traveling from another state would find it difficult to commit a crime, as every place in Himachal shuts max by 7PM in the evening.

So, whether it is Palampur or Goa (Because we have heard so many crimes being committed here) can be safe/unsafe depending on how carefully one is traveling while on a solo trip or in a group. One should avoid walking alone in the dark streets of a new place with hardly any people around.

Retro Kolkata : Tell us about one of your most memorable adventures, and the impact it had on you. Jyothi : One of my memorable adventure experiences was from my Himachal trip. I had to climb 3 mountains to visit a village called Gargi (a village situated on the mountains close to Kasol) which is stunningly beautiful with a population of not more than 50-80 people.

My first self-learning from this adventure was how much I needed to exercise on a daily basis to be able to travel the world, especially places which needed you to trek for hours, along with this, I realised having the right trekking gears (like shoes) are most important when you are walking for long hours.

Another eye opener was to carry snacks. Even if it looks like a 2–3-hour trip, you never know when you get hungry and feel sick if there is no food around. The biggest impact this adventure created on me was on my body fitness because when I reached the village after a long trek, I was shocked to see a 70-year-old lady going down the mountains to Kasol and coming back to Gargi in half the time I took just to climb to this village and since then I have been exercising regularly.

Image © Jyothi Purohit

Retro Kolkata : How has travel changed who you are? What has travel taught you?

Jyothi : Travel definitely changes an individual and his/her personality in a positive way.

One of the best things travel does to you is, you stop being judgemental. Eventually you realise happiness is about understanding people around you as human beings and letting your ego go away. You are able to accept every culture, caste, creed beautifully because that is what travel is all about. Travel makes you realise that life is not just your house, luxury, family or a job but it is a way beyond it. Travel makes you a carefree person. You become adaptive to any kind of environment, you become bold, open minded and always ready to step out of your comfort zone.

Retro Kolkata : Which regions in India would you recommend for more seasoned travellers?

Jyothi : Like I mentioned earlier every state in India is a must visit for a traveller, since there is so much to explore and every place has something different to offer.

South Coast places (Goa, Kerala, Udupi, Kanyakumari) in Monsoon, Rajasthan in Winters, Beach Places/ Mountains in Summer, Leh-Ladakh between June to Aug etc.

An advice for the seasoned travellers would be to attend the beautiful festivals organised by the locals, especially in some offbeat places in India, like Puli Kali – Kerala, Madai Festival – Chhattisgarh, Mim Kut Festival – Mizoram, Sekrenyi Festival – Nagaland, Sume-Gelirak Festival – Odisha and so many more.

Retro Kolkata : What advice would you like to pass on to women traveling on their own in India?

Jyothi :

  • Never stop traveling or think twice to take that step, if your heart says do it, then just do it.

  • Problems are going to be there; people are going to talk anyway but don’t stop yourself from achieving what you want.

  • But yes, if you are traveling, make sure you are keeping yourself safe. Make friends but not blindly, trust people but don't allow them to cross their limits.

  • Book your stays after proper research (read reviews and check ratings before making the booking).

  • Don't walk on empty streets (especially during odd hours) and always talk to people and try to know them and their intentions, before you plan to travel around in a new place.

  • Speak to the locals about the place, timings, safety for woman etc.

  • Always share your location with one of your family members, in case you are completely new to a place.

  • Have your family member contacts in your speed dial.

  • Also, have one of the hotel manager contacts with you when you are traveling at a new place, in case you are lost/in any problem.


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