How Shivya Quit Her Job, Traveled the Globe and Started Up 'India Untravelled'
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Most people have this ridiculous notion that anything they do which generates an income is work and that anything they do outside 'working hours' is play. There is no logic to that.
Coming back to India after working in Singapore, Shivya traveled far and wide in the 6 months that followed and experienced life like she hadn't done before. Having fallen in love with traveling, she decided to do something that would make work, play and life mean the same. She, along with friend Siddharth founded 'India Untravelled'.
"India Untravelled is a social enterprise that aims to bridge the digital marketing gap between socially responsible tourism offerings in rural parts of India, and urban travellers looking for authentic travel experiences. The idea is to help travellers set off the beaten path in India, to places where authentic Indian hospitality, culture and cuisine, and untouched natural beauty can still be experienced," explains Shivya. Alongside, their marketing efforts help sustain individuals, families and village communities that provide socially andor environmentally responsible travel alternatives, like organic farm stays, heritage home stays, and carbon neutral travel.
Shivya's family, as one would expect, was a bit doubtful about her move but once her efforts saw fruition and recognition came her way, they started appreciating it and are now comfortable with the idea of India Untravelled. Currently, IU has 10 destinations on the map and each one of them have been hand picked by Shivya and Siddharth. The revenues are directly related to the amount they generate for their partners, off which IU takes a cut and currently most of it is being used to scale up the business.
Having clocked approximately 400 room nights so far, and generated over 1.3 million in revenue for their partners, Shivya says, "We're looking at raising funds in 2013, to grow our partnerships across India and scale our marketing efforts to other countries as well."
Ending with a toughie, I asked,
Q: If someone said, "I'll give you 25k each month, just travel" or "You'll earn more but just build your startup, travel may or may not be included." What would you pick?
A: That's a tough one! Travelling and India Untravelled are so closely intertwined that I can't imagine giving up either. But on days that I don't travel, India Untravelled is what keeps me going. So, I would choose to build my startup, but make sure that travel is at the core of it. Truth is, India Untravelled came about because Siddharth and I both feel passionately about (responsible) travel as a way of life.
Go, Untravel India!
Update on January 22, 2015
Shivya continues to travel across the globe and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram but IndiaUntravelled is currently undergoing structural changes. We'll follow up with them for developments.