From being a known face on television as a number-crunching business anchor on a renowned television news channel to travelling the world and running her own travel and luxury website, Kamiya Jani’s journey is enviable.
Founder and editor-in-chief of Curly Tales, Kamiya has quickly managed to garner a loyal audience by offering 1-minute videos of exotic destinations and quick, bite-sized pieces of content. Today, she chats with Hauterfly about how travel is a lot like love for her and how daring to dream worked out pretty well for her.
Everyone dreams of getting paid to travel. The real challenge is in executing it. I wanted to live the best life I could. And that was far from a 9-to-5 job. So I gave up my career as a business news anchor at a renowned TV channel to pursue what gave me happiness.
I am a nomad at heart and believe that if we were meant to be at one place, we would have had roots as opposed to feet. So, I started documenting my travels, and creating content on the places I visited and people I met on my travels in the format of 1-minute videos and short articles.
The whole point of these is that someday, when I am really old and can’t move, I want to be able to re-watch all my videos and tell myself, “hell, yeah! I lived a good life”.
I believe that real passion always pays in ways that can’t be measured. Don’t go out there, expecting the big bucks to start flowing in. Just hope that someday, something magical will surely happen. Follow it up with dedication and hard work, and you can be whatever you want to be. Just start early and dare to dream.
Making a living out of travel is definitely one of the best jobs in the world, but it definitely isn’t easy. The fact is that people take a vacation because they need a break from work. But what do you do when vacations become work?
I spend almost 6-7 hours of my day shooting the place I’m at. Plus, it’s not easy to deal with airport transits, flight delays, bad weather, poor health, and food experiments going wrong.
But I love the visual treat that lies ahead of all this, which may be in the form of a beautiful sunrise or gigantic waves crashing against the shore. Travel genuinely makes me happy and content, so I don’t mind doing it 24×7.
The first time I travelled for work was to Malaysia, to cover the Grand Prix race at Sepang Circuit. A colleague fell sick and I was asked to fill in. I couldn’t even pretend to be upset about my sick colleague — that’s how excited I was.
I was in the company of many eminent travel and auto journalists, who looked completely at ease…like they belonged there. At the time, I couldn’t believe traveling could be a full-time profession.
When I returned to the number crunching, I would often think about my growing up years, when weekends or holidays were meant for being at any place outside of our own world, to discover something new.
My father would pack our luggage and all of us into the car, and take us to a world full of new possibilities. The trips I took with my parents as a child instilled in me a sense of wanderlust that has remained to this day.
As I grew older, it became difficult to satisfy this wanderlust. Now my husband and daughter are paying the price. They let me travel at least once a month, which keeps me sane.
Like I said earlier, for me work is a holiday and a holiday is work. The lines are blurred. I just returned from Phuket and Krabi, Thailand. We went to celebrate my father’s birthday. I absolutely loved exploring the various islands of Thailand.
In the north-eastern region of Phuket, we cruised along Phang Nga Bay, where dramatic limestone cliffs stand tall and call out for your attention. We were surrounded by huge mountains, islands, lakes, and caves. I could take a flight back to that island right now!
Imagine trying to explain what the term ‘love’ means to you. You could say a hundred things about it and yet would not be able to do justice to the actual emotion — it must be felt, experienced. To me, travelling is just that!
It’s an inexplicable emotion that makes me want to get up every day, see new things, and travel to new places.
The downsides of travelling include packing a suitcase, the queues at immigration, the transit at the airports, and the airplane food!
Top 3 reccos for 2017
India is highly underrated by Indians themselves. While the world comes to India, we go abroad to explore places. My all-time favourites include:
Beaches or mountains?
It all depends on my frame of mind. Beaches, when I want to chill, and mountains when I have my explorer hat on!
Backpacking or luxury?
I like to plan my travels. I take them seriously. I am not sure if I can just pack my bags and leave, so I am definitely not a backpacker. And I love luxurious experiences — who doesn’t? For me, travelling is like treating yourself to the best possible things in life.
I am not much of a shopper and don’t really spend on high-end luxury fashion brands. I would rather spend that money on my accommodation at a plush hotel, wake up to the most gorgeous poolside or a mountain view, and gorge on a huge breakfast spread. Different people find value in different things.
Hotels or Airbnb?
I love the fact that no matter how messy I leave my hotel room, everything is back in its place by the time I am back. So yes, I am spoilt that way.
However, Airbnbs work best for large groups. It also allows you to interact with the hosts, who are usually locals. At hotels, you only end up having conversations with the staff, who have themselves travelled to that place from some other part of the world. But yes, I still prefer hotels.
Best vacay spots for Indians (budget/visa in mind)?
1. Dubai – Airfare is cheap. Visa is issued in a week and there are many options suiting every pocket for food and accommodation.
2. Thailand – Airfare is cheap for Bangkok and visa is on arrival. Food and drinks cost almost the same as in India.
3. Maldives – Airfare is cheap, visa is on arrival, but accommodation and food is quite expensive. But for the experience to be surrounded by an ocean, it’s totally worth it.
India’s hidden gems?
I’ve been to 34 countries, and the more I travel, the more I realise how the hospitality in India is far superior to that of the rest of the world. We are one of the few countries who believe in offering a glass of water at a restaurant, no matter who you are and where you come from.
One of my favourite places in India has to be a small town called Virajpet in Karnataka. Straight out of a fairytale, it’s got dense green forests, paddy fields, and about 50 varieties of butterflies.
I have 3 places on my bucket list – Japan, Eastern Europe, and New Zealand. Let’s see which one works out.
Tips for women who want to explore the world solo
There are many touring companies that organise packages exclusively for women. It’s a good way to start. You are with a bunch of women you know nothing about and you can choose who you want to interact with. This ensures safety and allows you to take off on your own as well.
However, if you wish to travel strictly solo – just go for it. Always remember one thing, though – when in doubt, cut it out. If you feel like there is something suspicious about a situation, back off. I did my first solo trip to Ireland and totally loved it.