Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interview: Arun Bhat, travel writer/photographer

Arun Bhat is one of the most popular freelance travel writer based in Bangalore,India. A software engineer by profession, he found his calling in travel and photography. He has many accolades to his name in his brief stint as a travel writer. His works have been published in Mumbai Mirror, Landscape Magazine and many others. He also is a regular contributor to OkTataByeBye and BrightHub.com. His pictures have featured in UNICEF calendar too.

I had the honor to interview him and here is the interview verbatim. These are not made up questions just for the sake of asking. There was a genuine urge to know a few things deep inside and thus the questions. To someone who skims through his background in life, it would appear very glamorous and adventurous, but I am sure its more
than what meets the eye. I just wanted to scrape a little what lies beneath a travel writer's life. I am thankful that he obliged to share his experience with me. So here we begin:


1 I just wanted to know, why and how did you leave your cushy software
job and decide to become a full time traveller
?

I am not very sure if i can call myself a full time traveller. Only, now I spend more time travelling and have given up my full time job. I do a lot other things than just travelling. Photography, either when travelling or when city, for instance. I also do some freelance work in software as and when the time permits. I quit my job, so that I have more free time in my hands to do things that I would like to do. Travel scores high in the list of things to do, but that's not all.

2. How long have you been a travel writer?

I don't think the time has come to call myself a travel writer. I am only trying to be one, and it's not the only thing that contributes to my income. But if I can take my first published story in print as a reference, it is roughly two years now, since that has happened.

3. How does a travel writer make his ends meet? What are the avenues for a travel writer to earn money?

Again, I don't manage to make ends meet with travel writing. And from what I hear from people, it is not easy. The way to go, as I hear from others, is to work hard, write often and be professional and well managed. What is working for me well is a good online presence, a few continuous revenue streams combined with some revenues from publishing articles and photographs.

4.What are the cons/dangers of a travel writer? How does one manage family, because a travel writer is always on the move ?

Another question I really do not have an answer for, since I can't call myself a travel writer. I do not have much of family commitments.

5. Can you narrate one Aha! moment in your travel stint, that is memorable and close to you?

There are many good moments, though, if I am asked to quickly say of one, I can't think of one. It is easy to have many memorable moments when you are travelling. Like the moment I saw, after a long and tiring journey, a small blue strip of Pangong Lake lurking through the arid mountains of Ladakh. Like standing atop sykes point in Dandeli and watching the sun's last rays lighting up the valley of Kali River. Chasing a Cutia with its brilliantly colored wings and nearly falling off a cliff in Arunachal. Walking along the rocky shoreline of Gokarna and suddenly stumbling into a thick mass of purple flowers. Watching small children slip into devotional ecstasy as the aarti lamps swayed on the bank of Ganga in Rishikesh. There are simply too many.

6.Who are our favourite travel writers?

Stephen Alter and Pico Iyer, to name just two out of many.

7.Any plans to publish a book?

Yes and No. I do have a few book idea that I have in mind. But its a long process and a long journey. Non Fiction writing is an intensive activity and only way to go about it is to find a publisher first, manage to get an advance, spend time on research and eventually build a manuscript. It's a long journey before I can get on to do all that. I am not on a hunt to look for a publisher today, but if I find someone willing this moment, I don't see why I would not jump in.

8. What advice would you give to a budding travel writer?

Again, it would only be a rookie advising another rookie. I have nothing to say.

9. What next? Your future plans? Projects?

It is going to be a year or two more while I continue freelancing in the area of travel writing, hoping to establish myself in the industry. In the meanwhile, I hope to build a few more book ideas than what I already have, zero in on the best possible project and try to find ways to work on one.


Thanks Arun :)

36 comments:

Prasanna Seshadri said...

Good to know that there are passionate travelers around the world, even I love traveling, but getting up early :), adjusting to different climatic conditions and food, sitting in a train/bus for hours are my main inhibitors.

Equally good to note is traveling in itself can be a professional career, Good interview.

indicaspecies said...

Arun is an admirable personality, and I've always enjoyed visiting his blog. Delighted to know him better through this interview. Thank you.:)

Mridula said...

Hmm, Ravi, I had requested him an interview before he went for his Ladkah trip! Let me see when he answers my questions. And many of the questions I have asked are same in nature. I am sure he must be bored by now!

Ms.N said...

hey, nice interview !

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Indrani said...

This is interesting! You too seem to be an avid traveler. Thanks for the visit to my blog. I am expecting your posts on Himalayas.

Ravi Kumar said...

@Prasanna: Yes it takes a lot of toll on the body for a frequent trAveller. I know many professional travellers taken to travelling as a profession. :)

Ravi Kumar said...

@indicaspecies: Thanks Celine. Yes thats why I chose him for interview. Next in line cud be you :)

Ravi Kumar said...

Mridula: I checked out his interview in your blog. Yeah few questions were similar. I liked that picture in the interview.

Ravi Kumar said...

@Ms.N: Hey thanks for dropping by :)

Ravi Kumar said...

@Make history: Thanks for dropping by

Ravi Kumar said...

@Indrani: Thanks for your comment. I will keep u updated. :)

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