Interview with Rishi Sankar
· Rishi, please give my readers a background about yourself. What
made you want to start rishiray.com?
Growing up in Trinidad, youre surrounded by all the sun and sand, but it can be incredibly limiting in terms of cultural diversity and awareness. I always knew that I wanted to see the world, but when you grow up in the Caribbean without the benefits of strong currency or relatively high income, this is almost always a pipe dream. When I left Trinidad to go to McGill University in Montreal, I knew that I had an opportunity to break out of the conventional framework. I formulated a game plan to find a job that would allow me to travel for little or no personal cost.
As for starting rishiray.com;
it personally started out as a way for my parents and friends to keep track
of me. I started hardcoding the HTML on a bulletin board, then it naturally
evolved to full website over the years as more and more readers started logging
and pinging me. As the feedback came in, it reinforced my beliefs and kept me
motivated to travel even more.
· Did you have a natural affinity for traveling ever since you were small or did you develop your love of traveling when you got older?
Ive always had a natural affinity for travel. Reading travel novels and Natural Geographic magazine stoked that fire. As I got older, I developed the framework and ability to enable to the travelling vision. It is not enough to want to travel, one has to develop a framework to enable that success; be it by surrounding yourself with travel positive people, evolving with every new travel experience and having that burning desire for discovery and the physical, cultural and mental awakening.
· What has been the most surprising destination you've been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a differnet experience than you had imagined.
The Philippines definitely was the most surprising, in terms of the people, food, culture and the natural beauty of the islands. My experience with the Philippines was limited to my Filipino friends but I never knew how awesome a destination it was. I had few expectations about the Philippines and spending a couple of weeks there, still managed to completely surprise. even an experienced traveler as myself.
Israel was also completely surprising, since most peoples knowledge of
Israel is limited to what they see on CNN. The people, the land and remarkable
diversity of the people really touched me. Who knew you could have a raging
drunk time in Tel Aviv?
· If you had to choose one favorite destination, which one would you chose?
The Maldives hand down was the most relaxing place Ive ever been to. In the Caribbean, we tend to over-busy ourselves, even with our relaxed attitudes. The people in Maldives were naturally accommodating and the quality of the beaches and water were just spectacular.
· What has been the least exciting destination you've traveled to?
For me, the Sistine Chapel is the most overrated tourist attraction Ive been to. It is a complete tourist factory meant to separate you from your money. It is world famous for the art, yet the people who run it, treat the patrons like complete garbage. I would never recommend it, but it is on many peoples bucket list so it is good for a one time walk in.
As for least exciting, anywhere can be exciting, if youre interested
in the destination. Personally, Ive not been to any place that I wasnt
excited by since Ive always found a story in each place.
· What impact has rishiray.com had on your life?
Blogging on the site has allowed me to meet many interesting people whove stumbled on my site. Its also added some credibility to my efforts to travel more. Most people you meet, will always question your desire to travel. Curiously enough, once I direct them to the site, then the questions seem to evolve from a Why? question, to the logical Where questions.
· Through blogging, have you met any interesting people?
Definitely, Ive met other travel bloggers and even met people who emailed me while I was visiting a city to take me out drinking and to show me their town.
· If you could travel with one celebrity for one week, who would you chose?
I cant personally think of any celebrity that I find interesting enough to spend a week with. I love travelling alone ..
· What advice would you give to a newbie traveler?
Have no fear. The world is not a scary place. Do it while youre young if you wait, life and responsibilities will catch up to you.
· In 10 years, do you see yourself still traveling or slowing down?
Im now in my 30s, so naturally I will start slowing down because of more responsibility and the fact that I dont desire a truly nomadic lifestyle. In my earlier years, I did have a desire to be nomadic, but by choosing a job that allowed almost constant travel and being on the road, it satisfies that desire. I will always travel in my life, the only difference now is that I have modified my approach to include my better half and any future offspring.
Thanks Rishi for the interview. Please visit blog @ Rishiray.com