BRUISED PASSPORTS: TRAVEL BLOGGERS | ENTREPRENEURS
Credits – All images sourced from the bloggers
India’s digital sweethearts and travel superheroes, Bruised Passports aka Savi and Vid are forerunners of the blogging and digital entrepreneurship sphere in India. The duo has been credited for changing the way millions of people approach travel, all due to their enviable list of more than 100 countries that they have travelled together to. Authors of a best-selling book that consists of their travelogues, the travelling-couple have won several awards by esteemed publications for their work in the travel blogosphere. Their adventures and photographs have been featured on several TV channels and newspapers, including Discovery Channel, National Geographic, CNN, and BBC.
The duo gets into a candid conversation about travel and more with the Travel Peacock Magazine.
Q) How did you two meet?
Vid: Both of us met in high-school in New Delhi — cheesy as it sounds, we met for the first time in our school bus. Back then, I had no idea I was stepping on the biggest roller-coaster of my life when I met Savi. We’re similar in ways I can’t imagine and together, I’m convinced we can conquer the world. We were the best of friends and continue to be — perhaps that is the reason we understand each other so well and work well together as a team, both in life and at work. 20 years later, she is still the highlight of my life.
Q) When did you plan to start travelling together extensively as a couple?
Vid: When Savi and I were dating, I was working in Singapore and Savi happened to visit me. We decided to take a short trip together to Malaysia. As they say, the rest was history. We fell in love with the idea of seeing the world and made a pact that we would travel to a new place every month. We’ve stuck to that pact ever since! From saving our pocket money and later, our salaries to travel to making travel a full-time profession, it’s been a roller-coaster ride
Q) For how long have the two of you been travelling?
We’ve been travelling together for almost 15 years and I can safely say it has brought us closer in so many different ways. I truly think the cliché “Couples that travel together stay together” is somewhat true because travelling to new places, out of one’s comfort zone, can often be a sensory overload of sorts. The good things — trying new foods, meeting new people etc also come with the bad ones — falling sick in a strange place, getting lost etc. But sharing these new experiences with someone familiar heightens the pleasure involved in the act of exploring the world in our case. And it has definitely brought us closer.
Q) Why do you travel?
This is such a deep question — but if we had to sum it up, we would say Travel is like meditation for us. It has taught us to live outside our comfort zones and educated us in the way nothing else ever could have. It has also made us realise human emotions are the same the world over. The simple act of travelling and meeting new people has made us question so many stereotypes and biases that are rampant in society. It truly is a thrill like no other.
Q) What does your Instagram blog ‘Bruised Passports’ mean? What is it all about?
The name comes from the fact that our passports are all battered and bruised because of all the visas and stamps on them. We started blogging almost 10 years ago when the word ‘influencer’ did not even exist. Both of us had full-time jobs at the time. We consciously worked towards our plan by saving money for collecting experiences and future travels. Finally, in 2015, we decided to leave our full-time jobs and follow our dreams of exploring the world together and establishing a location-independent lifestyle.
But our decision to start blogging was not just about travel or entrepreneurship. It was to establish a platform where we could encourage others to design their dream life and prioritise LOVE in relationships. Starting anything from scratch is never easy but add to that the fact that it’s something that is not considered “normal”, you end up facing a lot of questions from everyone around you. We distinctly remember my manager telling me that we were being foolish by leaving our well-paying jobs to travel the world and establish Bruised Passports as an online venture. That we’d regret it. And he was not the only one. It was difficult for society to fathom that someone would leave financial stability to travel the world. But the two of us were sure and knew we had to give it a shot.
And we’re glad we did what we believed in or we would have lost out on such amazing experiences, a thriving business venture, and the most loving and supportive online community of Bruised Passports readers. This story is chronicled in the book. It’s all about choosing your priorities! We love our work to bits and it makes us smile everyday.
Q) How many cities have you travelled to till now?
101 countries and countless cities together. We are adding to that list every single day.
Q) How do you select a place to travel?
Savi: Pre-pandemic, it was determined by places we were curious to visit and ones that offered a variety of experiences we could explore and photograph. Post-pandemic, a lot of our travel decisions are made keeping current restrictions in mind. For instance, right now the aim is to visit places, which are accessible and offer hygienic accommodation and dining opportunities. Due to this, we have re-visited many places we’ve previously written about but we’ve loved uncovering new facets of these familiar places such as Ladakh, The Maldives, and Dubai.
Between the two of us, I veer towards exploring big cities (New York, Paris, London, you name it!), while Vid loves the quiet countryside and the mountains (Ladakh, Iceland, Faroe Islands). Together, we truly enjoy exploring every single type of place from glaciers and volcanoes to beaches and mountains. However, long road-trips in scenic countries like New Zealand and Spain are our personal favourite.
Q) How do you prepare for every trip of yours?
This can vary from person to person but we usually read on safety and vaccination restrictions. Then we get down to reading about the destination and packing appropriate clothes and accessories. Our top five essentials include a camera, earphones, snacks, our favourite books, and sunscreen.
Q) What challenges do you face as a couple who are extensively travelling?
To be honest, travelling a lot might seem to be fun and indeed it is truly exciting, but it is not for everyone! It can truly take a toll on one’s body, skin, hair and emotions too. There are days when one tends to miss home comforts, comfort food, or just being close to family and friends. If you aren’t used to getting out of your comfort zone, it might not be for you.
Q) How do the two of you tackle any differences arising while selecting a place or planning your travel itinerary?
I love this question. We usually reconcile differences by giving each other a little bit of space — the magic formula! First, we cross off things that both of us are keen on covering. Then we take a couple of days to go our own ways and enjoy the things that tickle our fancy. This way there are no nasty arguments and both of us end up doing what we wanted in the first place!
Q) What is the one surprising fact you discovered about each other during your initial travels?
Savi: We discovered that our travel styles mostly compliment each other’s but they sometimes collide as well. Both of us love exploring new places together — we enjoy looking for scenic spots, trying new foods, and chatting with locals to find out little gems tourists might not visit.
Having said that, we also have varied interests, so we always explore new places on our own as well. Often, Vid spends hours photographing night skies and visiting coffee shops, while I visit museums, vintage boutiques, and art galleries in new places.
Q) One golden rule everyone should follow when travelling with their partner?
To give each other space. It shouldn’t be taboo to spend some time on each trip indulging one’s own hobbies — be it art, shopping, or wine. For example, Vid loves his share of specialty cafes while I love my museums, so every time we visit a vibrant city we make sure to keep aside a day or two to go our own ways and do just that!
Q) After being constantly on the go, how did you come to terms with being at a standstill during the lockdown?
Home has come to mean something so different from its dictionary meaning that we have dedicated one whole chapter in our book titled ‘Finding Home’ to its new meaning. Home is not so much about spaces but familiarity — familiar people, tastes, and even familiar landscapes. In that sense, home is a geographically fluid concept for us now.
So, staying indoors was a mixed bag. Since we love slow, we are used to spending entire months living slowly in places like Bali or Guatemala. Staying indoors and spending so much time with each other was not a challenge. However, after the first few months had passed, the uncertainty of it all led to confusion, anxiety, and even panic. After a few listless weeks, we decided to focus on the glass half full and use that time to execute projects we had put on the back burner such as penning our book and working on an app. So, looking back at the time, it was a satisfying year or two.
Staying indoors served as a long pause for both of us. Despite the fact that the travel industry was deeply affected and our work suffered terribly too, we never had second thoughts about choosing this as our career — so in a strange way — it reminded us about just how much we love travelling, meeting new people, trying new foods, and adventures.
Q) Which trip has been the most memorable for you and why?
Savi: Out of the many memorable trips we have taken, the one that truly stands out was the month we spent in Peru. It was our first trip upon quitting our day jobs and transitioning to being full-time travellers and entrepreneurs. This was scary and led us to question our decision a lot. But being in Peru and realising we now had the luxury of time to explore new places insteading of cramming everything into a short trip based on an annual leave changed something in both of us. Something just clicked. It was the trip where we realised we wanted to travel full-time with each other and make our entrepreneurial dreams a reality. This has gone on to define our personal relationship in the years that followed, a life-changing trip indeed!
Vid: There are many experiences around the world that we have loved so far but my favourite will have to be driving around Iceland in winters. I remember we were heading back to our cottage in the middle of nowhere after a day of exploring. We were tired and looking forward to a hot cuppa when suddenly out of nowhere the pitch black sky was lit with green and purple lights dancing across the sky. We couldn’t resist parking our car on the side of the road and just sitting there, hand in hand, marvelling at the beautiful sky, the tiredness slipping away from our bodies. In that moment, nothing else mattered — it was just us and the gorgeous night sky of Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Q) What’s the strangest food you’ve tried on any of your trips?
Fried tarantulas in Cambodia, on a dare from a friend!
Q) What tips would you give to aspiring travellers?
Too many to count. But the most important one is to travel with an open mind and not try to cram too much into a short holiday. Very often, one tends to treat trips as a checklist and I think this always ends in a disaster! Instead, we recommend consciously crafting an itinerary keeping personal likes (and dislikes) in mind. That way you can do things you truly enjoy together and spend time absorbing a new culture, making new friends, and learning things about the world we live in!
Q) Which are the top three places on your bucket list for travelling as of now?
We’d love to explore more of South America and Africa this year!
Q) What are the two places you would recommend to travellers?
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It’s hard to reach but Lake Atitlan is truly special. It’s beautiful and the highlight for us was practising our broken Spanish at the local markets, bargaining for the creamiest avocados, and exploring villages untouched by time!
Faroe Islands is not on everyone’s travel radar but it truly should be. The archipelago, nestled between Norway, Iceland, and Scotland, ensures unspoilt panoramas and dramatic fjords without a soul in sight. Driving through glacial valleys and scenic cliff-top villages with less than a dozen houses is an experience like no other.