A travel writer and a photographer, Divya Rai is the voice behind the travelogue: A Borrowed Backpack. With a relentless passion for travel, her love for heading to “off-beat” destinations is fuelled by the endless possibilities of encounters with people, cultures and landscapes. Or as she charmingly says, “there are so many beautiful places waiting to be experiences and wonderful souls to meet (…).”
Inspired by her passion towards travel, back packing and photography we from Livingit got in touch with Rai to find out more details about her life behind the camera, and on the move.
When a passion for photography bust also travel go hand in hand, as they often do, one thing Rai believes one learns, over years of experience, is how to distinguish between two important types of moments. Those that need to be captured on camera, and those that are meant to be lived, with the camera safely tucked away.
Professionally trained, having studied photography from Triveni Kala Sangam in New Dehli, Rai is quite keen on landscape photography.
However what really engages her attention is conceptual photography, “the surface, the light, its angle and intensity, the subject; and how these factors come together to form a moment that is worth looking at a decade later.”
A photograph, according to Rai, is the product of a story, or vision, which she wishes to convey. A lot more goes into how a photograph develops than just clicking a picture.
Photography is “a marriage between art and science.” The science lays the framework but the art gives you the freedom to explore. Hence, learning photography is an on-going progress with each assignment, travel opportunity and photo shoot helping to develop and improve the skill.
Getting more into backpacking, Rai describes off-beat destinations as places that are not overly mapped out by the tourist industry, a little away from the crowds. With a preference for slow-travel, Rai doesn’t believe in experiencing a place superficially. Travel is living the place and getting to know its people.
Ironically the most exciting aspect to her trips is planning them rather than truly executing them. Travelling solo gives her the freedom of how she wants to spend her time and resources, however often making bookings on the go, it can get a little tense when heading out alone.
Nevertheless to minimize that, there are three factors Rai makes a point to not to forget.
- Keep the local culture in mind
- Listen to your gut feeling.
- Sort out your stay for the night by 5pm latest especially when staying in a remote area.
The rest then falls into place on the go.
While backpacking, the key is to travel light keeping your luggage to a minimum with the basic essentials.
Seven packing essentials that Rai will not set out without are silica gel, anti-mosquito cream, sunscreen, a journal, a rain cover along with her camera, lenses as well as mobile phone, which she also often uses for photography.
Also, read about Rohan Ratnapal: Backpacker with a zist for outdoor adventures!
Consistently recording her travels, trips and tips on her travelogue, A Borrowed Backpack, Rai shares with us that Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are next on her bucket list.
But, an experience that cannot be missed by any and all backpackers is Nongriat, a village in Meghalaya situated 3 kilometers deep into a valley, consisting of just 13 houses.
There are many forms of travel from slow, simple, off-beat to fast paced or luxurious. The idea behind it is the same, a new perspective, and a new place. Wherever you go and whatever you do, do it with a passion.
Living her Passion
“If not that, what is the other way to live?” : Divya Rai.
We couldn’t agree more.
Here’s wishing Divya all the best for her future journeys. And hoping that Divya keeps traveling around the world with her borrowed backpack and keeps exploring hidden gems for us to cherish. And also motivates us to pack our bags and zip off to that place.
A borrowed backpack or one of your own, doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you are Livingit or no.
Divya Rai sure is Livingit!