You know how you haven’t met someone, but you’ve been following their work on the internet, and everything that they do inspires you a little to stalk their every move online a little more? At the expense of sounding creepy, I’d like to say I have a bunch of such “online friends” who I’ve never met, and who have also made it to my “People I must meet one day” list. Ameya Kolambekar is one such person.
Online friends are great sometimes. Guys, meet Northstalgia , one of my favorite travel inspiration accounts-
Who is Ameya Kolambekar?
You know that guy who loves traveling but is stuck in a 9-6? That’s me. I adore pets, football keeps my weekends busy and I find myself digging into history quite a bit. And, I never have a bad hair day.
(The first thing that strikes me here- this man has a great sense of humor)
You travel a lot. What’s the inspiration behind this?
I wish I could say I had a ‘Columbus’ like instincts at birth. But it was the 2 months I spent in Copenhagen during an exchange program back in college which possibly did it. Ever since, the fascination of little adventures in stranger lands became way too much of a habit. And there is just so much to experience, why won’t I travel? :D
How often to do travel?
It’d be a bad year if I haven’t been on the road at least 4-5 times. So I need to travel every 2-3 months. A fair mix of overseas and India works given the time available off work
Travelers have a lot of stories to share, and am sure you have your share. What’s a mean, badass travel experience you’d like to share with us?
Oh, there have been a few.
- Got busted by the cops while hitchhiking on the Autobahn in Austria (it’s illegal to hitchhike there). Acted like a daft, lost tourist and made sure they dropped me to the train station instead.
- Spent a few hours in a lock-up in Bahrain over documentation issues while driving.
- Stayed with a couchsurfer in China who had 20+ tattoos. Woke up the next day and got myself my first too. I should stop, this list can get really long!
What are your thoughts on travel blogging?
I think much of it stems from the intention. Casual blogging and doing it as a livelihood are two very different things- not only in the type of content and approach but also the way one travels. Also, rich content works a lot better in travel blogging than conventional write ups.
I also think it’s likelier/easier for a good photo/video blogger to get noticed these days compared to his/her writing counterpart.
So…what’s traveling like now? What are the trends you’ve noticed?
Backpacking perhaps? Relatively speaking, it’s still really a tiny percent of the traveling done in India, but enabled by popular culture and social media, there are more people venturing in that space. India lacks the infrastructure and perceived safety but it’s on the upswing.
What are your thoughts on influencer management?
It’s a good space for brands; to be able to connect with their audience without shouting out from their own handles. Third party content works. As they say, we listen to people a lot more than we listen to brands. Far more dynamic than conventional advertising I’d say.
On the flipside, that divide between ‘opinion leaders’ and ‘influencers’ is disappearing rapidly though. The fact that many people call themselves ‘social influencers’ in the bio is what is wrong in the first place. Corrupts the concept.
Last one for this time -What do you want to be remembered as?
This question has probably come in 50 years too soon. It’d be great to be that guy who left behind some memorable travel stories & moments of the years gone by. And as a good son!
A lot more remains to be discussed, and as promised I will catch up with him over a beer and hear all that he’s got to share on my next trip Mumbai.