How do we imagine an Indian woman in her 30’s? She should be married? Of course yes, with two children or at least one. Taking care of household chores is mandatory and going to a job is accepted only if she could manage both. She can have dreams but for pursuing it, she should get permission from all her relatives and should be able to give convincing answers to their dubious questions. What about a late-night party with colleagues? “In our family, no women had been outside after 9pm. Don’t put shame on us”, would be the reply from the respected mother-in-law. At least can she sleep till 10am? “Do any responsible women sleep after sunrise?” would be another question. In each and every turn of her life, she has so many restrictions. Some are happy with the way of life and some are used to it. But there are some other women like Shivya Nath.
Who is Shivya Nath?
If you ask Shivya Nath the same question she would humbly say, “I’m just a girl who travels.” But she is a lot more. She is a Storyteller, Writer, Digital Nomad, Instagrammer, Social Entrepreneur, Solo Traveller, Vegan and Environmentalist. She hails from Dehradun, a small town at the base of the Himalayas. She went to Singapore to study, graduated from there and she landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board, learned about social media. At the age of 23, Shivya Nath quit her corporate job, sold her possessions and began to travel the world. She gave up her home and the need for a permanent address and sold most of her possessions and embarked on a nomadic journey that has taken her everywhere from remote Himalayan villages to the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador. At present, she lives a nomadic life, seeks adventures off the beaten path, and works on the go to fund her travels. She has got published in leading travel publications in India like The Hindu, The Times of India and National Geographic Traveller. She is awarded the Best Indian Travel Blogger and also been featured on ‘The Washington Post’ as traveller changing the way people think about the world.
The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star is a travel memoir, a blog which has all her travel experiences like living with an indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala, hiking alone in the Ecuadorian Andes, getting mugged in Costa Rica, swimming across the border from Costa Rica to Panama, sleeping under a meteor shower in the cracked salt desert of Gujarat and learning to conquer her deepest fears which are a very few to name. She then wrote a book called ‘The Shooting Star. A Girl, Her Backpack and The World’ that charts her battles and adventures from the cubicle to the road, and from small-town India to remote corners of the globe. A free soul, who wanted to live on her own terms, explore the world meaningfully and smash stereotypes along the way wrote all about her relationships, battles, triumphs and life-changing encounters, and how she tried to conquer her deepest fears. Guess what? In a little over a month of release, The Shooting Star sold 10,000+ copies by acquiring the status of a National Bestseller in India.
To Women, A Message from Shivya
From an interview by Platform Creative Lifestyle, she tells that
I think women, especially those of us who have roots in India, need to stop thinking of ourselves as victims. I know we’re bound by societal expectations, but we are also mentally strong, physically able, capable of financial independence and passionate about the things we believe in. We need to use that to propel ourselves forward, break away from the demands made of us and fight the fear within each us. Some things that have helped me along the way are surrounding myself with positive people who encourage me to keep going (online when it’s not possible in person), reading about women who’re challenging conventions and trying to journey within myself (through solo travel and solo hiking) to convince myself that I’m capable of fighting the battles that come my way.
We have one life, and we can’t spend it on someone else’s terms. When we genuinely start believing that, no dream is impossible.
– Shivya Nath