Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Shriya Pilgaonkar finds her travel inspiration in her ‘Ajoba’

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Actress Shriya Pilgaonkar, who has forever been a travel freak, gets candid with The Pioneer  exclusively for our Travelogue segment, sharing her love for travelling, her travel partner, a recent trip, and more.
Tejal Sinha
The first thing that comes to mind when we say travelling? Excitement? Enjoyment? Happiness? There are numerous such pleasant emotions. The excitement of packing your bags and visiting a new area can give a person shivers while also making them forget their issues. Similarly, for Shriya Pilgaonkar, travelling is not a luxury but a necessity and something that makes her happy and rejuvenates her.
“Travelling to me is something that brings me closer to myself,” shares the Crackdown actress over an exclusive chat for our special weekly column of Travelogue. “It puts things into perspective, and I think as an actor, so much about acting is about life, experiences, and the rush. The sense of adventure that I experience when I travel is something that really keeps me going. I’m absolutely passionate about it, and I make sure to take time to travel whenever I can between work.” It seems like her grandfather has been her travel partner. And as we go on to ask her about it, she says he has always been her travel inspiration.
“He’s 85, and all of these years, he has managed to fulfill his dreams in more than 100 countries. What I love about him is that for him, it’s just not about checking off what’s on his bucket list; he is truly a curious person who has that sense of wonder. He knows so much, and he loves people and cultures. I’ve been fortunate to travel with him, not just as a child. As a child, we travelled to Rajasthan, Mussorie, and several other places in India, and growing up, we went to Iceland together, which was beautiful, and we had also done a Mediterranean cruise together; it was a role reversal. When I grew up, I was the one who used to manage and organise everything. So I really like to travel with my grandfather because I think there’s such perspective, so many stories to share, and that’s also something I really love about travelling: that I also love people, and there’s a sense of curiosity that even I have about human beings and their lives, and there’s so much you learn. It’s not just about other people but also about yourself when you are travelling.
Travelling with her grandfather is all about experiencing something new, and the duo always has a story to tell. Basically, her last long trip that she took was to Australia, and she feels fortunate to have visited Australia a number of times.
“It’s such a beautiful place, especially if you enjoy nature, adventure, and good food. Then it’s fantastic. I’ve done skydiving and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, and I met some wonderful people there. It’s such an eclectic mix of art, culture, and fantastic food that I really enjoy. I especially love koala bears, so this time when I went, I also got to hold one of them, which was really cute.”But again, she really enjoys road trips, and in the future, she would love to go on a road trip as well. The best way that she likes to experience a place is by spending time with the locals through their food. For her, exploring local cuisine and street food makes her very excited, and of course, road trips are the best way to experience the energy of a place. The Guilty Minds actress is someone who enjoys wearing colourful clothes while she’s on vacation; of course, it depends on when she’s on a work trip. Well, that also makes for great pictures, but to her, more than pictures, “I really love to document my videos.
When I’m making videos, they are not generally for other people to see as much as they are for my digital scrapbook. I just like to make it because it’s fun to look back at it. But when I’m travelling my priority is to be in the moment, be present, and experience a place, not just be obsessed with what content I really want.” She feels there is no place like India when it comes to diversity in experiences while travelling. One place that she keeps running to every now and then is Landour, which is above Mussorie. “I think mountains are healing for me, and they put so much into perspective. I just love mountain air, and I’m just a happier person up in the hills (she laughs).
I love beaches as well, but mountains are so special that I keep going on solo trips. In fact, my first solo backpacking trip was in Japan, where I used all the money that I made on my first project and went on a very budget-friendly solo backpacking trip to see the cherry blossoms, and it was beautiful. Then, talking of India, I also love Kerala. I feel each and every part of the country is so unique and so diverse. I haven’t explored the north-east enough, so that is what I really want to do.” Recently, celebrating her grandpa’s travels to 100 countries, she and her whole family travelled to Borneo for a family trip. Every year, she makes sure that she and her family go on at least one or two trips. With having to cut off some time from work, she says Goa has always been that rejuvenation place for her. An adventure freak and a foodie that she is, she likes to explore local food and eat a lot of food, but at the same time, she wonders if there are any adventure activities that she can do.“I’ve always had some wonderful spiritual experiences while travelling especially when I am underwater or right up in the air.
I feel just like Shriya, not Shriya the actor, daughter, or friend. I feel that being close to nature is like being close to God. I don’t really think of travelling as ticking off my bucket list. It really depends on what I want to do, and sometimes I think a place calls out to me. I’ve been to Berlin, Prague, on the most impromptu travel plan, or recently, I went to Bikaner for Holi. It can sometimes be an impromptu thing, and my grandfather said to me that travelling is not really about money. Yes, money is important when you travel, but there’s so much that you can do and so many options, even today, to go on a budget-friendly trip. You just need to have that will,” shares the Murder in Agonda star, who believes in being in the present moment and experiencing life to the fullest when travelling.On a concluding note, she shares that over the years she’s enjoyed going with the flow when it comes to travelling, and leaving that space for magic. She also credits her mom, who is also an adventurous person, with pushing Shriya to travel, even on solo trips.
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