Why Two Cousins Plan Solo Trips for 100s of Indian Women to … – The Better India – Travel India Alone

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Garima Pande and Akshat Sharma based WanderingJane, a journey startup that plans customised itineraries for ladies travellers to make their expertise safer and extra memorable.

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In Indian households, it’s frequent for cousins to interact in discussions about beginning a enterprise collectively. Typically, these conversations don’t transfer past the confines of the lounge. However for cousins Garima Pande and Akshat Sharma, they led to a fruitful end result. 

The duo run WanderingJane, a Bengaluru-based journey startup that goals to empower solo feminine travellers and promote women-owned enterprises. 

“Every time we met, our conversations would result in how we need to make exploring the world safer for ladies,” says Garima. “We needed to provide girls a seamless and secure expertise during which they will journey freely, whereas interacting with locals.” 

To date, they’ve hosted over 250 solo girls’s travels from throughout the nation. 

wanderingjane1
Garima Pande co-founded Wanderingjane together with her cousin. Image credit score: Garima Pande

A ‘wandering’ childhood

Garima, who was born and raised in an Military family, skilled a childhood the place she was continually relocating from one metropolis to a different. “Each my dad and mom have been Military officers and my life had been a mixture of completely different cities. The expertise can certainly be distinctive and fascinating, because it exposes people to completely different locations, cultures, and experiences. Each one or two years, we’d transfer to a brand new metropolis, change examination boards and attempt to make new associates,” she says. 

Whereas such a life-style comes with a set of challenges, for Garima, it was all the time enjoyable to maneuver round. 

“I’m fairly positive my love for travelling started at house. My dad and mom liked exploring the locations the place we’d keep and lived as locals. Even once we travelled, we made positive that we explored the native tradition,” she says. 

Garima Pande
The corporate has over 500 native consultants to help their travellers throughout their keep. Image credit score: Garima Pande

Although, she notes, she by no means thought this love would result in entrepreneurship. 

“I labored within the company world for greater than a decade and liked it. I used to be the kind of one who was not bored of her job. I liked the routine, the 9 to five of it,” she says. 

“What made me stop my job was this fixed urge to do one thing for ladies travellers. Every time my cousin and I sat down, we’d talk about how even at the moment, many ladies usually are not allowed to journey freely. I used to be lucky sufficient to have travelled a lot, however I do know many who don’t even get an opportunity to,” she says. 

So in 2017, she stop her job and began WanderingJane with Akshat. 

‘Not plain, however a wandering Jane’

“In 2016, we based a Fb group attempting to grasp what it’s that girls travellers want. What’s the challenge that holds them again from going solo? The most typical concern of ladies travellers was security, and lots of needed to transcend the vacationer points of interest and get a extra localised expertise. After a 12 months of brainstorming the doable solutions, we began WanderingJane,” says Garima. 

Explaining the assorted wings of the enterprise she says, “We offer a complete journey itinerary with entry to native consultants who’re licensed and skilled.” 

“The native consultants are basically people who find themselves born and raised in a selected place. They’ve tales to inform and issues to share that no journey information ever can. There’s a small coaching course of that entails equipping them with the way to cope with friends, cater to their wants, and make them really feel secure. This offers the travellers with an genuine expertise,” she explains. 

The corporate prefers to rent solely girls as ‘native consultants’. “This provides a livelihood to native girls and this encourages different girls to hitch it. Moreover, solo girls travellers really feel secure and comfy with girls guides. We’ve round over 500 native consultants, of which 85 p.c are girls,” she says.  

The itineraries are rigorously crafted to align with the preferences of the travellers, incorporating a spread of native actions akin to boat rides, scuba diving, kayaking, sound therapeutic, and cooking classes that delve into the intricacies of native cuisines.

A novel a part of their enterprise is that the enterprise they rent for his or her elaborate itineraries are additionally women-owned. “Ninety p.c of the companies we help are women-owned — proper from homestays and eating places to actions akin to yoga and boat rides. We favor companies owned by girls in all instances, however there are cases the place it turns into exhausting to seek out them. As an illustration, say in scuba diving, there aren’t any companies that present that service and are run by girls. In such instances we’ve no alternative however to compromise,” she says. 

Garima Pande
The corporate has over 250 girls travellers to date. Image credit score: Garima Pande

The corporate promotes each solo and girls group travellers. The journey itineraries can be found for locations in India and overseas together with Vietnam, Maldives, Bhutan, Bali, and components of Europe, together with Croatia, Spain, and Eire.

“Sadly, the market measurement of ladies in occupations akin to mountaineering, scuba diving or kayaking is sort of low. Whereas it’s rising with time, there are nonetheless not many companies owned by girls in these areas. With Wanderingjane, we not solely need girls to exit and journey solo, but additionally promote girls in these companies,” she says, including that sooner or later the corporate needs to include extra women-owned companies and native consultants. 

Among the many 250 travellers was Rachita Mohan, who says, “One of many issues on my listing of ‘issues to do earlier than 30’ was to journey solo. It may be difficult, however when you do it, there is no such thing as a going again.” 

“After I was doing my analysis about travelling solo is once I got here throughout WanderingJane. The group, particularly Garima, actually goes the additional mile to make the journey seamless and enjoyable.” 

She continues, “You don’t simply select from one package deal and go on the journey. They discuss to you, perceive your issues and pursuits, after which provide you with a plan. The native consultants have been very pleasant and secure, they invited me to their properties, which gave me a really genuine expertise. And once I say they go the additional mile, they actually do. As an illustration, the contacts of the drivers that have been imagined to drive me round in Leh and Bali got to my dad and mom and me prematurely so we may monitor them.” 

Rachita has travelled thrice with WanderingJane, of which two journeys have been solo, to Bali and Leh. 

The phrase ‘Plain Jane’ is a generally used English expression to explain a easy lady, and it additionally served as inspiration for the corporate’s identify. Nevertheless, the excellence between these two people named Jane is that the latter has a robust need to journey and discover.

“Our Jane is just not the one who stays at house, she is a wandering one who likes to journey and discover numerous locations,” says Garima. 

(Edited by Divya Dethu)

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