Inspiring Traveler Interview with Santwona Patnaik: WANDER BIRD

Santwona Patnaik-Travel Blogger Interview

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Santwona Patnaik.

I am an avid writer, blogger, travel enthusiast and a full-time nature lover. Writing and travelling define the two major passions of my life. So, writing travelogues is much more than just a job for me. Being a keen observer, my travel experiences often sound a little offbeat with a personal touch. I believe that every person I meet in my journeys and every place I visit, has it’s own story and I strive to bring all these little stories to life. 

Wander Bird’ is my maiden attempt at travel blogging and compiles all my travel stories across the world. 

What’s your favourite place so far?

Home is where the heart lies. Whenever in India, my first priority will always be the beautiful eastern state of India – “Odisha”. 

Often described as an offbeat favourite of adventure-seekers, Odisha serves a mix of history, fascinating tribal culture, natural beauty, garnished with sun and sand in the same platter.

What can’t you travel without?

Phone, wallet, sunglass and moist wipes – You’ll always find these 4 in my travel bag. I’m not sure if I can travel without them or not. Never really thought of it that way!

Do you prefer solo travel or with someone else?

It will be very unfair to choose between the two. Each form of travel has its own set of pleasures. I have enjoyed both solo and group travels, so far. Basically, my travel plan depends on my mood.

Which country has the friendliest people?

Out of all the countries I’ve travelled so far, I loved the warmth in Singapore. People there are really nice, cheerful and ready to help.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met so far?

The list is quite long that way. Each country has always had its unique set of people. Can’t name just one.

What’s been your scariest moment?

Scuba Diving into the deep ocean in Thailand, without even knowing how to swim. I never made it evident, but I was shit-scared from inside just before the dive. Eventually, I overcame a part of my hydrophobia that day!

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

A keen observer.

What is your dream travelling experience?

I dream of uninhibited travel some day – a safe travelling experience without borders, restrictions or visa hassles. That would indeed be my dream travelling experience.

Who is your dream travel companion?

I have never thought of this actually. I’m so content within myself while travelling that no companion can ever ruin it for me. I’ll always enjoy, no matter what.

What was the best place you stayed in?

New York – That city actually retained a piece of my heart. I have never been to a city like that before.

How many photos have you taken?

Countless. I have stopped tracking the count now. 

What’s the most interesting animal you’ve seen?

This question has actually made me think now. Other than regular animals and birds, there’s nothing very peculiar that I’ve seen so far. This calls for a trip to one of the wildlife National Parks soon.

Do you prefer hot, cold or temperate places?

I enjoy dry and temperate places more than extreme hot or cold weather conditions. It’s always best to stay outdoors in a temperate climate.

Would you rather see a lot of places or get to know one really well?

I would rather want to know a lot of places really well, by taking it very slow and steady. I am a slow traveller, who doesn’t stop. So, I get to imbibe almost everything about a place. But then, I never stop at one. My natural instinct is to continue exploring.

What’s the longest single journey you’ve taken?

My longest journey would be a long road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas by car. By the time I reached Las Vegas, I was dead tired. But then, 30 minutes later, I was back on the streets of Vegas. That one glance at the Vegas nightlife can really recharge you.

Which religious or spiritual sites have you visited?

Yes, I have visited few religious/spiritual sites as well  – The Big Buddha at Phuket, Matrimandir at Auroville, Jagannath Temple at Puri (one of the 4 major pilgrimage sites in India), Basilica of Bom Jesus at Goa (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Masjid Sultan at Singapore, Radha Madhav Dham at Austin-Texas, Haji Ali at Mumbai – to name a few.

Which country has the best weather?

I haven’t really travelled the whole world, to judge which country has the best weather overall. From my experiences, I love the weather of Manali in India, as much as I love the weather of California in USA. Please note that in case of big countries, weather always varies within states of the same country.

Do you prefer to walk, take public transport, or take private transport?

I have always been a big fan of walking or public transport. I love to explore the local way.

What destination have you found to be overrated?

None so far, in my experience. Anyway, this is dependent on people’s opinions and opinion is always subjective.

What’s been the best street food you’ve had?

Well, coming from India, I would naturally be very biased towards Indian street food. Nothing can ever beat that. Other than that, if I still have to choose, I would go for the delicious street-style Mediterranean gyro meat wraps or meat gyros over flavoured rice, served in New York street food trucks!

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Beer or wine?

None for me actually. Even though I have tasted both, I am not fond of alcohol at all. 

Finally what are your thoughts about Himachal Tourist Places travel blog?

I got to know about the travel blog – Himachal Tourist Places‘, through Skill Infinity. And I must say, it is a simple and extremely organised blog, especially for Himachal travel. Mr. Sunny Deval has collated all tidbits about Himachal in such an explicit way in this blog that you would find all your answers related to Himachal here. Great work, indeed!

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