Meet Pooja Agarwal, a journalist who loves to travel eat, explore and wander..
At Malaga Central, Spain
What got you hooked to travelling?
While pursuing my Masters in London during the first week itself we were given a field assignment. Next day I left my hostel at 7.30 in the morning. I decided that day that I will return back only with the last underground train. In the morning, I covered a gorilla marathon for my course work where I bumped into British presenter Bill Oddie. I suddenly had an interview with a famous personality for my very first assignment. That day I toured almost all tourist sites in London, but on my way I got lost several times only to end up at unusual places. I came home only a few minutes before midnight. I had never felt so content and independent in my life before that and suddenly I was hooked to wandering.
Favourite travel destination? Why?
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” – Susan Sontag
Least favourite travel destination? Why?
Scariest thing that happened to you?
I was backpacking across Spain last year. In Malaga, I once spent an entire evening at a bar chatting with the hosts who were three brothers. This bar was just across from my hotel and could be seen from my window. Next day, I saw the police at the bar from my window and I saw the commotion from the space in my curtains. My imagination was running wild and I couldn’t imagine why the police were there. In spite of being extremely sure that it had nothing to do with me, I was scared. The bar remained closed after that throughout my time there.
Weirdest thing you did?
While in Segovia, I went into a forest (without any knowledge of the track) on a hungry stomach wearing flip-flops. I was lost, hungry and with thorns in my feet (I actually started bleeding) but when I came into an open field in the forest , I smelled the freshest of grass. I only sound I could hear was of the wind and my thoughts. I had never felt this free and happy. Later I found a man who showed me the way out and I realised that ‘In life you will always be found, as long as you want to be found’.
Another instance happened in Malaga. I was desperate to climb the Alcazaba. So I set of in the harsh afternoon sun of the Mediterranean. I was climbing from the back. At the start of the stairs, there was a clowder of cats. They looked quite formidable and hence i decided to climb the Alcazaba through the middle. At one point I was crouching with my hands and legs, both clutching on the branches for my dear life. It’s only in retrospect that I realised how dangerous it was.
Favourite travel photo? Why?
Every one of the pictures that I took is always going to be the perfect picture for me.
Must have packing item?
Good pair of shoes, a pen drive with soft copy of all my essential documents, diary and pen and a jacket which can double up as a raincoat.
Favourite travel experience?
Andaman and Nicobar Islands- It’s the most beautiful place I have been to till now. Once you go to A & N, no beach in the world will be good enough.
Amsterdam- Antwerp- Bruges- Brussels- Luxemburg- Paris- Bordeaux-Lyon-Provence- Marseille-Cannes- Monaco- Corsica- Pisa- Florence- Verona- Venice- Rome-Naples- Calabria- Sicily- (Agrigento)- Malta
I am going to Jammu and Kashmir this November. I will get to attend a Kashmiri wedding and then plan to go all the way to Dras which is the second coldest inhabited place on earth.