“Back in 2016, I still remember the date, it was May 26, and I was travelling to Hampi for the 10th time on a solo trip,” says Sunil. “I had just returned from a flop solo trip to Kerala, and since Hampi is close to my hometown, Bangalore, I decided to head there instead,” says Chandana. On the bus from Hospet to Hampi, the two solo travellers found themselves seated across each other.
Like all avid travellers, Sunil and Chandana started chatting and exchanging their travel adventures. Little did they know that this conversation was just the beginning of a very grand plan! “Sunil had travelled to Hampi several times and really knew the place inside and out, so I thought who better than him to tag along with,” exclaims Chandana.
On reaching Hampi, instead of heading to their respective hotels, the two ventured on a sunrise hike straightaway. “It was amazing how well we gelled together and how beautiful our chemistry was. Neither of us wanted to waste time, we just wanted to get to exploring. All through our trip, as we’d explore Hampi’s history and culture, we’d also share travel stories. Sunil had loads since he was a full-time traveller. I was fascinated because his was exactly the life that I wanted to lead,” says Chandana.
Would you say that travel brought you closer? Tell me about a defining travel experience that shaped your relationship.
“Definitely! After we returned from Hampi, we’d often call each other and discuss travel. Funnily enough, it was travel that helped us pursue each other. I was hosting a travel show for which we needed a solo female traveller to cover Cambodia. I approached Chandana for the same, and turned out that it had been her long standing dream to visit Angkor Wat, the world’s largest temple. So she arrived and we explored Cambodia together,” says Sunil. “It was a dream come true for me. We stayed in backpacker hostels, ate local food, visited the temple in our ethnic attires and worked on the travel show. Once we reached India, we didn’t want to stop. We wanted to explore the country together. Together, we headed to Varanasi where we had to attend a friend’s wedding. During this trip, it became even more clear how comfortable we were with each other,” says Chandana. In Varanasi, the duo was having lunch when they spotted a poster of the famous Rann Utsav. Instantly, they knew what their next destination was going to be. A few weeks later, they had made train bookings to Kutch.