Aao Travel Fellowship 1.0 Flashback

Aao travel fellowship

Why did we do it?

One question that we asked ourselves while connecting dots of backpacking destinations in India- Where to start and where to end! We didn’t have a concrete answer anywhere on the internet. Travelers often keep reading about the destinations which were unexplored through angles of fellow travelers. But a sudden set of questions start hovering and they shout for travel mode, expenses, accommodation, food, etc. A genuine try to answer all the questions gave wings to AAO Fellowship and we set an objective to come up with stories which connects the backpacking destinations of India in various combinations.

How did we do it?

In 2017, From over 250 plus applications, we selected 7 fellows, on the basis of their writing skills, social media presence and most importantly urge to explore.

Surprisingly out of 7, five were women and 2 were men. This indicated that Indian women are definitely on wanderlust and making it happen.

  • 7 Fellows from 6 Indian States
  • 15 days travel fellowship
  • 22 states and union territories
  • 105 destinations
  • Covered 20,000+ Kms
  • 156 Blogs
  • 10,000+ Media Files

AaoHostels team had a command center in Bangalore office which was awake 24×7 to monitor safety and security of the fellows. Every fellow had a basic plan to cover certain destination but they improvised and made the best out of these 15 days as they hopped from one destination to the other. Fellows in their articles painted about the destinations, places to visit, inner journey, cultures, people, and everything else they experienced.

Fellows Experience

“This is exactly what traveling does to you,” writes Sajina Ali who backpacked across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and North-Eastern states. She goes on mentioning – “It opens up your space to welcome best from diversity in India’’. Another fellow traveler Rahul who backpacked across Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh said “For me, it is the rawness of the people I met. There is a sense of authenticity in them, and no underlying motives behind their actions.”

“When you travel and meet people, you get what you see. And the more you see it, the better you feel about the community”, says Chaitali.

Challenges and Solution

We had penned down the most minute plan and anticipated every possible risk in executing this one if its kind travel fellowship in India. There were hardly any challenges faced during fellowship as every fellow had their plans already in place. We remember dealing with trains getting late on the 5th day of AAO fellowship. This could have disturbed the entire planning. Thankfully, the fellow kept enough margin between 2 trains and calculated the average time to be given at the spots. This smartness proved to be best while backpacking. Another fellow always took tickets to next destination the moment she landed at a destination. Only then she started her day to explore.

Read Blogs from Aao Fellowship 1.0

You can read many such interesting experiences in the articles to follow who traveled the remotest and most unlikely destinations to the most touristy locations of India. Happy reading and happy traveling in this Aaosome world of Backpacking. Last blog from the series will be LIVE on 26th September, 2018