Author: Dipti Patil
‘Soulfull Journees’ is the fruition of my dreams, life purpose and experiences put together and endowing it further to the travelers.
I was born and brought up in Thane, fortunate to study in best educational institutes in India and United Kingdom, traveled across big modern cities of the world and met some amazing who’s who of the business world.
But what always attracted me, was the tranquil countryside amidst the chaos of these big cities. This came to me from my childhood trips to my native place, a remote village located in interiors of Alibaug – Raigad. Now a major tourism hub for Mumbai and Pune people, it was once a tranquil remote place with rich history of Maratha dynasty, rich in culture and traditions and untamed wilderness.
Most of my weekends were spend running among green paddy fields, playing around with cows, buffaloes, oxen, sheep, chicken, rabbits etc., going in nearby forest to pick some wild fruits , and enjoying rustic food made by grandma on firewood.
My family was always very liberal in their approach towards culture and beliefs, and it helped me in developing a keen interest in understanding people, culture, perceptions, appreciating the differences and respecting nature and bio-diversity.
This encouraged me to take up Botany for my Graduation and thus started my journey of travelling. Botany excursions and college picnics, to some of the exotic destinations made me more of curious traveler and I started observing the local communities along with the natural elements. The unique cultures, traditions, attires, food, dance, music, handicrafts everything excited me. And thanks to my Nikon SLR camera, I could capture these moments to cherish forever. You can only imagine the number of camera rolls that I must have used then, and all the hard copy printed photo collections that I have with me.
I took up Post Graduation in Tourism and thus got grass root understanding, intricacies, challenges, and opportunities of Indian travel Industry and revealing complex demands of consumers.
Further I went to United Kingdom for my Master’s in International Tourism. It opened a whole new world of tourism in front of me. It was no longer about creating packages but creating new destinations that will generate new experiences to the travelers and empower the local communities. This masters study equipped me with international best practices and principles, diverse cultural sensitivity, and destination development in a sustainable manner.
On personal front, I met so many friends from different parts of the world and was privileged to be a part of their groups to get engaged and appreciate their languages, culture, social beliefs, festivals, cuisine etc.
I even traveled in different parts of UK and various other countries, which helped me explore new destinations and communities. So, travelling from big modern cities of
the world to tranquil villages, I observed that the world is indeed very lucid, beautiful, and inter-connected through congruent value systems. Each place has something similar and yet something new to seek and experience. Environment and people bind together to form a culture and this culture is reflected globally in diversified destinations, wilderness, monuments, food, attire, local myths and stories, rituals, and festivals.
After spending around 5 years studying and working in UK, I came back to India and started working with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). While working as a Marketing Manager, I had opportunities to lead and organize marketing events, exhibitions and meet stakeholders from all strata of society and tourism sectors. I traveled across India and deep interiors of Maharashtra and delved into new destinations and understood the different outlook of people towards tourism as an industry. I witnessed the impacts tourism was creating towards the local societies in terms of economy, culture, and environment.
Further I started working as a freelance “Tourism Research and Planning Consultant” and got several opportunities to diligently work on Government projects of destination planning. I can say that, we have no idea what treasure we hold in our surroundings. From natural resources to man made resources, there are unlimited possibilities for us to explore.
Every monument, every landscape, every village, every person has a story to tell. Every culture and traditions are based on the local myths, the geography, and the socio-belief systems prevalent in that region. Everything has a reason for its existence and these things need to be appreciated even if we don’t resonate with them at certain aspects.
With rapid urbanization, people are losing the old traditions, heritage monuments, historical evidence, age old rituals, ethnic recipes, traditional dressing styles and much more. People are cutting down forests to built new cities and thus declining our natural resources too. We are not only losing trees which are creating climate change but also the entire ecosystem which is made up of thousands of species of animals, marine life and micro-organisms.
And what is the best way to witness them and be a part of them and conserve them, other than Tourism! When more people wish to explore and experience the cultures, it encourages natives (the proud owners) to preserve and promote it for future generations to come. Thus, it generates employment in local communities and surrounding areas to provide adequate services for the people who come to visit the destinations.
Thus, I decided to bring all my travel experiences, my engagements with the native communities and my love for unique cultures together and offer them to passionate travelers who are in continuous urge to seek something more. I started my own travel agency by the name ‘Soulful Journees’.
Soulfull Journees offer well curated travel themes to discover the destinations like Cultural Tours, Architectural Tours, Wildlife Safaris, Tribal Tours and Rural Paths. The attempt has always been to offer my travelers unique experiences hence me and my team designed specialized tours such as Cycling tours, Photography tours and Yoga and Meditation retreats at some of the best locations close to nature.
We began working directly with the local communities for providing services like food, accommodation, tour guides, vehicles, etc. Thus, it reduced the spend leakage and helped in creating a multiplier effect. Also, the guests got chance to interact and contribute to the community directly and thus reducing the gap between the strata of the society. In case one wants to make it more educative , we also arrange for subject experts and multi-lingual guides , who help you with authentic information.
Like Helen Keller’s said “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves”.
With ‘Soulfull Journees’ our motto has been to create memories that bring a sense of delight and profound fulfillment to everybody’s soul.
To know more, visit Soulfull Journees website