This Journo-Turned-Entrepreneur Is Taking Women Places
Twenty six years of experience in journalism. 26 years of travelling to different countries for work. 26 years of building a career. One day, this lady decided to leave her 26-year-old career and start from the scratch. Absolute scratch.
Vidya Deshpande started Soul Purpose Travels along with her friend, Mimi, in 2012. Together, they organise experiential travel holidays for women only. Their holidays are unique with adventures and surprises thrown in here and there. From wildlife safaris and trekking to food and culture, they have it all covered.
Vidya says the idea was to create a travel group which lets women come out of their homes to enjoy a vacation without any family baggage. The trips are economical and are customised to the likings of the group. Vidya, being an avid traveller, makes sure she has visited the place before she takes her group along. Visiting places like Ran of Kutch, Rajasthan, Leh, Beas and many other exciting places, the group is just back from a trip to Jordan!
Vidya faced many challenges when she started out, but one of the challenges which bothered the most was convincing people to choose her over other big travel brands.
“Establishing yourself is a big problem. Then there are people who always doubt you. Who is this person? Does she know what she is doing? How will she take us? Are we going to be safe? Are we going to stay in a good hotel? All these questions come up especially when it has to do with women.”
With experiential travelling growing at a fast pace and more and more people opting to walk the road less travelled, it has become important to separate yourself from the clutter and Vidya makes sure her group has all the fun.
Vidya doesn’t want the cookie cutter kind of trips which her big competitors offer. Though she makes sure someone visiting Leh will get to see the Pangong lake, she likes to do it a little differently. She gets her girl gang to pitch tents and stay the night at Pangong!
Though travelling all over the world, doing adventurous stuff and meeting new people all the time may sound so cool for us, the journalist-turned-entrepreneur says that when she goes on a trip, it is more like work.
“You need to make sure that the whole trip goes seamlessly. There is a lot of tension as you are always thinking somebody’s passports shouldn’t get lost or someone’s wallet shouldn’t get stolen. So these are the things which worry you throughout. Recently, I had a huge group of American women coming to India. I was worried that somebody shouldn’t molest them or no untoward incident should happen. So I am working! Though I may look like I am having a lot of fun in the pictures, but for me, it is a lot of tension, it is a lot of workload.”
Vidya Deshpande is also a finalist at the Tipping Point 1.0 competition taking place in Delhi. She realises the importance of mentorship and at the competition she will undergo training and mentorship from industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors.