Find Out Why This Entrepreneur Started A Women-Only Travel Website
As a daughter of both Army Officers, I have had the privilege of growing up across the country and enjoying the diversity that our country has to offer. Over the years, I learnt and appreciated slipping into a new place and making it my own.
I graduated as a computer science engineer, worked as a banker post my MBA and then went on to head a corporate marketing team for an IT company before I started WanderingJane in 2016.
While growing up, I had no particular role model but I drew a lot of inspiration from my family and the people around me, I still continue to do so. My dad is a mountaineer and an adventurer; my mother, a doctor and perhaps one of the most independent, strong women I have known. My husband is a pilot who brings in so much passion into his daily work. My sister is an athlete and a mountaineer. My family has always supported me and motivated me to do better.
To Travel Is To Be Alive
Needless to say, the travel bug bit me fairly early in life and travelling became a larger part of my life. To travel is to be more aware, not only about the place or the destination but I think it heightens your self-awareness as well. Most of my travels revolve around road trips, hikes, scuba dives and indulging in some new experience. One meets people from all walks of life and from all over the country, who inspire you and push you to do better and follow something that you are passionate about.
Travel, to me, is synonymous with freedom, confidence, learning, passion, fun, adventure and empowerment.
It certainly is the most enriching experience for one. I’m passionate about empowering women and making travel safer for them. My startup aims to establish an ecosystem that makes women maximize their travel experience and, for some, look at travelling as a career. I wish to enable and encourage more and more women to travel.
The Idea Of WanderingJane
My co-founder, Akshat, and I love travelling and our travels are more about experiencing the local activities, lifestyle and flavours. Right from dives to hikes to surfing retreats, we love an offbeat travel plan. While I travelled solo, there was a lot of time spent in terms of planning, understanding the place, finding reliable operators etc. More often than not, the picture shown never matched the reality. Moreover, after certain days of travel, one longed for like-minded company, even better if they are strangers but just someone who shares common interests. We came across many solo-women travellers but seldom anyone from India. A lot of women travellers feared travelling within India.
From times immemorial women have been wanderers and explorers. It is only recently that it has become tough for women to travel solo and be safe. As compared to men, there are very few women in the travel industry.
Women are not as independent in making their decision to travel, they still seek permission from their families and have to justify the need to travel and spend on themselves.
With WanderingJane, we have set upon a path to ensure that women can travel without any hesitation and have that extra bit of support and safety which is required to encourage them to travel solo.
WanderingJane has a network of like-minded partners who are enthusiastic travellers themselves and are willing to accompany/guide women travellers in their locales. These partners are hand-picked, have a complete know-how of the destination and are masters of their activity. They have the best knowledge and resources to ensure safety and well-being.
The Journey & The Destination
In the last one and half years, we have successfully encouraged and enabled a lot of women to travel and even travel solo. The feeling of making a difference in someone’s life is far more satisfying than any big pay cheque. The journey till now has been phenomenal and full of excitement.
I'd like to share the learnings from my travel and through WanderingJane that have been life-changing. I’m listing four out of the many:
1. Humility - A hot meal in a cold dessert, a perfect landing when you skydive, coming up-close and personal with a turtle, staring at shooting stars in the middle of nowhere, finding your way back on a lost trail, feeling free when you are in the wild - besides being a few of my favourite things, they are also all those things that will leave you feeling forever humble.
2. Your journey is more important than the destination - Life is better when you bring passion into everything you do.
3. Self-belief and renewal - Nothing is more powerful than self-belief. Faith in oneself helps one to build courage and drives one to follow their passion.
4. Women, not diamonds, are women’s best friends - I have seen women seek out and help fellow female travellers during hikes, surfing lessons or even yoga sessions. All my women-only trips have been full of learnings, sharing endless stories, empowering each other and truly having each other’s back.
This personal narrative is written by Garima Pande, Co-Founder of WanderingJane. Her story is a part of our ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ series. Garima was our guest moderator for the Travel community wherein she helped answer the questions by community members, shared her experiences and her inspiring journey. Come, be a part of the SHEROES community and connect with like-minded women.
S*****Same question how to make career in travel
A*****How we can make career in travel? Please guide.
S*****Amazing!! I was searching for something like this😊
C*****You have done such a great work! I really appreciate for all your doings,hope women get inspired through and grab it to live their dreams.