Whether you're looking for tips on budget travel, van life inspiration, or a culinary trip with an emphasis on meaningful travel—these 10 South Asian creators are worth following.
One reason we travel the world is to gain different perspectives on life and expose ourselves to varying cultures and ideas. Of course, thanks to social media, we can connect with inspiring creators across the globe with the swipe of a finger. As the travel industry continues to strive towards more diversity, it has never been more important to lift the voices of people of color and spotlight the incredible work they do. Here are 10 South Asian travel creators and bloggers that are inspiring us with their van lives, outdoor travels, and ongoing work to provide inspiration, recommendations, and representation in a predominantly white-dominated industry.
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The Eager Traveler
Preethi uses social media posts to highlight cultural differences and talk about her ethnicity as it relates to travel and the outdoors. Her first trip was to Kenya after she quit her first job in tech. She promised herself she’d travel to one international destination a year and in 2019, she hit 13 countries in one year. Her friends kept asking her to share her travel experiences, so she did just that. After she started contributing to a blog, she landed her first press trip and downloaded Instagram. Since then, she has been capturing beautiful moments in the outdoors, making space for people of color who like to travel, and sharing with her followers how you can get paid to travel.
Seemona is based out of New York City but has been to 99 countries. A Bangladeshi world traveler, she shares with her followers that Brown girls can live in luxury, too. You’ll find her in the most beautiful locations in every city or country wearing very Instagram-worthy gowns. If you’re interested in family travel, she’s got that covered too, as many of her trips are with her husband and daughter. For the majority of her travels, she worked a full-time job and maximized her time off.
The Brown Van Life
An Indian couple bringing diversity to the nomadic lifestyle through van life, Smriti and Kartik, along with their dog, Everest, kicked off their travels in 2020. They knew they were pursuing something out of the ordinary amongst their friends and family, and it showed when they first introduced the idea to their parents. As they involved their loved ones in what they were doing, they grew quite curious and excited for the couple. So, Smriti and Kartik created an Instagram account to set an example for other South Asians who may be interested in the nomad and van lifestyle. Currently, they are taking the Pan-American highway from Canada to Argentina. Follow them for the trip through the Americas, as well as ideas on what downsizing and working from your van looks like.
The Wild Indian Girl
Priya wanted to take the path less traveled, so in 2017 she quit her job and dropped out of school to model, travel the world, and build a van. She was out to create a life that fulfilled her but also scared her. Representation is important to Priya.
“Representation shows people that look like me that they can do this too,” says Priya. “When I wanted to quit my job and become an influencer/content creator, I couldn’t find a single woman that looked like me. I couldn’t show my parents, ‘well look at this girl, she looks just like me, she made it so I can too.’ Representation isn’t a voice for yourself, it’s a voice for the ones that can’t speak up. It’s a voice that’s an inspiration. I want to show Indian women that they don’t have to follow the norm of getting married young and having kids. That doing something wild is okay.“
Melissa had a mission to visit every single country in the world and she accomplished that in 2019 at the age of 34. In an influencer world, many creators are sponsored, but Melissa funds all of her trips herself. She caught the travel bug when she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and upon graduation, she started investing and picking up acting gigs to foot the bill. Visiting every country is no easy feat, she maximized her time in each destination Couchsurfing, meeting locals, and doing everything on a shoestring budget. If you follow her, you’ll get a rundown of her time in a specific country as well as a bit of a history lesson.
You don’t have to quit your job to travel. Aneesa Mohamed became a teacher abroad to fuel her love for travel. Aneesa is a loud and proud member of the desi diaspora. Hailing from South Africa but currently living in Qatar as a teacher abroad, she has used her African passport to teach in five different countries and plans to continue to travel to more countries. Her account creates space to discuss culture, psychology, racism, intersectional identities, and of course, ex-pat life.
Areesha is a Pakistani travel creator with over 100,000 followers and who has traveled to over 40 countries. Her beautifully curated feed captures the fun destinations she’s traveled to, bits and pieces of Pakistani culture and traditional outfits, and lots of food. She also creates content in both English and Urdu, sharing her culture and identity in many of her posts. Her vibrant personality and feed are worth the follow.
Indian resident, Sharanya, discovered travel was a passion worth pursuing and sharing with the world. Having traveled at a quite young age, Sharanya knew she loved to travel, but she discovered she really loved travel after a family vacation to Iceland. Soon enough, Truly Nomadly was born and on it, Sharanya shares life as a solo Indian female traveler who travels on a budget with the hopes to inspire others along the way.
Prachi and Harsh
These college sweethearts escaped the 9-5 to travel. Prachi and Harsh met in college and are both pharmacists but had no desire to work in the field upon graduation. They started traveling and creating content as a couple because they noticed a huge gap in the market. There aren’t as many Indian or South Asian couples who travel who are easy to spot, follow, or promote on social media and in marketing. They travel to all corners of India and also have a couple of group trips coming up if you’d like to travel with them.
Rani is the CEO and founder of Cheema’s travel, a boutique travel agency. Based in New York City, Rani launched a boutique travel agency specializing in luxury culinary travel and creating a safe space for all travelers. Rani—who is Puerto Rican and Punjabi—has lived in Bangladesh, Spain, and South Korea. After her travels, she decided to build a business that caters to all travelers with her love for food and meaningful travel.