Hello! I am Shubham (Shoebum) Mansingka. I’ve been a full time traveller for 5+ years now and work professionally as a travel writer and consultant. I hope my offbeat stories from lesser known places excite you to experience travel differently. I want to inspire you to make a difference through sustainable and responsible tourism. No hindrance should be too big when you think about travel.
I was born in Rajasthan and topped my way across schools to study Commerce & Economics in Symbiosis, Pune. After that I lived in Bombay for three years while completing a MBA from Welingkar in Finance. My parents were avid travellers (considering a traditional marwari household) and nothing made my mom happier than being on a carefree road-trip in the Himalayas. My friends had already started telling me on various weekend trips that I was meant to be a wanderer.
After my education, I went back home to the family business. In seven years that I worked there, our factories in a small village did fabulously well and the turnover quadrupled. The industries were awash with dust and I began having allergic troubles within a year of starting work. The doctors duly announced I had chronic asthma and that it wasn’t going away. Experiential and luxurious family vacations happened during this period, but I kept yearning for more.
In the meanwhile, I had my first solo trip to Ladakh within a year of joining the family business. It made me realise that I didn’t care for worldly materialistic possessions and had a natural flair for travel. I was enamoured by the simplicity and kindness of the mountain people. Next year, on a random trip I made my way around Kinnaur and Spiti for a month, happy to fill my lungs with clean mountain air. It was in Spiti that I realised that I am wired to life a life of a full time traveller.
On these trips, I noticed that people’s stories and experiences fascinated me. I was hooked to the myriad cultural and historical pleasures travel had to offer. Heritage walks, food explorations and local festivals held a special interest for me. A Nikon DSLR was bought on a whim in Singapore and I started experimenting with photography.
Back in the factories powerful chronic medication was prescribed and I had two brain scans due to asthma attacks in that torrid period. My asthma got unbearable by the seventh year. One fine day, I was shocked to google and find out that ‘medicines meant for fatal patients’ were the latest in my list of prescriptions.
I had never felt weaker in my entire life. I was 28 and was a slave to medicines every day, the side effects of which had caused havoc. My days passed in a trance due to the headlessness and breathlessness caused by asthma. I told myself, there are better ways of dying and took a decision that changed my life.
On 8th January, 2014 in a conservative Indian household, without telling anyone and armed with some sixteen thousand rupees I boarded a train to Delhi. I managed to travel for almost two months in that meagre amount recuperating in Rishikesh and then backpacking across the snowy Himalayas. I knew I would survive. I called my parents and told them I wasn’t coming home.
I have been on the road ever since. I have slow travelled my way across 24+ states in India and 4+ countries and endeavour to keep exploring this wonderful world in the years to come.
My Travel Style
I travel solo on a strict budget and prefer keeping my carbon footprint low by walking/using local transport/hitchhiking, to the extent possible. I prefer staying in homestays located in the midst of nature that enable me to live as a local. I try to use as much local help as possible, ‘the goodness of strangers’ as I like to call it. Fixed itineraries don’t appeal to me and I normally keep travel plans flexible. I travel responsibly; avoid drinking bottled water and carry all the disposable waste with me on my travels.
Among my memorable experiences (good & bad) are : Two grand winter trips to Ladakh; Slow travelling in Garhwal when I had a morbid experience and barely escaped alive (go ahead and read the blog entry if you want to know more). I have traipsed around Kumaon for over two months. It was a joy to experience the bountiful monsoons of Goa and parts of Karnataka. Himachal Pradesh (my favourite state!) has been my temporary residence numerous times while I have explored and worked from various places. A highlight of my travel life is the solo trek from Lahaul to Zanskar.
I am currently based in Jaipur, Rajasthan.