What this website is all about

This website was created right as I started traveling in 2015. But when it began I did not have a good idea what to do with it.

I dreamed of traveling, writing, and being paid to do all that. As I started visiting other travel websites, I realized that being a travel blogger is hard, and the hard parts involve more than just the writing. I had to market, to make a Facebook page, be active on Instagram, and project a consistent image. I was interested in none of those things. Also, the image I have of myself is nowhere close to consistent.

So I decided to use this website as a showcase for my writing and my travels. Here you can expect a focus on longer form writing here. While I do mildly enjoy reading about the top ten things to do when you visit a place and understand how that’s exactly what many readers are looking for, that is not the kind of writing I enjoy. My focus is on longer pieces that mostly take shape as stories about a place or its people. I do try and include logistical details (getting to a place, where to stay, ..) about a place, but my major focus will be on the experience.

Why it’s called Hopscotch

Hopscotch is the name of a novel that I love. I bought this book after I was robbed in Buenos Aires, and fell in love with the narrative form. The writing jumps from story to philosophy to history and everything in between. The chapters are also arranged out of sequence for extra fun. If you haven’t read it, this is a book I strongly recommend!

It’s not just the book, however. I am not a good planner, and I don’t usually end up where I want to go. I like thinking of my travels as a game of hopscotch. I only know just before every move where I am going to go, and things are never in order.

About Pritam Sukumar (Me)

I’m just a guy, traveling around India and the world, trying to be a writer.

I studied for a decade to be an Aerospace Engineer, but then turned to Software Engineering when I ran out of funding before completing my PhD. I worked as an Android Developer for two years, when I had enough money to take the decision to quit. When people asked me why I was quitting, I would tell them I was seeking out three things: Peace, Authenticity, and Adventure.In retrospect, adventure was the easiest among the three. Authenticity is especially a challenge, given that what it means to me keeps changing as I keep working toward it. Peace comes and goes.

Reflections of Fitz Roy in Argentina
Reflections of Fitz Roy in Argentina Reflections of Fitz Roy in Argentina

After I quit my job in 2015, I traveled through Europe for three months. The highlight of those months was a 650 km long hike in France. After Europe, I went to Chile and Argentina in South America, which was eye-opening for me because of how friendly the people were, and how free (you might even say authentic) I felt.

My tent pitched somewhere in the French Alps
My tent pitched somewhere in the French Alps My tent pitched somewhere in the French Alps

In 2016, I started traveling through India, my country. It has been more in every way than I had imagined. The travel is both easier and harder. The people are both friendlier and harsher. The food is both tastier and more disappointing. I am also doing this trip on a motorcycle, which has always been a childhood dream of mine!

Perezos
Perezos My dear Perezosa, getting wet in the rain on my recent drive from Goa to Bengaluru

Some Travel Websites That I Like

When I started thinking about travelling I imagined a future where I would make money by writing about my travels, and started reading travel blogs in earnest. While the money-making future has yet to materialize, I discovered some websites with great writing, stories, and design. Here are some favourites that I still follow:

  • Legal Nomads: With a great look, a focus on longform writing and a love for food that shines in her writing, Jodi has built from the ground-up a place to get in-depth looks at the places, food, and people of the world. With needing to eat a strictly gluten-free diet and deal with chronic pain, Jodi really is proof of how far a love for travel will take you. In addition to all this, the website design of Legal Nomads is lovely and is one of the main inspirations for this website. I love her policy of no sponsored posts and no ads, and have included the same in my site too!
  • The Shooting Star: Another website with a focus on longer posts and the “niche of experiential travel” (as she puts it). Shivya is an Indian solo traveler and writes with flair about her travels around the globe.
  • A Little Adrift: One of the first websites I started reading, A Little Adrift gave me the confidence and a lot of practical advice to set out on my own trip. She even took her niece along for a year and schooled her! I can’t wait to try that with my nephew.
  • At the handlebars: This website chronicles the journeys and learnings of an Australian motorcyclist as he makes his way across the globe. His plain writing and beautiful photographs really do transport you to wherever he is. I loved reading about his ride through Pakistan (a ride that, as an Indian, I have almost no hope of doing 😔), and his photographs of his brief time in India. If you’re reading this, rider of At The Handlebars, I hope we go on a ride together some day.
  • Adventurous Kate and Nomadic Matt: What I consider “veteran” travel blogs (along with A Little Adrift above). These guys have probably been there and done that. Both give valuable advice and both are powerhouses as far as I’m concerned.

Some Site Policies

  • No Advertisements: I don’t to say *never*, but advertising is not part of the plan for my website. I have been annoyed by popup ads all over the internet, and have decided I don’t want to be on the side of the annoy-ers.This website is a place for me to tell stories about my travels and maybe help people who are looking for ideas. It is also a showcase for my writing.
  • Affiliate Links: I will occasionally link to products (most often books or gear) and if the link leads to Amazon, the link will probably be an affiliate link. What this means is that if you buy the product after clicking on the link, I will get paid. I will not link to products I have not used, and I will not write posts solely with the aim of making money from these links. In fact, after almost two years of writing on this website, I had not used a single affiliate link till I linked to the Hopscotch novel earlier on this page.
  • No Sponsored Posts: There will be no sponsored posts on this blog, because I don’t like doing them. I cannot find the balance between authenticity and justifying the deal to the sponsor that would allow me to write an honest post. Some bloggers do find this balance, and I admire them for it. On the other hand, I am irritated sometimes to read through a whole post, sensing that something is off (Why is this brand name mentioned so many times? Why does she keep talking about that phone camera? Why does this post sound so different from his other entries?) only to get to the end and see a disclaimer in fine print saying something to the effect of “This trip was sponsored by XYZ Accommodations”). They always add that all opinions are their own, but you can just tell that that’s just not true.