The travel that changed me: Jini Reddy

From trekking in Nepal to exploring Iran and Pakistan, author Jini Reddy regales us with tales of the travel that changed her

If ever there were an international woman of mystery, she’d likely be a lot like Jini Reddy. A British author and journalist, Reddy has lived in London, Montreal, Hong Kong, Provence and Tbilisi. 

Author Jini Reddy smiling

She has travelled to the Kalash Valleys in Pakistan under armed guard, completed the Annapurna Circuit on a whim and bedded down in a men’s hostel in the daunting city of Delhi.

As an author, Reddy has won a British Guild of Travel Writers Awards for her debut Wild Times and was recently named one of National Geographic’s Women of Impact. 

In her new book, Wanderland, Reddy combines nature writing, personal reflection and memoir to chart her search for the magical in the landscape. Here, she tells us about the travel that changed her.

Wanderland is a unique piece of travel writing. Who is it for?

Wanderland is about my search for magic in the landscape. I’d long been a travel writer and I’ve always been attracted to magic and mysticism. I was also deeply inspired by people from indigenous cultures who I’d met on my travels. They spoke of communion with the sentient forces of nature and I found this fascinating. I wanted to know if it might be possible for me, a regular person, to experience this kind of connection. 

I ended up on a quite unorthodox trail, across various landscapes in Britain, having unusual encounters and experiences. I’d say the book is for anyone with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, roaming and nature in a broad sense. 

I love fiction and so I tried to shape it as a story. It was also important to me that my book be accessible and relatable and have a sense of fun to it too. It doesn’t fit easily into a genre, but then I’ve never liked boxes! I certainly don’t feel I fit into any. 

As someone who finds solace in nature, how are you coping with lockdown?

I’m fortunate in that I have a garden and a quiet woods at the end of my street. Every morning I go for a walk there, and sometimes I’m walking off my anxiety, sometimes just savouring this particularly intense spring we’re having. 

Author Jini Reddy rides a bike
Jini Reddy Jini Reddy gets on her bike

I have a bike too which helps and I live in a very green borough. But not everyone has a garden or woods, or access to parkland. Experiencing lockdown from a tower block requires a whole other level of resilience.

You’ve said that you feel welcome in the outdoors, but also recognise that here are barriers for working-class people and people of colour. Why is it important to get into nature?

I think the barriers are often rooted in socio-economic factors. And we have to consider the history of land ownership in the countryside – it’s predominantly white, isn’t it? All of these things have an impact and shape perceptions of places, and of the welcome you may receive. 

I was a travel writer, so I’m used to travelling to new places and feeling like an outsider, and being okay with that. At times though, in the UK, my birthplace, I have felt hyper-visible and uncomfortable. But this wouldn’t ever stop me from exploring. And nature doesn’t judge, you know? The relationship between you and nature, or the landscape around you is a deeply personal thing.

I think we need to get fresh air into our lungs. Being outdoors gives you a new perspective and this is good for mental health. Coasts, rivers, mountains, parks and meadows are beautiful places to hang out. Our souls need beauty. I think it’s all too easy in the modern world to forget that we humans are a part of nature.

Let’s turn to the travel that changed you. What region impacted you most? 

In terms of travel that genuinely changed me, it would have to be my first big trip to Asia. I was in my 20s and I left a good job in publishing to go and volunteer in Nepal. I had very vague plans, no credit card, £500, no phone and no place to stay. The friend of the friend who I thought would collect me at the airport was nowhere to be found. The first 24 hours were a shock to my system, and I grew up, fast! 

The next day I consulted the oracle (my Lonely Planet guide) and decided I’d hike the Annapurna Circuit, a 21-day trek, which crosses over a 5,500m (18,044ft) mountain pass, one of the highest in Nepal. Alone, never having done more than a hike in the Peak District.

Views on the Annapurna Circuit
Zzvet/Shutterstock Views on the Annapurna Circuit

Fortunately, I went to a lecture on altitude sickness and realised I’d be out of my depth. Serendipitously, that same day, I met a guy from Yorkshire and we ended up hiking together. Crossing that pass, the Thorung La, was the hardest thing I have ever done, physically speaking, in my entire life.

[In terms of how it changed me], I developed a greater confidence in my ability to travel alone in unfamiliar far-flung settings, and to look after myself. 

I think Iran also had a big impact on me. My experience was so much at odds with everything I’d read in the press. Iranians are so warm, so poetic, so passionate about life! I loved the rural landscapes and the cities I travelled in. I was completely charmed. I really feel for the Iranians who are so life loving, and yet live with the restrictions that they do. 

A trip to Iran had a great impact on Jini Reddy
Anujak Jaimook/Shutterstock Iran left a lasting impression on Reddy

I had the same feeling in Pakistan. An extraordinarily beautiful country full of wonderful, warm-hearted people. I visited the Kalash Valleys and on that occasion had an armed escort, consisting of four bodyguards with Kalasnikovs as the Taliban had been known to pass through the area. One, I recall, pulled out a tattered picture of Princess Diana. Apparently she’d gone to his village and so they’d renamed the village ‘Diana’ in her honour. 

What trip would you like to repeat? 

I’d love to return to Namibia. It was a real lesson in the power of raw, wild nature. It was humbling. I’d love to see a group of inner-city kids in that setting; to see the impact it might have on their outlook on life.

There was one place close to the border with Angola – I’d flown in with a pilot on a tiny aircraft – and when we landed all I could see for miles and miles were these undulating, peachy sands. And no humans. I thought I was hallucinating.

Do you still have a dream destination you haven’t seen?

I’d love to get to the Faroe Islands or Finland, or Canada’s Yukon or Northwest Territories. I’m quite attracted to the north these days!

puffins relax on Mykines, Faroe Islands
Atlas & Boots The Faroe Islands are at the top of Reddy’s to-see list

To guidebook or not to guidebook?

Oh, I think guidebooks are great. I just wouldn’t follow them to the letter! I recommend Bradt. And not just because they published my first book, Wild Times. The founder, Hilary Bradt, is a very interesting woman.

Are you a planner or see-how-we-goer?

A bit of both. These days I like to know where I’m staying, but I don’t have tick boxes of things to see. I’m more interested in connecting with a place on a deeper and more magical level.

I’ll set an intention and send out the thought before I set off, that I’m there to honour the spirit of whatever place I’m in. It works for me – there are always moments of pure enchantment when I travel with this mindset.

Hotel or hostel (or camping)?

I prefer Airbnb and independently owned eco-lodges, cottages or retreats. I’ve done my share of camping, but these days lugging gear around doesn’t appeal. I’ve stayed in the most spartan hostels in India; once, the only place I could find was a bed in a men’s hostel in Delhi. Not an experience I’d like to repeat. 

I’ve stayed in incredibly glamorous, even palatial accommodation too, and really enjoyed it! But I don’t need it. I like to stay in places where care for the environment and community are part of the ethos.

What has been your number one travel experience?

This is VERY difficult. Nigh impossible. Namibia springs to mind. I loved those vast, rugged landscapes, the earthy colours. It’s just surreally beautiful and pushes all thoughts out of your head.

We have to ask: you’ve appeared naked in Guardian Travel. How?

I was on a solo nature quest in the Pyrenees. I was fasting and wild camping for five days on a mountain peak. It was sweltering hot, the height of summer. There was no one around and I thought, why am I even bothering with clothes? So I took a picture of myself with a self-timer on my camera. (I didn’t have my phone with me. I’d relinquished it to the guide who’d walked me up here.) 

I did a piece for the Metro and that was the photo they ran. Five years later and here we are in lockdown, and The Guardian was looking for isolation-travel themed pieces and so I suggested my Pyrenees tale. I literally had the one photo: the naked one!

Finally, why travel?

It’s in my DNA. My father was a keen traveller. He and my mother have lived in a few countries, so I must have inherited the gene. It has always felt second nature to me. Nowadays, I’m keen to explore closer to home, not just because of my carbon footprint, but because it’s what is pulling me now.

Robert Macfarlane describes Wanderland as ‘a witty, gentle, original and very modern quest for the magical (not the mythical) in Britain’s landscape, which both made me laugh and moved me.’ Wanderland is out in hardback now.

Lead image: Rapitpunt/Shutterstock

Source link

187 Replies to “The travel that changed me: Jini Reddy”

  1. Trusted online pharmacy reviews Enlargement Vibrate of Toxins Medications (ACOG) has had its absorption on the pancreas of gestational hypertension and ed pills online as accurately as basal insulin in rigid elevations; the two biologic therapies were excluded cheap cialis online canadian drugstore the Dilatation sympathetic of Lupus Nephritis. Basjln dewkbm

  2. Around canada online chemist’s shop into a record where she be compelled use herself, up period circulation-to-face with the connected and renal replacement therapy himselfРІ GOP Apprehension Dan Crenshaw Crystalloids Cradle РІSNLРІ Modifiers Him In requital for Distinct Perspicacity In Midwest. cialis 20mg tablets Ylbaiq igbpuq

  3. I simply desired to appreciate you again. I’m not certain the things I might have made to happen in the absence of the entire ways contributed by you regarding this area of interest. It has been a very troublesome case for me personally, however , witnessing a professional fashion you solved the issue took me to cry with fulfillment. I’m just thankful for the advice and then pray you realize what an amazing job you happen to be doing training some other people via your site. I am certain you haven’t encountered any of us.

  4. I and also my friends were found to be reading the excellent helpful hints on your web blog while unexpectedly I got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web blog owner for them. All of the ladies appeared to be for this reason excited to read through all of them and have now very much been enjoying those things. Many thanks for turning out to be very kind and also for using certain incredible subject areas millions of individuals are really desirous to be informed on. My personal honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.

  5. I am writing to make you understand what a perfect experience our child obtained browsing your site. She learned several details, most notably what it is like to possess a marvelous teaching spirit to let many people clearly gain knowledge of selected grueling topics. You truly did more than my expected results. Thanks for giving these warm and friendly, dependable, educational and easy tips about this topic to Julie.

  6. I intended to create you this tiny observation to say thanks yet again considering the extraordinary tricks you’ve featured here. It is so tremendously generous with you to grant publicly all some people could have sold for an electronic book to help make some dough on their own, particularly given that you could have tried it in the event you decided. These techniques additionally served like a great way to recognize that some people have the same dream just like my personal own to understand many more related to this matter. I’m sure there are lots of more enjoyable instances in the future for individuals who look over your blog post.

  7. I wish to express thanks to the writer for rescuing me from this particular problem. Just after researching throughout the world wide web and finding techniques which were not pleasant, I thought my life was gone. Living without the answers to the problems you’ve solved through your main short post is a serious case, and the ones that might have adversely damaged my entire career if I had not discovered the website. Your own personal competence and kindness in controlling everything was excellent. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a thing like this. I can at this moment relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for your high quality and results-oriented guide. I won’t be reluctant to suggest the sites to any individual who should receive tips about this topic.

  8. I really wanted to write a brief message in order to say thanks to you for all of the nice ways you are giving out on this site. My time-consuming internet research has at the end been honored with good quality concept to go over with my relatives. I would assume that most of us visitors are really blessed to live in a fine website with very many lovely individuals with beneficial methods. I feel really grateful to have discovered your entire weblog and look forward to plenty of more cool minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for everything.

  9. I am only commenting to make you understand what a fabulous discovery my wife’s girl had viewing your webblog. She came to understand so many issues, most notably how it is like to possess an ideal coaching character to get many others without problems master selected extremely tough subject areas. You actually did more than our own desires. Thank you for displaying the interesting, healthy, informative and in addition unique tips about your topic to Sandra.

  10. I in addition to my guys were actually following the excellent hints from your web site and then the sudden I got an awful feeling I never expressed respect to the blog owner for those techniques. All the young boys became totally passionate to read all of them and have now really been loving them. We appreciate you indeed being really helpful and then for settling on this kind of outstanding subjects millions of individuals are really wanting to be informed on. Our honest regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  11. I am also writing to make you know what a brilliant encounter my wife’s girl went through reading through your web site. She learned some pieces, which included what it’s like to have an amazing helping heart to get the rest clearly master specified complex subject matter. You really exceeded visitors’ expected results. Many thanks for imparting these interesting, trusted, edifying as well as unique tips about the topic to Gloria.

  12. My wife and i ended up being quite glad when Peter could conclude his research using the ideas he made from your web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just always be making a gift of points many people may have been making money from. And now we grasp we have the blog owner to thank for that. The explanations you’ve made, the simple blog menu, the friendships you will aid to promote – it is most extraordinary, and it’s really helping our son in addition to our family consider that the content is awesome, which is certainly particularly pressing. Many thanks for everything!

  13. I precisely wanted to thank you so much once more. I am not sure what I would have handled without the entire concepts documented by you relating to my field. This has been a very distressing circumstance for me personally, but finding out the professional fashion you managed the issue forced me to leap for contentment. I am just grateful for your information as well as expect you find out what a powerful job you are providing instructing many others with the aid of your webblog. I’m certain you have never come across all of us.

  14. I simply needed to thank you very much yet again. I am not sure the things that I would’ve implemented without the type of creative ideas contributed by you on this subject matter. It truly was a very frustrating setting in my view, nevertheless taking a look at your specialized avenue you processed the issue made me to cry with contentment. I am just thankful for your service and wish you realize what a great job your are undertaking training many others by way of your websites. Probably you haven’t got to know all of us.

  15. I have to get across my love for your generosity supporting those individuals that should have guidance on your subject. Your special commitment to getting the message across appears to be extraordinarily productive and has regularly enabled those much like me to reach their dreams. This warm and friendly guide signifies so much a person like me and additionally to my mates. Thanks a ton; from everyone of us.

  16. Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extremely marvellous opportunity to read in detail from here. It really is very kind and as well , packed with amusement for me and my office friends to visit your blog a minimum of three times in 7 days to read the fresh guides you have. Of course, I’m so certainly happy concerning the attractive methods served by you. Selected 3 areas on this page are particularly the most efficient I have had.

  17. Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily breathtaking chance to read critical reviews from this web site. It is often so superb and jam-packed with a great time for me and my office mates to visit your website at a minimum three times every week to read the new issues you have got. Not to mention, I am just actually pleased considering the unique points you give. Certain 2 points in this posting are in fact the most efficient we have ever had.

  18. I together with my friends were found to be reviewing the great tips and tricks from the website then before long got a horrible feeling I had not thanked you for those tips. The ladies are actually joyful to learn all of them and now have undoubtedly been having fun with them. Thanks for simply being so thoughtful as well as for pick out this kind of notable guides most people are really desperate to be aware of. My very own sincere apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.

  19. I wanted to post a brief remark to be able to thank you for all the stunning guides you are sharing on this website. My prolonged internet research has at the end been recognized with good quality suggestions to exchange with my best friends. I ‘d express that many of us site visitors actually are definitely lucky to exist in a fabulous site with so many marvellous people with beneficial suggestions. I feel very happy to have come across the web site and look forward to so many more entertaining moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for everything.

  20. I have to express some appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this type of challenge. As a result of searching throughout the online world and finding tips which are not pleasant, I was thinking my entire life was over. Being alive minus the approaches to the difficulties you’ve solved by means of your entire website is a critical case, as well as ones which might have in a negative way damaged my career if I hadn’t discovered your web site. Your personal expertise and kindness in maneuvering almost everything was vital. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for this reliable and amazing help. I will not hesitate to endorse your web sites to anybody who would need guidance on this matter.

  21. I as well as my pals were found to be following the excellent hints located on the website and then unexpectedly got an awful suspicion I had not thanked the site owner for those secrets. These women were definitely as a consequence passionate to study all of them and already have simply been loving these things. Appreciate your getting indeed accommodating as well as for deciding on variety of extraordinary information millions of individuals are really wanting to discover. My sincere regret for not saying thanks to earlier.

  22. I want to voice my affection for your kind-heartedness for people that must have help on this particular concept. Your real dedication to getting the solution all over became amazingly insightful and have without exception made men and women much like me to get to their goals. Your new informative information implies a great deal to me and a whole lot more to my office workers. Thank you; from each one of us.

  23. I needed to send you one bit of remark so as to thank you again just for the incredible tricks you’ve shared on this page. This is so surprisingly open-handed with people like you to provide publicly just what a number of people could possibly have sold as an ebook in order to make some cash for their own end, primarily since you could have tried it in the event you decided. These principles as well worked like a easy way to comprehend other people online have the same fervor the same as my personal own to know whole lot more with respect to this condition. I know there are some more enjoyable opportunities in the future for many who looked over your blog.

  24. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very terrific chance to read in detail from here. It’s usually so great and also packed with a great time for me personally and my office fellow workers to search your site not less than 3 times every week to find out the newest tips you have. Not to mention, I am usually impressed concerning the very good creative ideas you give. Some 2 areas in this posting are ultimately the most beneficial we have all had.

  25. Needed to draft you that very little observation to be able to say thanks once again relating to the stunning methods you have discussed at this time. It has been so unbelievably generous with you giving unreservedly all some people would’ve offered as an electronic book to get some dough for their own end, mostly since you could have tried it in case you wanted. These advice also worked to become fantastic way to know that someone else have the identical fervor like mine to find out great deal more with regards to this condition. I am certain there are a lot more enjoyable moments ahead for people who looked at your blog.

  26. I’m also writing to make you be aware of of the perfect discovery my cousin’s daughter encountered reading through your web site. She learned too many issues, including how it is like to have a wonderful teaching heart to let other individuals easily thoroughly grasp a number of very confusing topics. You actually did more than our expected results. Thanks for providing these practical, trustworthy, explanatory and in addition easy thoughts on this topic to Evelyn.

  27. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very splendid chance to read articles and blog posts from this blog. It can be so amazing and as well , jam-packed with amusement for me and my office colleagues to search your web site really three times a week to learn the new issues you have. And definitely, I am just at all times satisfied with the excellent advice served by you. Selected two ideas in this article are surely the most beneficial we’ve had.

  28. I’m writing to make you be aware of of the amazing encounter our girl developed using yuor web blog. She came to find a lot of things, not to mention what it is like to have an awesome teaching spirit to make the mediocre ones just fully understand selected hard to do matters. You really did more than people’s expected results. Thanks for delivering the informative, trusted, explanatory and as well as unique tips about this topic to Mary.

  29. I simply desired to thank you very much all over again. I am not sure the things I could possibly have handled in the absence of the type of tips revealed by you over such a industry. It was before an absolute fearsome case in my circumstances, nevertheless discovering the professional avenue you solved it took me to jump for contentment. Extremely happy for the assistance and even pray you know what an amazing job your are putting in educating people today thru your websites. I am sure you have never got to know all of us.

  30. I not to mention my friends happened to be reviewing the great solutions from your web page while all of a sudden got a horrible feeling I never expressed respect to the website owner for those techniques. Most of the women came warmed to study them and already have seriously been loving those things. I appreciate you for getting quite accommodating and for pick out this sort of nice tips most people are really wanting to understand about. My honest regret for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  31. I just wanted to type a small note to appreciate you for these fantastic tactics you are posting at this website. My incredibly long internet lookup has at the end been compensated with really good information to write about with my co-workers. I ‘d assume that many of us visitors are undeniably blessed to exist in a good community with very many awesome professionals with insightful plans. I feel very lucky to have encountered your entire site and look forward to plenty of more enjoyable moments reading here. Thank you again for everything.

  32. I wish to show thanks to you for bailing me out of this incident. As a result of exploring through the world-wide-web and getting things which were not powerful, I assumed my life was done. Existing minus the solutions to the issues you’ve sorted out by means of your write-up is a critical case, and the kind that would have negatively affected my entire career if I hadn’t come across the blog. Your own training and kindness in playing with all the details was very useful. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a step like this. I can now relish my future. Thanks very much for the impressive and amazing guide. I will not be reluctant to suggest the website to any individual who needs recommendations on this problem.

  33. I really wanted to make a brief message in order to express gratitude to you for all of the splendid hints you are posting at this site. My incredibly long internet lookup has finally been honored with good quality know-how to exchange with my family members. I ‘d express that many of us readers are undeniably lucky to live in a perfect site with many lovely people with very beneficial solutions. I feel quite lucky to have encountered the web pages and look forward to really more cool times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  34. I and also my guys came looking through the great tips and hints from your web blog while quickly I got a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to the website owner for those secrets. All the people became so joyful to read through them and already have seriously been using these things. Thanks for really being quite kind and then for opting for certain very good resources millions of individuals are really eager to know about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  35. I intended to write you the little bit of remark just to say thank you over again with the fantastic things you’ve provided here. It’s simply wonderfully generous of you to deliver easily what exactly numerous people might have distributed for an ebook to earn some profit for themselves, particularly considering the fact that you could have tried it in the event you considered necessary. Those strategies likewise worked like a fantastic way to be aware that the rest have the identical eagerness really like mine to learn a good deal more with regards to this matter. Certainly there are a lot more enjoyable moments ahead for those who start reading your blog.

  36. My spouse and i felt really relieved when Louis could do his survey through the entire ideas he discovered from your weblog. It is now and again perplexing to simply be giving out guides which often some others have been selling. Therefore we discover we have got the writer to be grateful to because of that. Those illustrations you made, the easy site menu, the friendships you aid to instill – it is all fabulous, and it’s aiding our son in addition to our family reason why that subject is excellent, which is certainly truly fundamental. Many thanks for all!

  37. I have to voice my gratitude for your generosity giving support to individuals who absolutely need assistance with this particular content. Your special dedication to passing the solution along had been pretty invaluable and have encouraged employees much like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your entire useful tips and hints denotes a whole lot a person like me and especially to my mates. Regards; from everyone of us.

  38. I wanted to develop a comment to be able to appreciate you for the wonderful techniques you are posting at this website. My considerable internet research has at the end been recognized with beneficial details to share with my neighbours. I would tell you that we site visitors are undoubtedly fortunate to dwell in a decent community with many lovely individuals with useful advice. I feel very much privileged to have encountered the web page and look forward to many more excellent minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once more for everything.

  39. My spouse and i felt so cheerful when Emmanuel could deal with his research while using the ideas he discovered while using the site. It is now and again perplexing to just be releasing tactics which men and women might have been selling. Therefore we take into account we now have the writer to thank for this. The most important illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward website menu, the relationships you make it possible to promote – it is many powerful, and it is helping our son in addition to us recognize that that subject matter is fun, and that’s highly important. Thank you for all the pieces!

  40. Thanks for your own hard work on this blog. Betty delights in participating in internet research and it’s really simple to grasp why. Most of us learn all of the lively medium you convey powerful tricks via this web blog and in addition encourage contribution from some others about this theme and our daughter is in fact understanding a lot. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are doing a remarkable job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *