I’m Jitaditya Narzary. I am the founder of Travelling Slacker. It started as a travel blog, but it intends to be a bit more than that. It focuses on Indian Himalayan states as well as the frontiers of Northeast India. Personally, I am not averse to other areas and I have been to most parts of India but the primary focus remains on the aforementioned regions.
Although I have been through every conceivable drudgery of conservative Indian middle-class life including never-ending formal education, entrance exams, and soporific corporate jobs, I finally found my calling in mindless solo meandering and meticulous documentation of underrated places.
How and why did I begin?
Back in the summer of 2010, I finally took a break from my job as well as my eventless life and went for my first Himalayan trek. I was doing it solo but travelling solo was not trendy back then, at least in India. Nevertheless, as an introvert and a near misanthrope, it came naturally to me. During this trip, I also realized that beyond the usual cliched tourist spots, most great places in India lack good documentation. Especially for solo backpackers and budget travellers, useful information was in short supply. So, I thought I could do better than the existing players.
I took my time. For the first time in my life, I had some sort of a goal and I wanted to do it professionally with a long-term vision. Finally, I launched this website in 2011. Initially, it was a slow process. I still had a parallel job and was not travelling as much as I could. However, since the end of 2013, I have been doing this fulltime and have no intention of going back to that life.
You can still see my first ever post in this blog that I have kept unaltered.
You may want to read my narcissistic post recounting the journey since 2011.
Do I Travel Responsibly?
If you have been observant enough, you must have noticed that “responsible travel” or “sustainable travel” has become trendy nowadays. The problem with anything becoming trendy is that people tend to use them without realizing what it means. So, I want to make it clear what I think about such issues.
As a principle, I will always be a backpacker who travels on a budget. Maybe someday I will have the resources to do more to give back to these regions that saved me from a quarter-life crisis back then. Nevertheless, here are a few things I do and encourage my readers to do as a principle,
Go Local: Book your services directly with local operators as far as possible. This is the best way of ensuring that the local communities benefit from tourism, which makes it more sustainable. In that sense, a local homestay is always preferable instead of a mainstream hotel chain.
Go Easy With Your Haggling: Bargaining for a lower rate is nothing new in India. However, be respectful and reasonable while doing so and learn to accept it when someone refuses. Even I travel on a budget but I usually just move on if someone quotes a higher rate than what I can afford.
Boycott Begpacking: There is an even more horrific trend nowadays where people travel for free by begging from locals and then also boast about it on their SM channels to build their cloud. This is as perverted as it gets. There is no reason for the locals to maintain tourist facilities if they do not benefit from it.
Ask Before Photographing People: Clicking close portraits of locals is not something everyone likes. Be respectful and ask for permission before clicking when you visit a village or a religious place.
Avoid Littering & Plucking: This should be obvious but many do not seem to realize it. Cut down the use of single-use plastic items as far as possible, don’t litter and don’t pluck flowers and fruits from orchards. And please stop demanding that 2-minutes instant noodle in the hills. I don’t know who started this trend but you can find much better stuff if you just do a bit of research and learn about local cuisine.
Give Back to the Society: If possible, try to give back to society by helping the locals living in remote areas. This can be done in more ways than one. It is not possible for everyone to open an NGO and clean up the hills but even if you help a local business to find more exposure, do it.
Have I ever got published elsewhere?
My publications include Mint, Discover India, Gestalten, Arre, Traveller Trails Magazine, Outlook Traveller Gateways, Free Press Journal Newspaper, Terrascape Magazine, Indiatimes, WWF Calendar, and Discover India’s North East Magazine, Cox and Kings Blog, among others.
Check this page for some of the published work. Although I do not update it regularly due to my characteristic procrastination.
I have also recently published a book, which is a guidebook in Arunachal Pradesh, available both as ebook and paperback.
What kind of traffic does Travelling Slacker receive?
Nowadays I get around 40000-50000 pageviews every month, 80% of it being organic search traffic from Google.
Do I Teach or Guide About Blogging?
While I do not have any specific program, I have guided various youngsters over the years. I also have an eBook on Self-Reliant Blogging that discusses the basics of WordPress, SEO, and Monetization.
Do I work with others?
I am always open to ideas. I usually do not post awkward selfies with products on Instagram or write endless posts about one luxury property. However, if you have a more exciting proposition that combines interesting explorations with professional writing and SEO, feel free to get in touch.
How does one contact me?
For any kind of brickbats, queries, and collaborations, mail me at [email protected]
You can also mail me if you want to get my Media Kit and web analytics details.
Do I have any other website?
I have started another website dedicated to Northeast India called Periplus Northeast.