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In Conversation With Tanuja Sud, Travel Photographer AndWriter

Nirmala Garimella

Tanuja Sud shares a passion for photography, traveling and writing.  We are happy to announce that Lokvani will be starting a bi-weekly column on her travel trips with tips and ideas for our readers.
I interviewed Tanuja for this article to introduce her before her column hits our pages in early October.

Do watch out for her column...The Savvy Traveller
Here is her story..

Please share with us your background

I was born & brought up in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The oldest of 4 siblings, I did my schooling at Loreto Convent & St. Bede's College, from where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology. I moved to California after my marriage & lived in the bay area for 10 years before moving to Massachusetts in 1996. I've lived in the Town of Bedford since 1999 with my husband, a tech entrepreneur, & our three children, all of whom have flown the coop now. Yes, I'm a very happy empty nester. 

In my free time, I love to read, dabble in photography, socialize, travel & volunteer when I can. 

 I'm a passionate supporter of women's rights & occasionally let loose on social media re: the current state of affairs in my adopted homeland. 

 How did you get interested in photography and what was your first camera?

I became interested in photography when I was going on a school trip in 7th grade and wanted to have some keepsake memories of the trip. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera & it wasn't easy buying one in my small hometown. After the trip, I hounded my mom & dad to buy me one & a couple years later, my uncle gifted me my very first camera, a Minolta point & shoot. I was over the moon & couldn't stop taking photos of my family & friends! That little camera started me on my photography journey. I started shooting on film & switched to digital in the late 90s. Today, I shoot with a Sony A7IV & I mainly do landscape & street photography. 

 Tell us more about your interest in travel? What does it mean to you?

 Back in the 70s & 80s when I was growing up, very few people traveled for leisure & traveling overseas was rare and reserved for businessmen or the rich. We didn't do weekends at the beach or the lake! Coming from a business family, my dad was always busy & never had time to take us on a vacation. Every other year during school vacations, we packed up & went to New Delhi to my uncle's house for a few weeks. My love affair with travel started when, at the age of 16, my dad finally took us on a proper vacation to Bombay ( now Mumbai) The sights & sounds, the energy of the city was contagious, the culture and language so different to mine. The small town girl in me was mesmerized so much so that I told my mom I would only marry someone from Bombay!

As a young girl, geography was a favorite subject & as I browsed my lesson books & atlas, I hoped that one day I'd be able to visit all these amazing countries I was reading about. I'm fortunate in that I have been able to visit some amazing countries & cities in the last 3 decades.

 Travel to me isn't just about ticking a place off of your bucket list or rushing from one city to the other. I like to spend time soaking in the vibe of a place, people watch and meander through side streets & neighborhoods tourists often neglect. One has to take time to do some research on your destination before you get there, be spontaneous & explore beyond what the guidebooks or travel blogs tell you. 

 You believe in sustainability and climate change? Share your thoughts

As you know, tourism is a major source of employment & income worldwide, especially for underdeveloped & developing countries. Sustainable tourism is defined as, "a country taking full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment & community." 
We're witnessing the devastating impact of over tourism on our cities & environment. Scientists have been raising the alarm on climate change, rising temperatures & what that will mean for our future.The latest numbers on greenhouse gas emissions isn't encouraging. An estimated 11% of greenhouse emissions are due to tourism & it's predicted to double in the next 2 decades. 

So what can we do? The trick for the traveler will be to learn about your carbon footprint. I know it's easier said than done. I've been paying close attention to how some very influential travel bloggers are tackling this issue & creating awareness among their thousands of followers on social media. I'm encouraged that the younger generation is taking this threat to our planet seriously. Every little change helps, & we must pledge to do our part to reduce & reverse the environmental damage that we are responsible for in the first place. 

Finally, We are excited that you will be writing a column for us. What can readers expect?

I'm so excited to be writing a travel column for Lokvani! I wanted to start a travel blog when blogging was becoming a thing, but instead started a travel related facebook group 13 years ago. What I noticed was that most people were looking for recommendations on how to plan a trip, where to stay, what to see & what to give a miss, transportation options, and The Savvy Traveler members were more than happy to help. We build a nice community of travel enthusiasts over the years.

 Readers can expect to read about my own travel experiences- places I've visited, future destinations on my list, etc. but also read articles on how to travel on a budget, solo travel for women, responsible travel etc. I want to touch on different topics while I take the readers on a fun journey around the world! 

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