Hi there! I’m Astrid, a 24-year-old Belgian with a passion for travel, discovering new experiences and everything India-related.
Living in Belgium, explaining my passion for a country like India is always tricky. Because why would a young Western European girl, with no direct links to Asia as a whole, even be mildly triggered by this faraway land? To be honest, there is no straightforward reason for this. Ever since I was very young, I’ve been intrigued by other cultures and people with different habits than my own. I think the moment I saw a (very old) documentary about India and its culture at school (I must have gone to a pretty open-minded school back then) something sparked inside me.
I began researching India and have since then been known within my close group of friends as “that girl that knows a thing or two about India”. Mixed with the fact that my parents have always taken me on plenty of trips and my passion for dance (I’m also part of a professional Indian dance group), you have the perfect recipe for me as a young graduating teenager to go to university and study Indian languages & cultures. Yes, in one of the smallest countries in Europe we have a university that offers a full master program catering to crazy students like me, wanting an international career and up for the challenge to learn Hindi and Sanskrit. So in my third year, I finally got the opportunity to travel to the land of my passion and live there for 5 months.
My study time in India was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Living in a relatively small town, gave me the opportunity to experience the real India, away from tourist attractions. Of course, we also visited plenty of real touristy places but this mix taught me a lot about India and opened my eyes to a lot of the stereotypes that still persist today in Western media about India.
So, I decided to create a blog to show the people at home, what India is really like. During this very first attempt at blogging, I discovered my passion for online media and photography and never really stopped clicking and writing. My blog is my place where I try to convey a nuanced image of India and where I take my reader on a little trip each time I write a travel story. Of course, after my India adventure, I was really bitten by the wanderlust bug and started to take more trips to Vietnam and other parts of Europe.
For me, travelling does not need to be to the end of the world. Even visiting another city in my own country can surprise me! So although, after university, I got myself a full-time job with some professional dancing on the side, I still travel be it inside EU or outside. To use a cheesy quote, I travel on the journey called life.
So I invite you all to travel with me and discover where I, The Desi Panda, will go to on my next adventure. Stay tuned for my next post!