Most women of my age are married, have babies, and are striving hard to strike a perfect balance between their own aspirations and the world’s expectations. I, Kamiya Jani, am no different.
I have been married for 8 years with a 5-year old daughter. But ever since my childhood, I have had this strong desire to see this beautiful world, every nook & corner that nature has created, and see how people live differently in different parts of the world. As I grew older, I tried to fit into the societal and cultural norms, but to be honest, I have had a hard time making peace with my heart. The feeling was so intense that I kept attracting such instances in my life that brought me closer to my dream.
I have been working since I was 21, got married at 24, had a baby at 27, and yet I have managed to travel to more than 35 countries. I’ll tell you how!
Wanderlust has been genetic to me. My father is a very passionate traveler. Every weekend, he would pack us all up (me and my two siblings) in a Maruti 800 to explore the world outside of our house. The experience taught me that you don’t need big bucks to see the world, you just need to have a strong desire.
Shit happens and I started working in media as a feature writer, producer & reporter. I couldn’t travel as often with my parents but they continued the journey with our family friends. Life had other plans for me. One year into the job and a colleague who had to travel to Malaysia to cover the F1 race at Sepang Circuit fell sick. I was asked to fill in.
I couldn’t even pretend to be upset about my sick colleague. I was that excited. The trip was for free, everything. I saw many other eminent travel journalists around me who looked comfortable in their skin. I couldn’t believe that traveling can be a full-time profession. I knew the universe was listening and pretty soon, I was doing a lifestyle show on the same channel.
It came to me after years of hard work on a desk job but I was still happy about it. Two wonderful years of a lifestyle & travel show and 20 countries covered! Soon, I fell in love with a wonderful person and decided to get married.
I took up another job as a studio news anchor. The job required me to be in the office from morning 6 am till 3 pm as I was anchoring the first show of the morning at 7 am. I would talk about the Indian economy, stock markets, number crunching. While, in my mind, I always wanted to be somewhere else doing something else. However, my amazing honeymoon & romantic travel expeditions with my husband helped in satiating my travel desires.
It started with a romantic honeymoon in the Maldives, followed by a city break in London. We also walked around the beautiful lanes of Paris, Amsterdam, and Bruges, which continues to be my favorite place. Down under, we had a great time driving around the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne in Australia.
Two years into marriage, 26 new countries were discovered and a little something started growing in my belly. Pregnancy in India is often treated as a disease. As soon as you announce the news, everyone presents their lists of dos and don’ts! Thankfully for me, my husband, in-laws, and parents are very progressive and didn’t put any restrictions. I was three months pregnant when I got an opportunity to travel to Ireland for work. I almost felt like it was the last solo trip of my life as after having a baby, traveling solo would be a distant dream.
The physiological changes in my body took well to the trip and I came home happy & healthy. Soon I visited Dubai & Abu Dhabi for work which was followed by my husband planning a lovely babymoon to Turkey when I was 7 months preggers. Even with all the traveling around, I had a very healthy pregnancy and a normal delivery.
Soon I was a mother to a beautiful baby girl, Ziana, and by now, I had seen 29 countries. This was a new & never-experienced zone for me. Life was all about feeding & cleaning the baby. I was new to this and it was tiring but an extremely enjoyable journey. From waking up to breastfeed her to taking an afternoon nap with her, the focus of my life became my daughter and her happiness.
But traveling with babies is not easy. I tried it once in my maternity leave only to tell myself, never again! I felt that she was far more comfortable at home than wandering around the streets under the harsh sun or heavy snowfall.
Living with in-laws has been a boon in my life. Not only are they extremely supportive but also encouraging. I continued with the same job till my daughter was 3 years old. Having been in the industry for 10 long years, I just decided that it was time to quit my job and chase my dreams without having to work with an organization that didn’t value it enough.
There was no financial responsibility on me and I could safely quit my job and I did it. I decided to start a personal blog, Curly Tales, where I would recommend people places to go to and things to do. I started documenting my travels with family, created videos and posted them on social media. I started converting everything into a filmic experience – be it spending a weekend on a private island or eating the local delicacy in a small town. My husband supported this passion project of mine and helped in setting up a small team for me.
The content got a professional touch and soon brands and tourism boards started to notice. In the last two years, I have been invited by multiple tourism boards, restaurants, and brands to partner with them. I feel happy to say that I don’t travel for free, I get paid to travel!
Ever since Curly Tales started in 2017, other than covering the more than 25 places in India. My dream came true and my passion became my paycheque.