An offbeat Traveller in search of Untold Stories in USA | Archana Singh | Solo Traveller

For most, travel is an escape from routine. For some, it is a way of life.

And Archana Singh, a Solo-World-Traveller dreams of making the latter for the most. She runs an award winning travel blog and has been featured by NGT, Vistara, etc.

Tell us something about yourself

I hail from an army background. So, for most of my life, I’ve been to different schools, places, and local buses. I was a hostelite and also an expat for a couple of years. So, travelling solo has been an integral part my life journey. I am a Brand Management Expert by profession but a travel journalist by passion.

How many countries and Indian states have you travelled so far?

I’ve travelled to more than 40 countries and visited most of the Indian states.

Any interesting travel moment

I was recently on a two-months solo trip to the US. Before landing in States, I was warned about an increase in racist attacks. However, statistics paint a different picture. The truth is 99 percent of the 300-plus million Americans peacefully coexist with members of all races day in and day out. Here’s what I experienced:

I was on a Press Trip to Birmingham in Alabama, a place where civil rights movement started. Leaving the past behind, Birmingham has moved on. It doesn’t matter whether you are a black or white, everyone is treated equally. During my trip, I experienced something worth sharing – my Afro-American tour guide, historian and teacher Barry McNealy complimented my extremely humble white host Pamela McDonald on her charm bracelet and told her how his wife wanted a similar one.

Without blinking an eyelid, Pamela gifted her bracelet to Barry as a gift for his wife.

That didn’t look racist to me. That was mutual love and respect for each other. All this while, I was in awe and heart-stuck. Goodness has not died and good-hearted people are still around.

What are the most popular places to visit at this destination?

  • I had tears when I exited the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum
  • Vulcan, the world’s largest cast iron statue; standing on top of Red Mountain overlooking the city of Birmingham.
  • The Antique Peanut Place to taste the best peanuts and peanut butter in the town
  • Railroad Park that celebrates the industrial and artistic heritage of Birmingham
  • Negro Southern League Museum that tells the story of African-American baseball

So, I’ve one more short story to share…

I met this interesting chef John Hall in New York. He moved from New York to Birmingham because he lost a bet with his best friend. The thing was whosoever gets the job first shall help the other in setting up business. What a friendship! He started a unique Airbnb like concept in the food industry, where guests can enjoy a renowned chef’s fine dining wonders in a home, not a restaurant. The bespoke experience is specially tailored around guests unique tastes. They not only get to enjoy a delicious meal but also get to see how it is made. And conversations with John are an added bonus.

Tell us about your fears and anxieties when traversing solo. How you keep them at bay?

When serendipity fails to work and things go unplanned and bumpy, I see my blood-ridden boiling facade.

What’re your best travel tips?

  • Thoughtful content and beautiful stories pass by as an unattended carcass. So, please do appreciate the efforts.
  • Fathom and respect the local culture. Blend in, not stand out.
  • Be friendly but stay vigilant.
  1. Where are you off to next?

Ireland & UK are calling next month and may be North East India.