Memoirs Through a DSLR – Khayal Dave Indian Solo Traveler

Tell us something about yourself and your background

  • Photographer, Solo-Traveler, Iconoclast, Funambulist.
  • I specialize in Fine Art Wedding, Fashion & Travel Photography. Ever since my childhood I was deeply fascinated by the visually striking moments, different culture, beautiful landscapes and barely emphasised on the composition, art and drama part of it like any other child. But now my photography has been framed by the confines of my perception. People and culture are always at the heart of my work.
  • I believe that everyone has a story and I am here to create a long lasting memory out of it. It’s this dedication, connection with my clients and inspiration that the most important element of my approach revolves around. Especially during weddings I believe in creating a true reflection of oneself on the most important day of their life. I use my imagination, creativity, experience and professionalism to capture one’s special moments and expressive emotions. When I am not shooting I Solo travel across India and work on my Photo concepts, writing assignments.

How many countries and Indian states have you travelled?

  • 20 Indian states & 50 + cities solo in last 2 years.

Any interesting travel moment or incidence:

  • As a writer and photographer I observe a lot during my travel. I talk to locals to understand their stories, journeys and nuances of different things on their life.
  • While exploring the streets of Pune (Maharashtra) last year during the festival of Ganesha I saw this woman sitting on the road applying Nail Paint. I observed her for some time and then casually started conversation with her.
  • “I’m 71, a rag picker by profession. I lost my husband and children in a natural calamity 7-8 years back. Now I don’t have anyone to look after me. I stay in a small rented chawl (tiny house) nearby. I don’t have enough money to buy new saree, jewelry or even sweets in this festival season but I make sure that these reasons don’t interfere between me and my love for Nail Paint. I love to apply it from childhood. My father used to bring a bottle of new nail paint every two months. I was always excited to try new colors. It usually lasted for 14-15 days and then I had to desperately wait for the month end. Now a days I save money by skipping dinners or even sometimes barter with the owner. My favorite color is Red and I would like to apply nail paint till the time I am on my death bed.”
  • Though we have every luxury in our life from big house to gourmet cuisine, we tend to get up happy for trivial things. When you travel and meet people like this you learn to find happiness in small daily things of your life to make your life better.

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

  • Not fear but as a budget traveler and someone who depends heavily on hitchhiking and local transport sometime it’s difficult to convince the driver to give you long lifts. And also because of my appearance sometimes the locals delude me for being a journalist, which makes them little skeptical about things.

What’s your favourite travel quote?

  • You travel with heart, soul & Inspiration not with money.

What’s the strangest thing you tried on your travelling days?

  • Because Solo travelers were not allowed in “SriSailam” none of the hotel owners gave me a room. I was advised to visit the city police station. I had to convince them that I’m not coming here to suicide and my parents knew about the trip. (They also cross-checked everything with my father). Yes some interior places in India still don’t understand the concept of Solo Traveling.

Any travel tips for the readers?

  • Everyone wants to travel to diverse places according to their penchants, observe un-heard places, taste different cuisines/alcohols, and amalgamate in different culture. But not everyone can fulfill that easily. What is the reason behind that? Money? Not really. If you are on tight budget do small trips or probably don’t spend nights in gigantic hotels and don’t travel by luxury cars. A tent under a sky will also give you a sound sleep. Time can be a valid reason, but Hey, we all are for some years only.