For many years, Dra. Sudha Mahalingam traveled with her husband on his business trips and thus developed a taste for adventure. Her husband, who did not like to explore, would ask Mahalingam to visit the tourist sites with a local guide. But she did not like planned trips or package tours
“Tour packages are so predictable. They show you what they want to show you, not what you want to see,” Mahalingam said.
Two decades ago, Mahalingam left her job in mainstream print journalism and switched careers to pursue energy research. Soon after, she began receiving invitations to speak at international conferences in oil-producing countries and the world of travel opened up to her.
Today, at age 70, she has visited 66 countries on six continents, which she recounts about her on her blog Footloose Indian and in her book “Travel gods must be crazy.”
Since then she has had untold experiences and adventures that many people have failed to achieve. Although Mahalingam sometimes travels with friends, she makes most of the trips by herself. Her most recent international trip, to see lemurs in Madagascar in 2019, was one of her favorite adventure moments.
“It was absolutely unexplored territory, not very touristy, and had very few facilities. It was a difficult trip and the way I like it. I was on a boat for three days and the boat had no bathroom,” says Mahalingam of the river trip. Tsiribihina to Tsingy on the western coast of Madagascar.
This woman has also gone to the Everest basecamp and skydiving. However, she doesn’t think these activities are a big deal, as anyone can do them if she has the money. On her travels, she too has run into dangerous and life-threatening situations.
“The trip to Kashmir was not particularly stressful, but it turned out to be very different than one would have anticipated. In hindsight, it’s all fun. The driver was driving like crazy and we were shot. Bullets went through the car and one hit the fender. I was crouched in the back and I was actually laughing. I didn’t realize how serious the situation was. It was exciting. Now when I look back, I think maybe what I did was silly, “she says.
Mahalingam, however, points out that she is not easily stressed and she always looks for the fun element on every trip.
Traveling has also taught her to believe in people and has strengthened her faith in humanity. Visiting remote lands and unfamiliar cultures has made her realize that there are many ways to live life.