Vaibhav Pandya, Vice President and Head – IT, ENAM Asset Management, on the driving forces of his life—travelling and photography. By Shweta Gandhi
As you’re reading this, Vaibhav Pandya is busy packing for his long-awaited journey to Italy. The IT head has been planning this trip for several months now. His air tickets are booked, his car has been hired and Vaibhav will soon be off on his Italian sojourn. Travelling has been an indelible part of his life right from the time when he was a child. Train tickets would be booked months in advance for the last day of his examinations and he would be off, discovering new places every vacation. In several ways, not much has changed over the years. Even today Vaibhav takes travelling very seriously. Each year, he explores a new place: either domestic or international. In a candid chat, Vaibhav talks about why travelling matters so much to him.
“In school I looked forward to my last day of examinations as we would be travelling to some place new. Thanks to that I have covered almost all major tourist destinations in India—from Rajasthan and Punjab to Kashmir, West Bengal and beyond. We’ve even travelled to Diu (a destination that is only just coming up)! Unfortunately, I haven’t as yet travelled to the northeast.
“Assam is on my radar as is Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. I hope to cover these states on my way to Cambodia soon. From what I have read, Cambodia seems beautiful and I cannot wait to visit it. Besides Cambodia, I am also looking forward to visiting New Zealand sometime next year. Other countries on my wish list include Greece, Philippines, Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Lisbon and, of course, Italy!”
The Italian itinerary
“I am all set to fly to Italy in April. I land in Milan from where I will collect my car and drive to Venice, Florence and Naples. I’ll leave my car in Naples and take the ferry to Sicily, then head to Capri and back to Naples. Then I get back into the car and drive to Rome, my final stop in Italy. That’s a distance of 1,600 km in 12 days.
“This journey has been in the works for several months and I realise communicating will be a big issue. Not everyone in Italy speaks English, especially in the countryside. So I’ve prepared by downloading apps that have been helping me communicate in basic Italian. One of the things I am looking forward to is the food. I read that pizza was invented in Naples, and I’m going to eat one there! And when I’m in Capri, I plan to relish their pasta.”
Saving and planning are both key
“Funding is one of the most crucial aspects of travelling. One of the easiest ways to plan your finances is by investing in mutual funds. I religiously invest in mutual funds every year and over the last eight years I have covered a lot of places I’ve wanted to visit. I believe in covering one country at a time. And if you plan your finances and travels wisely it is perfectly possible to travel the entire world! Italy may be just a fortnight-long trip but planning it took me between three to six months! You have to plan your journey just as judiciously as you would plan your finances.”
Travelling is all about learning
“Travelling opens your mind to new ideas. You meet new people, see new places, learn new things…not just about the world but also about yourself. Most of my travels are solo, so it also gives me some much-needed ‘me’ time. Travelling has also got me started on another passion—photography. So far I have travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, London and Dubai, and I am hoping to see many more!
“But one of the biggest benefits is that travelling has opened my mind to new cultures and made me sensitive to them. This has been the biggest boon to someone like me who has to interact with people from different countries as part of his job.”