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Natasha Amar Natasha Amar is a Dubai based traveller who runs a popular travel and adventure blog, The Boho Chica. She loves cultures, cuisines and hiking trails, and shares all kinds of stories - from travel tips to cultural insights and volunteering guidelines - on her blog. Through her engaging stories, pictures and videos posted on the blog, Natasha Amar hopes to inspire people to travel more often and seek out their own "crazy adventures". She has written extensively on Dubai and Bangladesh and considers New Zealand her favourite holiday destination. Her articles have been published by The Planet D, Yahoo! India Travel, Expedia India, Expedia Singapore, etc.

Please explain your travel style?

When it comes to budget or luxury travel, I don't have one fixed style. It all depends on where I'm traveling, solo or with someone and what I can afford. I'm perfectly happy backpacking and staying in B&Bs and hostels and of course I also enjoy a bit of luxury from time to time. I do however like to travel simply and slowly rather than checking off things or sights off a list.

Iceland Glacier

You have a quirky blog name. How did you come up with it?

Like most people who came up with blog names six years ago, I was not really thinking and you have to remember that I'd never imagined that this would one day be my full-time job. I thought 'The Boho Chica' would make a good blog name because some friends said I had a very bohemian mindset about life and work. Six years on, the mindset has endured.

Caapadocia Turkey

Bangladesh was your first solo travel experience, what did you like the most in the country?

The sensory overload of a city as crowded as Dhaka was in equal parts overwhelming and exciting. I'll never forget my first days in the country- learning how everything works, how to cross the busy streets and how to make my way across the city when I could not even speak the language and hardly anyone spoke English in the neighborhood where I stayed. The three things I loved most about the country: the green countryside, the people who lived there and the tea.

"I'd been chasing dreams that weren't really mine." Please explain.

As people on the verge of choosing careers we are conditioned by society and the education system to want certain things in order to feel normal or to fit into roles that are thought of as ideal. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of my Masters degree and I loved everything that I studied. But did I want to make my career in the field? I didn't think about it as much as I should have and I didn't listen early on when my inner voice told me I was not going to fit into any boxes. So I chased the dreams that I thought were most logical to chase- I wanted to climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, make enough money for a big apartment and car, and I did make that money only to find myself spending it on travel rather than any of those things. Soon, two weeks off in a year wasn't enough and I decided that more time to travel was what I really wanted, hence the career transition.

Paragliding

We all know Dubai is home to many famous tourist attractions, but tell us about a few hidden gems that tourists can visit while in Dubai.

A lot of tourists don't make it to the older parts of the city and I'd recommend anyone curious about the humble beginnings of the city and the lives of its earliest residents to explore these neighborhoods such as Bur Dubai, Karama, Satwa and Deira. There are still people in this city who cross the creek from Dubai to Deira every day for work in the traditional boat (Abra) and I think it's a fun thing to do, as is walking along the sea and stopping for shisha or coffee in the Heritage Village area, visiting the Dubai museum and the Naif Natasha Amaret in Deira. Also when it comes to eating out, Dubai is not just about fancy expensive places (which are also excellent) but also about simple places that serve amazing food and are very popular with long-time residents such as Al Malla in Satwa, Aroos Damascus in Deira and a whole bunch of places in Karama.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a solo traveller?

There have hardly been any real challenges on any of my solo trips. I love solo travel- it's an incredible experience that opens up a world of new ideas, thought and belief systems and people experiences, and I strongly feel that everyone needs to do it at least once in their lives.

Mykonos

You have lived in Mumbai and also been to Rajasthan. Which other parts of India have you travelled to and which ones you enjoyed the most?

India is a huge country in terms of both size and the cultural diversity and I have not even seen half of it yet. Other than Mumbai where I lived, I've only visited Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jaipur, Goa and Kerala. My favorite among these places was Kerala- I loved staying in a houseboat and sailing through the backwaters and the food was amazing too.

In your bid to help a hungry child, you became a victim of the milk scam in Kathmandu. Are there any good ways to help the needy locals without getting cheated?

The milk scam is actually widespread in a lot of countries around the world and I was very naïve to fall for it. There are of course many ways to help locals without getting cheated such as to support local businesses and communities (locally owned tours and accommodation providers), raise funds and employ them to reap positive change for years to come (sponsor a child's education) and volunteer for causes where your skills are needed and can benefit the community. For those who aren't sure where to find these opportunities, you can also work with and donate to locally based NGOs who are known to make an impact.

Tell us about places you would like to visit in 2016?

My year started with one of my dream trips actually- to Iceland, so I hope 2016 will be a great year for travel. I'd really like to make it to South America this year- Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, and Tibet has been on my mind for the last few years as well.

You can find Natasha Amar blog at http://thebohochica.com and connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook

Iceland horses

This interview with Natasha Amar is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips.

 

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