Saif Omar and Faiza Khan – Travel Podcasts

The Musafir Stories (TMS) is hosted by Bangalore-based couple Saif Omar and Faiza Khan. Saif has worked in the software services and financial services industry most of his professional life, and was based in the USA. He quit about three years ago, moving back to India and joining the family business. Saif’s wife Faiza is the co-host on TMS and currently works as a Team Lead with a software MNC in Bangalore. Faiza is also an avid baker and inspired crafter of hand-made organic soaps.

Talk to us about your personal journeys, how did the podcast happen?
When we moved back to India, I was looking to consume local podcasts but the options were limited. That’s when we wondered about giving podcasting a shot – even though neither of us has any background in media/journalism, or even full-time travel for that matter.

As kids, most of us have grown up on the culture of listening to stories from grandparents and elders. We can fondly recall sharing first-hand experiences about travel and life in general, with classmates and friends. The culture of story-telling and listening is deep-wired in us.

Looking at TMS at an idea stage, we thought that there might be an audience for casual and informal conversations about travel experiences, especially when pro-travelers can add tips, tricks and hacks to their conversations. That’s how The Musafir Stories was born – it began as a passion project and continues to be so.

What do you think makes The Musafir Stories different?
Our podcast is fair game for anyone who has some interest in travel or otherwise. Since it’s not niche genre as such, listeners don’t necessarily need a lot of background or context to tune into these conversations, thus making it perfect content to consume passively. Anyone, from a youngster who is looking to explore India, to a working professional who is looking at winding down and being away from work, is a potential listener.

To make things different, we try to cover various facets of travel, right from popular destinations, city guides, weekend itineraries, experiences that cover mountains, wildlife and beaches, to activities like trekking, adventure and road trips. We also have other features of interest on our platform for our Indian audiences – like volunteering, slow travel and offbeat travel.

We started this as a passion project primarily to make more people aware about India and what it has to offer through conversations with some very interesting people – conversations that are both informative and easy on the ear. If this does inspire someone to get off the couch and look at new horizons, then we’ve done some good. (Maybe even over-achieved!)

This interview was done for the All India Resort Development Association
You can read the rest of the interview on the AIRDA website>
Saif Omar and Faiza Khan – The Musafir Stories

Sukumaran Menon – Art Perspective Photography

Based in Bangalore, Sukumaran is a seasoned travel enthusiast and a hobby-photographer. He started off using a point & shoot camera and moved up the value chain to professional gear. As his work involves travel – both within and outside the country, he manages to find the time to give his passion for photography newer and more exciting frames of reference.

Sukumaran refers to the black & white medium as a distinctly unique form of expression, and often takes this visual route in his explorations of period architecture, and the great outdoors. He is particularly fascinated with “trees” as a subject, and how he can capture nature’s works of art from a whole new viewpoint.

What does travel mean to you? Vacations? Seeing new places? Discovering the world? Could mean all of this, but let’s have your version of it?
Travel is about the path you will take that will ultimately define your journey – whether it’s going somewhere that is only two-hours away, or a destination halfway across the world. Travel is also about trying something new – especially if you can manage to escape from the predictable routines of everyday life. Traveling therefore gives you something different to experience, and can be like a breath of fresh air.

To me, travel also means spending the day in a new city and exploring all of its history, its museums and parks. It brings in the magic of spontaneous adventure and participation in activities that you normally would not have the time for.

Does work enable travel? Do you add on a travel segment when you travel within the country, or on visits abroad?
As an engineering consultant my work entails a fair bit of travel – both within the country and outside. On work, my travel schedule is invariably packed to the gills – not allowing time for any kind of detour. The only other option would be a planned photography excursion to a place I always wanted to visit – one example here is my week long trip to Kenya, to capture the annual migration of animals in the Maasai Mara.

Having said that, work related travel sometimes presented opportunities to explore cities and places of interest that I had only heard of before – this was indeed a big blessing. I am thankful that I have got to see some amazing places both in India and overseas. Being able to take pictures “in transit” is the proverbial icing on the cake!

This interview was done for the All India Resort Development Association
You can read the rest of the interview on the AIRDA website>
Sukumaran Menon – on Art perspective photography