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Take a walk off the beaten path

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Suchna Hedge knew that she had to fulfill her passion for travel in her career. She saw a chance and took a risk and that risk went on to become Away and Beyond. Glynda Alves finds out more
In a shrinking world, Away and Beyond (awayandbeyond.in) aims to step off the beaten path, their trips bring you face-to-face with the world's most fascinating cultures and customs. For them, it’s all about authentic experiences in exotic cultures — a combination that serves up unforgettable memories. Suchna shares her journey with us…
How did you decide to turn your hobby for travel into a career?
I have been an avid traveller for as long as I can remember. A stint with Singapore Airlines as a flight stewardess, where I was based out of Singapore, fuelled my passion and I dove headfirst into the travel field. I believe if you do something you love, it automatically gives you a spring in your step every morning.
Was it a big risk opting for an unconventional career?
It was a huge risk giving up a cushy well paying job to start something new on my own. But I was convinced that it was the right thing to do, especially since the Indian travel market was opening up. Also the fact that I was doing something much different by catering to an untapped market was quite daunting initially.
What mistakes do people make when they visit a new place?
A lot of people try and create a checklist of things that they "must do/see" such as sights and monuments and stuff and run around trying to get those finished. Instead they should probably just take it slow and enjoy the little unique experiences.
How is Away and Beyond different from other group tours?
At Away and Beyond we believe that holidays must be wonderfully slow. Our trips are about experiencing a destination. We also do exclusive women only trips called girlfriend getaways, which cater to like-minded women who have always wanted to travel to places such as Tuscany or Provence but never found the company.
How much do you travel?
I travel at least once in a couple of months as we are always looking for new destinations and experiences.
Is it difficult managing your work as well as your home life?
It was tough at first though with a great support system of my mother and my in laws and of course a travel crazy hubby, I’ve managed to find a great balance.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow this career path?
Travel is an industry that is growing with leaps and bounds and it is a great time to be a part of it. The travel line is a rewarding line for people who are passionate about travel.
Is it a lucrative career option?
It’s a lot of hard work in the beginning but it all pays off in the end.

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