‘Solo travel is the most amazing thing’

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I went to Maldives in September, then Dubai. I’ve made 6 or 7 trips to Bangalore, three trips to Delhi. For travel, I’ve done 18 COVID-19 tests so far…Bedi speaks with Siddhi Jain

Fitness is a secret mantra of most of Bollywood stars and they take great efforts to maintain it throughout the career. The Indian actor, fitness icon and entrepreneur Mandira Bedi said she is amazed to hear about women who are working hard, challenging norms, and gaining financial independence to become successful entrepreneurs supporting themselves and their families, against all odds.

“I believe women should choose to challenge every boundary and every obstacle that comes their way, that says they ‘can’t’ do something’,” Bedi, who recently became a host on Airbnb by putting up her Mud Island villa on the popular travel platform, said in a virtual panel discussion.

We spoke to Mandira Bedi about her journey of a new kind of hosting and her travel tales:

Q. Please tell us about your love for travel. When did you begin to travel first?

Bedi: The first time I travelled outside of India was I was after my 10th grade exams, my family and I went on a summer holiday. We did Europe and the United States. Then, once I got to be a part of this business, my travel increased a fair amount, more so after cricket when I started hosting events within and outside India. I’ve been blessed that my work has taken me to some amazing destinations. Wherever I have gone, I have managed to stay on for a couple of days and explore the city.

A lot of this exploration has happened solo because of work, but my family and I take a trip, if not two, in a year.

Passion for travel

Q. Is solo travel and revenue for self-discovery and introspection for you?

Bedi: Solo travel is the most amazing thing (laughs), because I wear many hats at home, and when I get to travel on my own it is quite liberating, uplifting. You’re not asking anybody ‘should we do this’ or ‘should we eat here’. Choices are your own and your discovery is your own.

Q. You are also an Airbnb host now. Can you tell us about that?

Bedi: Yes, this is a new experience. It has something to do with the lockdown also. So, my mum and I invested in the house about 15 years ago and we made it a shooting bungalow, which meant it was getting redone by different art directors. During the lockdown, I realised there is a beautiful house, just a drive away, and we don’t use it. I thought it could be used by the family as well. It required a massive overhaul. We put the last 6-7 months into it and now it’s finally ready. It’s a 4-bedroom beautiful villa with nice furniture, a little bit like my house and yet not.

Q. Are you excited to travel again?

Bedi: Yes, I’ve already started travelling again. I went to Maldives in September, then Dubai. I’ve made 6 or 7 trips to Bangalore, three trips to Delhi. For travel, I’ve done 18 COVID-19 tests so far. I have missed travel a great deal. We’re still not done with Covid-19. It’s still very much there. But we are in a better position to live with it.

Q. What’s your safety mantra while travelling?

Bedi: When you’re out and about, touch anything, but don’t touch your face.

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