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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Meet Travel Buff Aarti Pannikar Who Went On A Solo Trip To Six Countries While Five Months Pregnant

  • IWB Post
  •  November 29, 2018


By the time Aarti Panikkar was 33, she had traveled 23 countries while that may not get a big ‘Wow!’ from you, the fact that she covered six more countries when she was five months pregnant and that too alone is, well, beyond pretty impressive.

“My goal was to visit 15 countries by the age of 30, settle down and have a baby. I, however, got married at the age of 30 and had a baby at the age of 33, with 22 countries off my list,” said Aarti, who is a senior consultant at Ernst & Young. It was in 2005 when she was going through a tough time that a trip to Singapore triggered her love for traveling.

“I did a lot of traveling on my own while in Singapore and enjoyed it. I loved talking to strangers, learning about the culture, relishing new dishes…,” said Aarti.

She was five months pregnant when she went on her last trip which was to Europe. “I had to go to Dusseldorf, Germany, in connection with work. As I had the weekends and a few long weekends off, I would take off then,” she said. Her family and friends were concerned about her going all alone as she was pregnant but gave in to the fact that she loved traveling. She covered six cities in six countries — Budapest, Vienna, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Dusseldorf and Dortmund, although she  refrained from pursuing her love for adventure sports owing to her pregnancy.

“It was just a laid-back touristy trip to each city. It left the adrenaline junkie in me slightly dispirited though,” she recalled. But what she was pretty impressed with was the way pregnant women are treated in Europe.

“There are separate lines for us at museums, heritage spaces… and separate seats for us on trains and buses. At Monet Garden in Giverny, though there was no separate queue, I was shooed to the front of the line by those ahead of me in the line. The people are also a lot less wary when they see a pregnant woman,” she said. “They strike up a conversation and even look out for you when they know that you are traveling on your own. After getting used to the courtesy extended to expecting mothers in Europe, I was in for a disappointment on my journey back to India. While traveling on the airport shuttle bus, the men just sat and watched as a heavily pregnant me stood in a crowded space.”

Right now, the 34-year-old travel buff is trying to get her four-month-old son Zian a passport, so that he too can join his mother in her mission of exploring the world!

H/T: The Hindu 

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