There is a popular proverb saying ‘The world is a big book and those who don’t travel read only one page’. Accept it or not, travelling is no more a luxury but a part and parcel of schedule of a modern day individual. And let’s not confuse that travelling means luxury travel. Going solo or with a bunch of friends or strangers has become very popular among the masses. Even among the millennials, travelling has become more than just a digital hobby.
Gurgaon based Heena Raheja has been a path-breaking individual in this regard. A happy-go-lucky girl, an office dropout, insta-holic, daydreamer, night thinker, and a pathfinder to achieve them – Heena has launched her travel startup – ‘travel affairs’ which is breaking stereotypes and her backpacker’s hostel – travel affairs jungle book hostel in Himachal Pradesh has already become an instant hit.
Heena completed her schooling from Bhiwani Public School in Bhiwani. After her graduate studies in commerce student, she pursued an MBA in Human Resource & Marketing from Dav Institute of management, Faridabad. Interestingly Heena was not into travel in the beginning. In her own words, “My first job was in HR profile at Aon Hewitt, Gurgaon which I continued for almost one and a half year. At Beyond Codes in Chandigarh. I was into marketing and in a year or so, I decided to quit. I was exploring interesting opportunities and travel affairs happened.”
Heena has been working as a travel blogger, vlogger, and a social media influencer for quite a while now. But it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Heena acknowledges that it was tricky to convince her family first. “They were not ready to accept the fact that I wanted to quit my job and travel full time. According to them, one trip in a year with family is good enough.
It took me months to make them understand,” remarks Heena. Since then there has been no looking back for her. At present, her team is organizing experiential group trips with strangers and are conducting travel meetups in different parts of India. Very recently she has started “unconventional career counselling” sessions in schools.
No doubt, a travel startup is not at all one of the easiest things in the world. After all, travelling with 20 new people is not easy but also adventurous at the same time. Heena’s objective is very clear in this regard. She acknowledges,” As a group leader, this is both a challenge and opportunity for me. It feels like people from different cities and professions networking with each other. How often in life, do we see a lawyer becoming best friend with an athlete or a photographer or a dentist or a chef or a teacher?”
A public speaker and a part-time consultant, Heena is hopeful on India’s possibilities in the tourism sector. While working with her startup, Heena has witnessed the highs and lows of the whole curve. Regarding Indian tourism, an out and out optimist Heena remarks, “All credits to social media, people are now taking all the chances to explore. Nowadays, youth don’t look up to celebrities as their role models but all the artists, bloggers, influencers they follow on Social Media. Tourism Sector has grown exponentially in the past 2-3 years and it will continue to grow. India has a lot to offer. Definitely, I wish to establish myself as a good travel blogger, with a lot of knowledge and experience about places. This is why I am focusing more on my blogs. And, travel affairs will continue to provide experiences to the digital community at large.”
Heena who has delivered TEDx talk twice has set her plans in the domain of unconventional career counselling in schools as well. She feels,” Schools in India are teaching the same curriculum as they used to 15 years before. With all new opportunities coming up in the world, kids still have to study subjects where they don’t have personal likings or inclinations. I seriously feel that there should be a subject on Social Media.”
Truly, Heena Raheja’s journey in a completely new sector deserves much praise. Team Optimist wishes her all the best.