Who Am I?
A small town girl living in big, bustling Chennai, India. Bitten late and hard by the travel bug, I’m on an extended sabbatical from my interior design practice and on a mission to make up for lost time.
It is curiosity that fuels my wanderlust, about the romance captured by my favourite authors and poets, the glory of a forgotten kingdom, the mystique of a lost city, incredible scenery, the habits and traditions of people and the understanding of why we are different, or not.
My late-starter story is proof that life begins when you are ready to let it. What’s age got to do with anything?
“Sometimes too late
is just in time.”
Marriage, the birth of our daughter and nearly a decade of shuttling between remote tea plantations in the Nilgiri Hills in south India made for a near idyllic life but put our travel dreams on hold.
A chance move to the big city opened up opportunities for freelance work and prompted Ravi, my husband – the elusive R of my early stories – to quit his steady job and turn entrepreneur. We were empty-nesters by then with enough savings to finally dust off our mothballed dreams. With much prioritising, and some luck, we’ve since managed to make the most of both: our passion for travel and our work and family commitments.
Ravi and I travel together mostly but I add solo extensions to each trip and incorporate solo journeys in between when he is unable to join me. He loves travel nearly as much as I do but I suspect he loves his work a little bit more.
The Urge To Wander was born in 2012 out of my desire to share my perspectives of the places I have explored and of the people of those places. What started out as a personal journal grew into one of the leading travel blogs in India thanks to a highly engaged community. It has also led to some interesting collaborations with tourism boards and exclusive travel brands.
You’ll find history and culture score over adventure here. It was never my intention to offer travel advice when I started out, but my stories and photo essays will now be backed up by a host of dedicated pre-planning and destination guide pages* to motivate you to travel more and to travel well.
Considering I never saw the inside of a plane until after I turned twenty, I’ve managed to explore a fair bit of the planet.
My favourite destinations?
Egypt – Because this amazing country flips every notion of antiquity on it’s head!
Istanbul – For its magical East/ West vibe, the amazing food and the people. I have been there twice and would return in a heart beat.
Kashmir – For it’s poignant magic and gracious people and Ladakh- For the magnificent Himalayan landscapes that have left me hankering for more.
Rio di Janeiro – For its stunning undulating topography and those gorgeous beaches.
Most memorable moments?
Our priceless hour with the last remaining silverback gorillas in Rwanda. And unhurried day-long safaris through the Serengeti witnessing the great wildebeest migration. I would return to Africa every year if I could afford it.
It’s a big beautiful world out there. So many places to experience yet, and so little time. I intend to make the most of what I have left.
I’m Madhu Shetty…come wander with me.
*Resource pages coming up soon.
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