About Me

Who Am I?

The Urge To Wander - Madhu ProfileA camera shy, 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.

You might like: 6 fun facts that my profiles do not reveal about me.

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 started late, I’ve managed to explore a fair bit of the planet.

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.

Kashmir – For it’s poignant magic and gracious people and Ladakh- For the magnificent Himalayan landscapes that have left me hankering for more.

Memorable Moments?

Machu Picchu in the mist for one.

A dawn balloon ride over the surreal landscape of Cappadocia. 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…come wander with me.

 

 

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615 replies to About Me
    1. Thank you. Happy you do! The theme is the same, I have just removed the background image and opted for a lighter colour scheme.

  1. Hello Madhu,
    Had pleasure of meeting you back in 2002 when I was invited over for a lovely evening curry. Thanks to your husband for giving me the details of your blog today, I shall pop in from time to time and view your great photographs and stories. India is a truly magical place and hopefully one day I shall return as I have many fond memories (and one or two I would rather forget!)…every time your husband phones I feel the pull of a trip to Chennai 🙂
    Venice next week!

    1. Hi Paul, apologies for the belated response. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Hope Venice went well. I spent over a week there last April and loved every moment. You must plan another trip to Chennai. We shall try to ensure that you leave with memories that you will never want to forget 🙂

      1. Hi Madhu, our Venice trip went very well – amazing place or as I liked to call it – ‘The Worlds Largest Maze’. The temperature and humidity was extremely high (34c) myself and Helen were permanently attached to water bottles. I would like to recommend a hotel we used should you ever go back, we stayed at the Hotel Ala, just off the Giglio ramp. Needless to say, I came back with about 50gb’s of photos and HD video. Our next trip hopefully will be a return trip to see our friends in Washington DC and either a trip to Chamonix (last seen 27 years ago) or Sorrento. It is unfortunate that the actual travelling bit is becoming the most hated part – I have developed a great dislike/phobia of airports (but love flying). How do you cope with this part of travelling? Paul.

        1. Hi Paul, ‘the world’s largest maze’ about sums up Venice! 🙂 Would love to see your images…do send me a link if you plan to upload your gallery to the web. Chamonix sounds wonderful. We haven’t covered much of Europe – or the UK – except on a multi city escorted tour about three decades ago, which does not really count as travel. Time to remedy that.

          Airports are a challenge for me as well. But what option do we have with our urge to wander?

  2. Great blog, wonderful design (can tell you’re a designer 🙂 ) and excellent photography. Will come back more often, as there’s so much more to explore here. Happy travels from the Netherlands!!

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