This is a personal note for Outlook Traveller and if you detect an underlying complaint, it is there for a reason.
My passion for travel took me to several places known and unknown. By 1998 my passion, egged on by some well wishers became my profession. I loved to explore new places, mostly small homes and tiny hotels with some quirks and lot of character mostly lent by their maverick owners. And so I unearthed the Kumaon Mandal and Garhwal Mandal guest houses, Deodar's Guest House, Jilling Estate, Bob's Place, Glenmoor Cottages, Cloud's End and many many such jewels. Once in Delhi I wrote about them, talked about them in Clubs at Christmas and Diwali Melas, Summer camps, School fests... and lo ! my partner Sumati and I came to be known as those "two women" who had really "off-beat" ideas. Soon small time guest house and homestay owners were courting us.... not that we had too much work for them. It was just some place they could bank their information with - and every time there was a long weekend the ubiquitous 'discerning' traveller called us and we were the information bank. Some converted to bookings and some did not. Those who booked came back as friends of the homestay owners and there went our leads, forever ! Irritating, I know but I must admit to the untiring optimism of youth, we still promoted Sitla Estate, Johnson's Lodge, Himalayan Trout House, Jeolikot, Snow View and so many many others. Every time some one mentioned an off-beat place my nose twitched and my feet itched.... and off I went to travel "where no agent had gone before".
Well I must say, we made no money but only fed our passion and meeting the interesting owners of these places, sometimes highly placed successful businessmen or corporate heads who threw caution to the winds to end up in obscure but magnificent locales to pursue their interests or just live by nature or be among simple village folk. Till Outlook Traveller happened. I remember some one asking me if I get this travel magazine and went on to inform me that they have featured some of the places that we recommend.Needless to say they booked direct with the contacts they found in the magazine. Then came the Outlook Traveller books - weekend getaways from every major metro and "the two women with off-beat ideas" overnight went out of business.
Fueled by the same passion, another idea for travel blossomed that of hotel representation and T S Marketing now re-branded as RARE - destinations & experiences was born ! And here we worked with Outlook Traveller, recommended some new hotels to them to feature and through their monthly pages discovered some new hotels we could represent. 'Travel' does indeed come around a full circle.... I do accept the slight twinges of rivalry I felt, yet we are partners in the same trade.
Check out the RARE ad featuring some of our most unique lodges in the wild and villa accommodation in Goa. Also check Shahpura Bagh ( Raj.) featured as one of Outlook Traveller's choice hotels.
Congratulations ! Kai, Nayantara, Amit, and everyone on the team - Outlook Traveller is truly an exceptional travel monthly and you are the coolest team.