Ex-Banker is Taking Indian Ladies on Journeys Throughout The World


In December 2022, trekkers scaling the tranquil Dzuko Valley set amidst the highlands of Nagaland have been handled to an interesting sight. A gaggle of ladies could possibly be seen cheering one amongst them as she trudged on. Nearer inspection would reveal that their encouragement was directed in the direction of a lady with an injured knee.

The virgin panorama boasts a difficult steep climb and Meenakshi Singh was not sure whether or not her knee may bear the brunt of the terrain. When she was inclined to again out, the ladies wouldn’t hear of it; amping her positivity with each step she took.

Articulating this “once-in-a-lifetime” expertise, Meenakshi says the ladies in her group by no means gave up on her. “They nearly pulled me half-way! One among them was carrying my bag, one other giving me water at each few stops, and finally, we made it to the end level,” she shares.

Because the group gathered round their hero, it was evident that this was a collective win. Chilly water was relished on the high and biscuits have been handed round.

That day, the hills of Dzuko witnessed friendship at its finest. And nobody trying on would be capable to inform that only a few days again, these ladies had been strangers to one another.

“That’s what journey does to you,” says Zinal Doshi, chief of this iconic trek and founding father of ‘The Flapper Life’. The experiential journey platform is making solo journey potential for Indian girls, arguably a troublesome feat to perform, based on Doshi.

Serving to girls like Meenakshi realise their mettle is precisely what the Mumbai woman got down to do when she give up her 14-year-long banking profession to launch a journey startup in 2016.

Being on the helm of a enterprise that’s breaking social constructs of solo journey, altering the established order that after required girls to have “firm to really feel protected” and serving to girls not be so dismissive of themselves, is hard. However Doshi says there’s enjoyable within the problem.

Conversations with associates and private expertise had led her to conclude that ladies have been all the time “ready for somebody’s okay” when it got here to journey. “Typically for his or her household’s approval and generally for his or her pal’s plans to sync,” she provides. “I realised girls don’t get to journey once they need to.”

The Flapper Life is an experiential travel startup that conducts trips across Asia
The Flapper Life is an experiential journey startup that conducts journeys throughout Asia, Image supply: Zinal
The venture is helmed by women and is empowering women to dive into solo travel expeditions
The enterprise is helmed by girls and is empowering girls to dive into solo journey expeditions, Image supply: Zinal

The truth is, her personal journey historical past too resembled this.

Is the place protected? What about transport? What about logistical particulars? Questions like these would plague her thoughts earlier than each journey. And so, pushed by a want to make journey a protected and pleasing expertise, Doshi began ‘The Flapper Life’ that’s by girls and for girls; one which places the map in girls’s palms with the liberty to decide on the following cease.

Handing girls again their company

Nagaland was one of many many journeys that Meenakshi has been on. The others embrace Meghalaya, Satpura, and Tadoba. What these journeys did apart from introducing her to new cultures and landscapes, is that they unveiled a brand new aspect of her. From perceiving enjoyable as one thing “alien” to discovering pleasure in her personal firm, Meenakshi was amused by how journey might be simply the antidote you want. As for her tryst with scaling the valley with an injured knee and bonding along with her friends, she says, the journey “made us consider within the goodness of friendship and connections that you may forge inside just a few days”.

Doshi concedes. “There’s a sure energy in girls coming collectively. On these journeys, we see plenty of sharing occur, and sometimes these girls return extra highly effective. They bond over related points that they’re experiencing and take energy from this.”

She provides, “From a psychological well being perspective, these journeys are a serious increase.” 

Zinal Doshi started The Flapper Life so women could get their agency to travel the world without having to wait for anyone
Zinal Doshi began The Flapper Life so girls may get their company to journey the world with out having to attend for anybody, Image supply: Zinal

Recalling one of many journeys to Ladakh in 2018 the place she spoke at size to one of many girls becoming a member of, she says, the latter was going by means of an ordeal in her private life. “I used to be zapped and numb for just a few hours to assume that somebody was coping with a lot.”

A number of months later, Doshi heard that not solely had this girl taken issues into her personal palms and moved jobs, however she’d additionally addressed her psychological well being, and was in a a lot better area. “Journey can generally assist you see clearly,” Doshi affirms. 

Sharing one other heartwarming story that backs this thought, Doshi speaks a couple of girl who joined them on one in every of their journeys. A housewife on the time, she shared the woes of funding a visit by oneself. Since she wished to make journey part of her life-style, and do journeys like this ceaselessly, she shared her plans of getting again to work. “She resolved to get a job that may enable her to steadiness skilled and private life and earn to pay for her journeys,” Doshi notes.

And she or he did simply that. Journey might be an eye-opener.

Inspiration at each flip

Whereas The Flapper Life has excelled at constructing a neighborhood of ladies who’ve one another’s backs, Doshi can’t deny it has include its set of challenges.

“It was extraordinarily troublesome,” she notes referring to the preliminary years of creating the enterprise. “Within the early days, you need to play each position — that of a CEO, an accounts supervisor, a courier particular person, and that is simpler mentioned than executed.”

Being a lady trying to start out one thing for girls isn’t any piece of cake, she deduced. “However you’ve simply received to be sturdy sufficient to just be sure you are taken severely by changing into persistent in what you need.”

Whereas The Flapper Life has seen its share of wins and losses, “For the primary few years, it was robust getting clients as girls don’t belief a brand new startup simply. Add to that opponents who’re in a really senior league; it does take time to ascertain credibility.” Doshi hasn’t overpassed the purpose.

From two ‘flappers’ to now 10 who’re an integral a part of the crew, the journey has been telling.

Each journey is exclusive and girls who’ve travelled with Doshi say the spotlight of the journey is that it helps you to escape of the confines of on a regular basis. Journey is the theme of the day and the thought is to let your hair down as you discover the place.

That’s the place the identify borrows from, emphasises Doshi. “A flapper is somebody who simply needs to exit and have enjoyable. It’s a lady who needs to get out of her consolation zone and say sure to the life she has all the time wished to create.”

When she sees girls of the earlier generations, Doshi says an absence of assist and alternative have been the elements that held them again from new experiences. “So as we speak, I’m thrilled when girls come on board and determine to hitch us. As a result of it has a ripple impact of different girls who need to comply with go well with.”

The Flapper Life has conducted 200 trips to date and lays a focus on safety, comfortable transportation and credible stays
The Flapper Life has carried out 200 journeys thus far and lays a deal with security, comfy transportation and credible stays, Image supply: Zinal
Travelling with other women is a great boost for mental health
Travelling with different girls is a superb increase for psychological well being, Image supply: Zinal

With 200 journeys carried out to this point throughout locations like Bhutan, Meghalaya, Ladakh, Rajasthan, Chennai, Bali, Singapore, and Vietnam amongst others, the bucket checklist is barely rising wider. Throughout COVID-19 the platform additionally began one-day journeys and experiences for girls who couldn’t find time for longer getaways. “The one-day experiences are an ideal method for them to unwind,” she remarks.

Doshi resides the dream by means of her enterprise. “Initially, when you’re in a company job, you’re hustling, however there’s all the time a lingering dream in the back of your thoughts of all of the locations you need to journey to.” To this finish, she says fulfilling her personal dream was one a part of the story. “Making a platform that lets girls stay their desires judgement-free is the opposite.”

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Edited by Pranita Bhat.


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