When we start to think of the No-Mad tribe, friends from India and elsewhere who love to travel, daydream and are true gourmands, there is no one else who comes to our mind first other than Fiona Caulfield – travel designer, writer and the creator of the Love Travel India guides !
These guides are hand-crafted by artisans. They are printed on delicately textured hand-made paper and fitted with handloom khadi cotton covers, the fabric of India’s independence with hand-made bookmarks by Aneeth Arora of leading textile and fashion brand péro. With her ability to craft extraordinary travel experiences, discover unique gems wherever she visits and an undying love for India, it is no wonder that Fiona is considered the ultimate resource for voyagers planning to visit and explore the richness of our country. She offers a range of bespoke travel design services and is the go-to person for many of the world’s leading designers (interior, fashion, jewellery) when planning their visits to India.
We were thrilled to have her visit the No-Mad Fabric Shop when it launched and asked her a few questions about her memories of the Indian summer.
97% India ~ What are you favorite places to travel to in India during the summer months and why?
The Hills – Ladakh in the North and the Nilgiris in the south. I love the other worldliness of Ladakh. My ideal trip there is all about walking and avoiding long road journeys. A few years ago I did my second trip to Ladakh and spent a few weeks researching a Love Ladakh. My total favourite experience was my time with Shakti Himalaya. They get everything right! The Nilgiris is my South India favourite. I love heading to the cool blue mountains and walking amongst the tea estates, keeping a close eye out for the Bison that also like taking the same walks.
Mumbai ~ Three things to do in Mumbai during this season?
~ Beat the heat and explore the city waking up. Head out with the team from No Footprints to do their Mumbai at Dawn tour. I have done it a few times and loved it each time. Also I love being out taking photos in the magic hours.
~ Set Sail. I love being on the water. Make friends with a member of the Bombay Yacht Club and join them on the harbour and then make sure to be invited back to the bar, the best in the city.
~ Eat a mango, it is the taste of an Indian summer and totally makes up for the crazy heat.
Gourmand ~ Seasonal summer recipes / produce you love to stay cool and hydrated !
Eat a mango!! Well perhaps have a salad and keep hydrated with a G&T or a Mahua cocktail made my Desmondji, India’s first craft distillery
Daydream ~ A travel memory related to summer in India !
I remember being commissioned to write a story by an important American travel magazine way back in 2005 on the ten best hotels of Rajasthan. Imagine my excitement, this was THE dream assignment for a new travel writer. Well, a dream until I discovered that the deadline meant I had to travel in May. Hot doesn’t even come close to those temperatures as I crisscrossed the huge state of Rajasthan. However, it didn’t matter I fell in love and the rest as they say is history!
Voyage ~ Things you always like to carry with you while travelling & things you like to shop for and collect from your travels…
I like carrying my pen and notebook when I travel. Deliciously old fashioned, but I feel writing and sketching allows you to engage more deeply with a place as compared to the quick insta grab on the phone (see @lovetravel_india ) I would love to say I only collect memories, however my family and friends know the truth and each trip means more and more ‘treasures’ coming home. I prefer to buy something handmade and in India find it simply impossible to not buy textiles and crafts. Pablo Neruda sums it up better than I could and extract is reproduced in my Made in books.
‘I love all things, not because they are passionate or sweet smelling but because, I don’t know, because this ocean is yours, and mine: these buttons and wheels and little forgotten treasures, fans upon whose feathers love has scattered its blossoms, glasses, knives and scissors – all bear the trace of someone’s fingers on their handle or surface, the trace of a distant hand.’ – Extract from Pablo Neruda, ‘Ode to Things’
3% Elsewhere ~ Where would you like to journey next?
My life is pretty much on an India-Australia axis. New places in India for me to explore include Assam and Lucknow. New places in Australia this year include a whale watching trip to Hervey Bay and perhaps a walk in The Kimberly in the north west of Australia, or it may even be time to begin the 1200km Heysen Trail in my homestate of South Australia. My travel dream is to take a year off and traverse the silk route, imagine what a love story that would be!
To know more about Fiona and her love affair with India, visit her website HERE
All Images via : Fiona Caulfield / Love Travel Guides