I used to be a corporate lawyer by profession. I quit that in 2007 to take off on an impromptu, overland trip from Lucknow to Nepal and on to Tibet. Standing on the highest plateau in front of the highest mountain peak in the world was a turning point for me and I decided to spend the rest of my life living rather than earning a living.
Tell us about Girls on the Go
In 2008 I decided to start Girls on the Go, a travel club for women that takes women to exotic places like Nagaland, Bhutan, Antarctica, Arctic and Mongolia.
Why did you set up the company?
I set up the company to empower women through travel. Travelling has really enriched me as a person and enabled me to develop perspectives I never had earlier. I wanted other women to feel the same. I decided to start my own company so I could harness all my creative potential to offer something really meaningful to women.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Convincing women to believe in themselves and step out of their comfort zones to travel and see the world outside. I have also had to speak to their male family members and explain to them that it is important that women travel and come back with fresh perspectives.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Today at least 15% of my callers are male family members who want to send their women folk travelling. That is ground breaking and a brand new trend.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
No one in particular. But, seeing the lives of people who are high up in the corporate ladder and earn great salaries, but have no social life outside of work inspired me to quit my job and follow my heart.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
One reason why I decided to become an entrepreneur is so that I could spend time with family along with doing work. It was a very conscious choice, especially after my previous job that allowed no time at all for family and friends.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Don’t think too much or over plan things. If you feel the urge to explore something, just do it because you never know where the roads can lead you to. Also, if you feel things are not working as per plan and feel like giving up, just hold on even if you feel there is nothing to hold on to. If you can survive tipping points, you can achieve great things.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
I met some amazing people on Couchsurfing, an online forum that connects travellers globally. I met phenomenal people who have given up everything to pursue their love for travel, young women backpacking solo across the world etc. This helped me realise that there is just so much potential, if we stop restraining ourselves and just let go. There will always be risks and dangers, but there is always a way to cross the bridge when you come to it.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
I want to raise funding so that I can take women from lower economic backgrounds, especially from villages travelling. I think there is a lot of untapped potential amongst women in villages and I want to use travelling as a tool to help them get new perspectives and come back and become leaders and agents of social change.
What does the future hold for you?
I am looking at developing new and exciting genres in travel that have not been experimented with before. For the evolved traveller, they are always looking to try out new and exciting things and I hope to deliver something cutting edge.
About Piya Bose
Piya Bose is a corporate lawyer turned founder of a travel club for women called Girls on the Go that has taken women underwater sea walking in Bali, climbing the Everest Base Camp, Northern Light spotting at Arctic Circle, expedition cruising in Antarctica, living with the erstwhile head hunters in Nagaland etc. Piya has recently been featured in a book by Penguin publications, ‘You Can Make Your Dreams Work – Inspiring Stories of 15 Innovators’. Piya has been listed by Conde Naste India as one of the 15 young entrepreneurs shaking up the travel scene in India and has spoken at TEDx on how she started a zero cash startup. GOTG has been featured in Al Jazeera, Singapore Straits, Star Malaysia and most leading newspapers and magazines in India.
Email: [email protected]
To see photos of our Antarctica trip, click here
To see photos of our Mongolia trip, click here