From a software engineer to a YouTuber, Priyanka Chandola is going places with her ‘Desi Girl Traveller’ channel on social media platforms.
A Rebel at heart and always wanting to do something extra, Priyanka Chandola rediscovers herself as the Desi Girl Traveller. She creates content on travel in the digital space with the aim to break societal norms. Here’s a look at her journey.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I have been working since 2007 and have worked in Corporates & Startups, but never really felt happy in those places.
Hailing from a small town in India where girls are not allowed to do much, I was always a rebel and wanted to do something extra. I was very sure that I wanted to create something in the digital space.
After being fired from a few jobs because of my headstrong attitude, I was fortunate to get on a project under UNICEF Nepal. After surviving Nepal’s earthquake in 2015, I landed back to India in very bad shape. While nothing was working out on the personal front, a friend of mine helped me get a job at a production house. While working at that place, I learned a lot about video making and slowly realized that I can start my own YouTube channel.
However, it took me almost 1.5 years to start with it as I was too doubtful about-facing the camera. But, in 2018 I decided to quit my job and invest all my savings in creating something by myself for myself. That’s how it started.
I have genuinely struggled a lot to be in the space I am in today. I wanted to break this notion that ‘small-town girls can not do a lot of things’. Videos help you connect with the audience in the best possible way.
What’s in the name?
DESI GIRL TRAVELLER – This name itself is so close to my heart. Again this small town girl, raised in a conservative family, broke a lot of social norms and chose to travel solo.
One thing girls in India are told – “don’t go alone anywhere, you won’t be safe, etc.”. I wanted to break that notion as well. Hence, I chose to travel and document my journey. So, it’s the Desi Girl traveling to different parts of India and doing desi things.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
There is no dearth of content in the online world today. You choose any topic and you have thousands of articles and videos on that topic.
I always believe that your audience watches your content because of you. Therefore, I always put that ME element in all my videos. I am 100% me when I am presenting a place or a trip on the camera.
The audience seeks real content, something that is not too polished (because one can’t connect well with polished content). You will see my puffy face in all my videos when I have just woken up to shoot a sunrise, or a tanned face and many other ‘real’ things.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I barely make content on current topics. My content is evergreen. For example – if someone has to go to Manali from Delhi, that someone could be anyone throughout the year.
99% of my content is destination-oriented and not something related to the current happenings in the world.
I plan my travel weeks in advance and then research the place. Half of my videos have my planned itinerary and the rest half goes real-time. I usually try to make 2-3 videos on one destination.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
It’s mostly YouTube Ads, and then brands also pay me to feature their products. I mostly work with hospitality brands.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
All my videos follow a certain way of presentation. Like I said above- your audience watches the content because of you. So, I don’t experiment much on the content presentation front.
I have a format and I fit in every product (destination, hotel, restaurants, etc.) in that format. I don’t entertain brand interference much in my content making because I believe “we as content creators know better what works for our audience”.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
I have many but I remember my first meeting with a girl in Delhi metro. She just came and hugged me saying “I can’t believe that I can see you in real. I just wanted to tell you that I am able to gather the courage to travel solo, and convince my parents for it just because of you”.
Meeting my subscribers always makes me happy because then, I know how much I am able to influence others with my work.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
None so far.
If not blogging, you would be?
Be a travel content writer.
A day in your life…
I wake up at 5 AM and make a cup of tea for me. Spend almost an hour with my tea. I call it my METeaing (meeting) time. I keep myself away from any sort of distraction in that one hour.
Then, I make a list of things that need to be done in the day and get into editing my videos. I usually start editing at 9 AM and then end the work by 6 PM. In between the editing, I also reply to emails, do a few Instagram posts. I go to the gym or for a walk at 6.30 and am pretty much relaxed after that. Come home, make dinner, eat, reply to all the comments on my videos and then go to bed.
When I am travelling then I am shooting almost for 16-17 hours/day and I do not have a routine at that time.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
It’s a lonely space. You are going to be your boss, critic, and your audience in the beginning. Accept that.
The digital space is already so crowded but then people are always looking for a fresh face or fresh content. Find your passion and start creating content around it. It will be exhausting and too demotivating in the beginning but know that all the hard work and demotivation will bring you rewards in a year and that reward would be so beautiful.
Also, one additional tip: don’t get into making videos for the sake of money because you are not going to earn it instantly. The waiting time is too long. Choose your passion and start blogging/vlogging along with your job because you would need to have a steady source of income to support your passion.
I quit my job when I started Youtube because I had saved money for it.
Your Favorite Influencer
Mostlysane (Prajakta Koli) and ‘Hey Nadine’.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
The sky is the limit but I have defined the limit of my sky. I want to own an online travel/shopping brand in the future.