I always put that ME element in all my videos: Priyanka Chandola, DesiGirl Traveller

Priyanka Chandola

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.

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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.

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Dear TRAVEL – I imagined you as a person a couple of years back and you made me fall in love with you with all your charm. You make me love you more as the day passes by, as the moments change from one after another. More I get to know you, more I fall in love with you. More I get to feel you, more I crave for you. I don't really know how love truly feels like but I do feel something very different when you are around. Every single day, every single moment, I feel you in my heart, in my bones, in every strand of my hair, under my skin,in the tone of my voice. I feel you all over me so much that i don't know what would remain in me if someone takes you out frome me. Those who say that love is always about being with the other person, they haven't really fallen in love with all their being yet. I think, Love is all about the feeling that my world is better just because you live in it.. . . Dear TRAVEL, I make the most of our relationship when you are with me and long for you even more when I take a break from you. In happiness or sadness, always remember that even when we aren't together, even when you aren’t here with me, know that you are the air I breathe,invisible yet everywhere. I LOVE YOU ♥️♥️. . . . #Darjeeling #darjeeling_diaries #childhoodmemories #westbengal #silliguri #desigirltraveller #wanderlust #wanderingsoul #digitalnomad #wandering #wanderer #indiangirltravels #indianyoutuber #delhi_igers #delhivlogger #mytravelgram #mytraveldiary #travellingsolo #traveler #travelawesome #travelingram #travelphotography #travel #traveladdict

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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. 

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A note from a village girl who packed her bags 19 years ago, left her home with just one dream in her eyes "to make her own identity". . . Today, as I am drafting this post, I am sitting with my parents and we all are talking about how stubborn I was as a kid, as a teenager and how I didn't listen to any of them to create a world on my own for myself. I messed it up countless times but I never ever gave up. Today, I am in a very happy state of mind, living in my own tiny world that belongs only to me, and what makes me feel extremely happy and proud is the fact that I have carved each and every inch of my world all by myself. So, what does it take to turn a dream into reality? . . The first thing is to have a solid dream for yourself. Second is a strong desire to work and then comes the PERSISTENCE. You should believe in yourself and in the possibility to realize your dreams more than anyone else. There is an end to any action, but it is up to you whether to end it by giving up or by achieving a result. Any wall, no matter how strong and thick, can be knocked down with consistency and persistence. And thus to achieve your dream you need to persist, even be stubborn in not letting anything to move you out of your way. No matter how hard anyone discourages you and no matter how long it takes and how tired it makes, you need to persist and keep going. Only you know what it feels like to achieve your dream and if you ever feel like giving up – take a moment and remember the moment that you imagined when you had achieved your dream. It will give you another boost to keep trying until you knock all the obstacles down and get on a clear path to success. . . DREAM ON! And never SETTLE for LESS . . This picture was taken during my recent trip to #Bhutan with @triphawker – one of my dream destinations. . . #bhutan_ig #bhutanography #bhutantourism #bhutandiaries #bhutanese #Thimpu #paro #happysoul #smilealways #digitalnomadgirls #digitalnomad #wanderlust #wandering #wanderer #desigirltraveller #happygirlsaretheprettiest #indiangirltravels #indiantravelblogger #indiangirlwander #indianyoutuber #delhivlogger #bhutantrip #mytravelgram #mytravel #traveladdict #traveldiaries

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The biggest nightmare of any YouTuber or let me rather say, one thing that happens in every YouTuber's life – Hard drive crash or card getting corrupted out of nowhere. Never in the last 1.5 years of my YouTube journey, I had lost any data that I shot. This time it happened and I am feeling extremely disturbed cause of that. I shot a video a few weeks back at a destination and I was knowing that it would make a killer and interesting video for you all. . . . Yesterday, when I placed myself on my editing desk with a thought of getting started on edit, I found out that the data has been corrupted and it can't be recovered. Yes, I did try my best to recover it. I sat in anguish for almost 2 hours, sweating and clueless – didn't know what to do. I was more sad about my effort of shooting that video being wasted – it wasn't easy to shoot that video. I had to read thru a lot of historical facts and information just to make that video valuable for you guys. . . . My 3 days of effort in shooting one video went waste. After a few hours of me being extremely disturbed, I decided to take a few days off and go to that same destination and shoot the video all over again. I had an option to skip it but my soul didn't agree to it. I won't be at peace until I shoot the video and release it for you guys to watch. This is what my weekend is going to be. . . . To be honest, I felt extremely angry on myself but later extremely happy knowing that how my soul doesn't let me give up even when my mind says "Priyanka, ab bas bhi Kar de yaar" . I am so proud of the person I have evolved in. Never Give up – my motto of life (willingly or unwillingly ?). . . #desigirltraveller #youtuberslife #dailystruggles #lifestory #lifelessons #wanderlust #wandering #indiantravelblogger #indiangirltravels #travelvlogger #traveler #travelvlog #indiangirlwander #struggle #dailylife #travellingsolo #travelingram #traveladdict

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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.