'Happiness lies in learning something new every day ’ – Tejaswini Gopalaswamy, traveller, entrepreneur

November 9, 2018

(The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularized by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.)

Tejaswini Gopalaswamy is the co-founder at Unventured Expeditions, an experiential travel company offering Bike, Hike and Dive tours in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and South East Asia. Her company won the Outlook Traveller Award for the Best Adventure Tour Operator in India. Unventured Expeditions is also a responsible travel initiative where travel meets environmental and wildlife conservation along with social empowerment. Here are her answers to our Proust questionnaire...

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To connect with nature as often as possible. Learning something new every day. Taking a positive step toward a self-sustainable and active lifestyle.

What is your greatest fear?
Fear itself. I fear the emotion of fear and self-doubt and the “What ifs” setting in, when embarking on new journey or idea.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Overthinking, as part my job it’s important that I think through every possible disaster even before I get on it. My mind sometimes tends to go a little overboard.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Dishonesty and judgemental attitudes.

Which living person do you most admire?

Anyone, when they are performing an act of kindness.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Sports gear and my back yard garden.

What is your current state of mind?

Excited and positive

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Sympathy. Feeling sad for someone and not doing anything to change the situation does not make sense to me.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I know it will calm the other person and encourage them towards doing something they have always wanted to do.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Honestly, nothing. I do love the way I look. Every scar, stretchmark, crinkle and wonky finger has a funny story or a memory with it.

Which living person do you most despise?

None.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

A sense of adventure, kindness and simplicity

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Same as above

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Let’s do this” and “Hell Yeah”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Adventure and entrepreneurship. I also love to create something and watch it grow.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Definitely to be able to speak multiple languages and master them quickly. The line of work I am in requires that I connect with the locals and this talent will definitely help.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Overthinking.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The greatest is yet to come. But I also think turning up and doing what you love every day, taking it one step ahead in a positive direction and making an impact toward a better economy and social structure is an achievement.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I feel such gratitude and contentment about being a commoner, a minimalist and a traveller, that I wouldn’t change a thing. Although I do wonder about popular movie stars occasionally. So maybe that.

Where would you most like to live?

India, anywhere in India. I think what makes a space or geography a home is its people. For me, I have found kindness and quirk here and it keeps me going.

What is your most treasured possession?

My time. I guard it, possess it and spend it, weighing the odds carefully.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The inability to make a choice.

What is your favourite occupation?

What I am doing right now. Good Old Bicycle Tour Guide and travel curator.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I am told I am very persistent and I believe it’s my will power to make things work and the drive to make a difference that keeps me that way.

What do you most value in your friends?

I love that they are non-judgemental. They let me be and love me for who I am in every way.  

Who are your favourite writers?
Charles Bukowski and Hemingway

Who is your hero of fiction?

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Harriet Chalmers Adams. She was an explorer, photographer and writer and went on to tell us some amazing stories in the Nat Geo magazine.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Those who are persistent and fight for what they believe in. Each and every one of those Individuals who stand their ground.

What is your favourite name?

The Mad Hatter.

What is it that you most dislike?

Failure.

What is your greatest regret?

Nothing yet, I know I’ve tried my best. I would regret not giving an opportunity my best shot.

How would you like to die?

In the mountains, outdoors, anything but staring at a ceiling

What is your favourite journey?

Life

What is your motto?

You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics. – Charles Bukowski.

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