Travel Diaries: Actor Taapsee Pannu stays in touch with reality

June 16, 2018

“It’s a wrap,” … that’s the cue for actor and entrepreneur Taapsee Pannu to take off to a new destination every time she completes shooting for a movie. Taapsee travels extensively but not to just see new places and take a break, but more importantly, to stay in touch with reality.

Bridging time gaps, I caught up with her over a call, as she is abroad shooting for yet another movie.

Find out more about Taapsee’s favourite destinations, what travelling really means to her as she shares some anecdotes of her travels and some travel tips with me.

Taapsee Pannu loves beaches and enjoys scuba divin

Staying grounded

“For me, travel is about getting in touch with reality and that’s how I really use it. It is so easy to get carried away with the fanfare and attention you receive, that somewhere down the line, you start feeling that you are somebody who is supposed to be treated in a certain way. Then, when you go and stand in those immigration lines, security checks, and queue up for a table outside a restaurant, you get a reality check.” 

So travel helps her stay grounded, and be in touch with reality and feel normal.

It is also something that helps her step away from the film industry and the people she is continuously surrounded by. “In some ways, it also helps me grow,” she says.

Call of the ocean

The moment she lays her eyes on water, she feels a wave of relaxation sweeping through her.

Though she enjoys travelling to Europe, her all-time favourite vacation destination is the Maldives, as she is a beach person. “I think it is heaven. I remember the few days I spent there after my first film released. I got my scuba diving license and discovered a whole new world underwater. I could see an infinite view of the ocean as I was living in an ocean villa. It was just amazing.”

Of all her travels, this trip to Maldives is her most unforgettable one. For one, it was her sister’s birthday and the girls enjoyed a dinner on a private island. “The ambience was great, we had a butler serving us, a live kitchen and grill,” she recalls. “The setting was just amazing. It’s a visual I will always remember.”

Of course there is no comparison between holiday and work travel, and she is quick to point that out. “On a holiday, there are no alarms, nowhere to reach on time, no one to ask you questions or no goals to achieve. But work travel is totally different from taking a break or a vacation,” she says.

Taapsee likes to walk while on vacati

Bucket List

Taapsee reveals that she can’t take the cold climate, despite growing up in Delhi. “Winter freezes my brain,” she says. So the weather of a place is a crucial deciding factor for her when she chooses a vacation destination. Next on her bucket list is New Zealand. Her schedules permitting, she may make a beeline for it and escape the Indianwinter this year. “Our winters mean summer in New Zealand, and that’s the only time I can visit,” she says.

Of the relatively less popular destinations, the one that she recently visited is Seville, popular for its flamenco dancing, which is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. 

“Most tourists hit Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid, while Seville, though not hidden or unknown, is relatively less explored.” Talking about her own trip to Seville, she shares, “You feel you are in a sort of fairytale city when you reach there. The cobbled streets and the single storey houses give it an old world charm.”

In India, she is yet to visit the North East, but as much as she has seen of India, so far she enjoys Kerala and its backwaters, the ocean always beckoning her. “I am a huge fan of the backwaters, the beaches, the sea and its beauty,” she confesses.

Partner in crime

Shagun and Taapsee Pannu

Taapsee doesn’t mind travelling solo, but has a great travelling companion in her sister, Shagun Pannu. Shagun, Taapsee and their friend are co-founders of a wedding planning startup called the The Wedding Factory. Since Shagun is her own boss, it gives her the flexibility to travel with Taaspee.

Taapsee’s travel tips

It is my thumb rule that I don’t go to the same restaurant twice, even if I have to walk a kilometer or two. “I experiment with food and explore new places and even if I am staying in a hotel, I won’t eat there more than once,” she says.

According to Taapsee, the best way to explore a city is by going local. “Walk as much as you can. I rarely take a taxi. Until and unless I am dying or my feet are hurting, I don’t get into a taxi. I love the local transport and use the trains, the trams etc., because that is the only way I am going to see the city.” To make that easy and smooth, she advises that it's good to not just wear comfortable pair of shoes for all the walking, but also go by train, and use metro cards to make the travel smoother.

Taapsee enjoys travelling with a companion

Whether it is an Airbnb, a boutique hotel or a luxury villa, she says, “The location is important. You need to be in the city centre to stay connected and ease of movement and connectivity.”

She mostly plans all her travels and uses travel-friendly apps that help her keep track of travel and plan her time better.

The one thing that she and her sister keep away from are museums. “We aren’t into museums, so we prefer monuments and places of interest to spending a day at the museum.”

 When bringing back things and shopping, Taapsee’s advice...

“Pick up things that are unique to that country, whether its shoes, clothes, accessories or some other mementoes. Don’t go and start shopping from retail chains that you shop from back home. Explore the local markets, because what they have to offer, you will not find anywhere."

And what does she bring back from her travels to remind her of the place, “A fridge magnet,” she says, “I buy a magnet from every city, or state, or country I visit.”

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