June 6, 2023

Ashwini Neetan on hopping miles

Recently there was a debate on how the sari is just more than an Indian garment after a New york publication spoke in length on the attire. It is of course a reality that many urban Indian women have adopted to various attire forms and we are not here to judge any attire. However many of us like in our daily lives pack our bags with assorted styles of clothing but rarely with a saree, especially if it is a vacation overseas.

But one mum managed to catch the attention of top magazines with her pictures from Iceland. It was also the saree that made strangers open their hearts and talk to her on India.

We are here to introduce you to Ashwini Neetan from Hopping miles, a mum who has loved to travel. She has her travel blog and she did get covered in media as she chose to wear a saree at amazing travel destinations like Iceland and Sweden. Read on to know more on an interesting mum.

Talking about herself, Ashwini shares with Mums and Stories, “I was a very obedient child at school and college. I was very good at academics and would often emerge out as a topper. Apart from studies, I was a good leader too. I was the captain of my house at school and won many accolades for my team.

As a child, I used to be very curious about different places and cultures. Unfortunately, due to my father’s busy business schedule, we couldn’t travel much expect for a few neighboring states in India. But it was after my marriage is when I got to travel to different corners of my country and abroad as my husband is a travel freak too.

I realized my love for travel was more than checking into a place in Facebook. My heart would jump in joy while my mind would note all the beautiful experiences. I feel liberated and delve deep into thoughts when I travel to new places. I had a zest for photography from my college time. When my husband Neetan gifted me a DSLR before our first real long drive from Bangalore to Rajasthan, my passion was rekindled.

I used to do a lot of research on a place before we embark on a new journey. So, when I quit my job as a software engineer to take care of my son, I used to grow restless in my free time. So, Neetan suggested why shouldn’t I begin a blog where I could share the information and experiences I had. It surely seemed as a good idea.

I used to have a personal blog when I was in college, so writing came naturally to me and I thought a travel blog was the best platform to combine my passion to write, click and share and thus Hopping Miles (http://hoppingmiles.com) was born.

What started as a hobby has now become a profession and this is one thing which keeps me excited all the time. Apart from writing in my own blog, I write about travel for some major newspapers and magazines.

Talking of my attire in Iceland, yes, I did wear saree on my trip to Iceland and Sweden this year. It began this way that last year, when we had been on a family trip to Europe, my mother-in-law wore a saree as she has been, every single day of her life since she was married. People abroad loved it and would often stop us to talk about sarees, India and click pictures with her. We met and spoke with so many people all because of a saree. This made me think of this as means of connecting with people who love our country, culture and respect they have for it. So, I took a plunge and wore it on my travels and reaction of people has made an immense impact on me and reassured me of my decision.

In my opinion, saree  is an attire which compliments an Indian woman and makes her look so beautiful that can beat any western look. And as for my views on Indian women wearing sarees on their trip abroad, well, though I wish many people do it, I can’t give a statement that they must and should do it as each person’s comfort level with a saree is different. But I wish many people do it 🙂

My son is a travel freak too. As he was introduced to travel from a very young age, he has got used to it and will eagerly look forward for the next trip. Be it 2 AM or 4, he wakes up in a jiffy on hearing the word ‘Trip’. So, waking him up is never a problem. But, he is a fussy eater.

So, when we go out, I go easy on his eating schedule and try to give him food he likes. There is no point in pressurizing the child to eat what he/she used to eat every day at home. Instead of stressing both the parent and child, I suggest that parents should not be worried that the child hasn’t eaten his/her daily dose of fruits or snacks. Try giving the children what they like.


Make sure that they eat something but not necessarily what you wanted them to have. If in case the child resists eating anything at all, then have a box handy. Put some food which the child likes and keep it in your purse. After sometime, when the child gets hungry or when they throw tantrums, then give the food to comfort the kid. It is also recommended to go to a particular destination by taking weather into consideration. Plan in such a way that the weather isn’t too hot nor too cold for the child and carry clothes that suit the weather.”

Talking about a  few myths being burst due to travel, Ashiwini shares, “ While doing some research for my Italy trip, I remember reading somewhere that Italians are very cold and not so helpful which turned out to be totally false. Every stranger we encountered in Italy was very helpful to us and though there was a language barrier as they didn’t know English and we didn’t know  Italian – yet they would go out of their way to help us. This happened to us not once but many times in our 16 day trip to Europe.”

As an avid traveller Ashwini has a word of advice for others, “I  recommend everyone especially women to travel because there is a lot of difference in culture, practices, nature and people in every corner of the world. In spite of these diversities we all live together in this world as a human race. The world is a book. There is a lesson learnt in every travel. Also while you are on a trip, rather than just skimming through sightseeing places try and not miss observing and learning from local people and their habits.

According to me, there is no such thing as one best place. Every place is unique and has its own charm. But, my favourite place in India is Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan and abroad, I love Europe 🙂

Lastly motherhood has added more joy into my life. I have never once felt that traveling with my kid has reduced my experiential feeling in my travels. It has made me more responsible and alert. Yes, now we choose destinations which are child friendly or the ones where we have confidence that we can manage our naughty monster.”

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