When Paulomi Bhatt realised most women don’t make as many excursions as they want to, she started a Dubai-based travel consultancy — for women, by women. Anyone who has ever travelled will agree that it is a character-building experience. It opens your eyes to new cultures, cuisines, clothing and people. It also allows you to experience, first hand, some of the best — and worst — things our planet has to offer. And in the end, it leaves you worldlier and more confident than ever before. Then again, travelling is also a privilege. It takes time, money and, more importantly, a support system that is willing to accompany you to the far-reaches of the globe or one that will be happy to encourage you to go on your own. For whatever reasons, many find themselves unable to travel to his or her heart’s content. And it intrigued Paulomi Bhatt when she noticed that a lot of women especially had that complaint.
“It started out innocently, while chatting with women at parties,” the Dubai resident explains. “The topic turns to travelling, and there’s this instant look of envy that flashes across everyone’s face. That’s when I began to realise that a lot of women really want to travel, but many don’t get the opportunity to do so. Of course, they go for business trips and family holidays, but I was increasingly finding that a lot of the women had never actually been on a holiday with someone who wasn’t family. They’d tell me that they wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
Which is why she decided to take matters into her own hands and create The World at Her Feet, a travel consultancy that helps like-minded women explore locales without having to worry about the hassles of holidaying alone. Formed in 2013, the response so far has been amazing, says Paulami, and although she claims they haven’t yet ticked off all the places on their bucket list, they’ve been to over 20 countries since they began — from Bali and Georgia to China and Iceland. Much of that success can be attributed to Paulomi herself, who is an avid traveller and its key driving force.
Having grown up in London, Japan and India, she discovered her passion for travel at a young age, although the opportunity to explore on her own never quite presented itself — until she started working. “As part of Oberoi Hotel’s sales and marketing team, I had to go to all these different locales for work,” she explains. “I realised that reading about a destination or seeing a movie or flipping through a magazine could never capture the essence of a place… Travelling is such a learning experience. It is about being responsible for yourself — telling yourself to get your act together and onto that plane! It also gives you a load of confidence.