Tuesday Talk with... Aishwarya Shah from Gemtrack
To me, Instagram is a source of inspiration and a way to connect like-minded people. And one day, poof, Gemtrack's Instagram Profile appeared in my searching, and I've been curious about the platform and the brave, conscious travel-savvy eco-warriors behind it, ever since. Today, I'm proudly introducing to you Aish from GEMTRACK.
Please introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from, where are you based and… what’s your biggest passion?
My name is Aishwarya Shah, I’m more commonly known as Aish and I’m Gemtrack’s first-ever employee! I’ve held various titles since the inception of the platform, the one I’m currently toting is Content & Community Manager. I’m based in Goa, India’s tiniest state and I can’t imagine being happier anywhere else. My biggest passion is bringing people together through unique experiences in order to facilitate change. This could take on many forms - a quirky dinner party, a zero-waste festival or an alternative slow and sustainable travel platform that connects you to the most offbeat and inspiring places around the world!
What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you?
Sustainability to me has to encompass whole systems' thinking. Ecosystems are sustained by preserving each aspect of what makes the whole. In terms of travel, this means acknowledging and uplifting all the stakeholders involved in the process to form a larger grid or a network of positive impact. This includes travellers, travel businesses like accommodations & cafes and most importantly: the local community that calls your holiday destination their home!
How do your personal values influence your professional choices?
I’m a devoted eco-warrior and I believe that powerful storytelling can change the way we organize and situate ourselves in the world. To do our bit in filling the void around climate-positive stories, we try to bring the right sort of storytelling into the fray as much as possible. Highlighting local traditions, giving voices to marginalized individuals to tell their own stories and so on. These stories have the capacity to foster much change and as a writer, I believe it’s one of the most valuable things that we can offer.
In what way can travel help us become more sustainable/live more consciously?
Travel exposes us to new microworlds - alternate ways of dressing, ritualizing, convening, cooking, consuming etc. Every new destination takes us on a journey through their culture’s relationship to objects, ideas and values. On the road, we’re more exposed to the state of global disrepair that has happened as a result of centuries of exploitation. On holiday, we’re at our most open and receptive as we’re free from major responsibilities and routines and can truly grasp in these learnings. It’s up to us then, how to transform these learnings into positive practices in our lives.
What kind of sustainable practice do you feel most inspired by?
How can we influence the masses to act positively and see the bigger picture - this is the question that keeps me up at night. For me, it’s always going to be regenerative, community-oriented practices that are most inspiring. How we can heal ourselves, heal the earth and joyfully build a resilient community that can through love and compassion take on the climate crisis head-on.
Tell me three things you’re most grateful for today!
I’m grateful for the coven of women I have around me, besides being radically inspiring, they’re also the warmest, kindest souls and restore my faith in humanity whenever it goes awry. I’m grateful for the South Goan jungles that have turned me into a wild child, the heaving Banyan trees that have nestled me as I climbed high enough to glimpse the sea, and the birds that trill in the highest branches. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend my days pursuing various projects that are committed to preserving the natural world and building communities - I couldn’t imagine doing anything more rewarding with my life.
Don't forget to check out GEMTRACK on Instagram!