Shenaz Treasurywala was born in a ship headed for the Suez Canal. The captain's daughter was rocked by gentle and not-so-gentle waves until she was five years old. The sailor in her refused to let go even after she found her way to the glitzy world of Bollywood.
The Ishq Vishk actor kept travelling in the interludes of shooting assignments. A well-known travel vlogger, Treasurywala talked to Onmanorama Travel during a trip to Kumarakom in Kerala.
"I want to live happily. Travels make me happy. I do not keep a count of the money I spent on travels. I do not mind saying that my ambition is to travel the world. I want to be known as a responsible traveller. I have visited more than hundred countries. I enjoy the novelties of each country. This is my tenth visit to Kerala. The taste of the karimeen is still lingering. Even after a 100 visits, I would still want to visit Kerala. It is so beautiful."
Treasurywala travels became world-famous when she started uploading videos on YouTube. She had already tasted fame as an actor, model and television host. The videos gave her an additional identity as a vlogger. Her videos on YouTube and Instagram earned hundreds of thousands of followers.
"My father is Homi Treasurywala, a captain. My mother gave birth to me during a voyage. We were travelling from one country to another until I was five years old. I was selected as an MTV VJ when I was a student of the St Xavier's College in Mumbai. That was a turning point. Once I started earning, I started my travels. I flew to all the countries to which I had voyaged in my childhood. I recorded whatever I liked.
"The support from other travellers encouraged me to shoot more. I visited more countries whenever I raised enough money for the tickets and other expenses. I started working as a model for ads at this time. My vlogs were already noted when I worked with Travel Channel and 'One Life to Live.' Then came the offers from the movies.
"Photos add to the charm of my travels. I always carry a DSLR camera and a tripod. I prepare a list of places to visit before I set out. My first task after reaching each place is to look for a place to position the camera. As I shoot, I describe the place in my own style. Shooting became easier after I bought a remote-controlled camera.
"I visited Kerala along with my parents. We went to Alappuzha and Munnar. The second time was for an MTV programme. That is when I first watched a Chinese fishing net. Bathing with coconut oil was another unforgettable experience for a person like me who grew up in Mumbai. Each time I returned from Kerala, I put on at least five kilograms. I stop dieting when I am in Kerala. I eat without limits.
"The fish curry and tapioca in Kerala are that tasty. The backwaters, paddy fields, coconut farms and banana plantations are unique to Kerala. The friendly people and tasty cuisine make me want to come back every time. I went for ayurveda massage twice. The traditional medicines were refreshing for body and mind.
"Whether I travel in the Americas, Europe or Asia, it does not make a difference to me. If you ask me which is my favourite country, I can’t reply you. Even deserts are interesting if you take them in in their own way. I like doing yoga on the beaches of Mexico and lounge by the legendary structures of Indonesia.
"I went for a swim in the sea when I visited the Maldives. I shopped in New York. I took pictures with African villagers. Diving, dining, swimming with dolphins...each country offers unique experiences. You have to visit a country to understand how special it is. I was excited to go to Greece. That country is a living monument to an ancient culture. Its residents created wonders many centuries before we were born. You can take in the sights undisturbed as a solo traveller.
"I am a foodie. I do not mind if I am served rice or potatoes. I make it a point to taste the local specialities. If I like it, I keep eating it even after I am full. When I go to China, I order tea first. The Chinese tea is very contending. If I go to Canada, I chat up the people. They value friendships.
"I was not born into a rich family. I earn my living. As I told you earlier, travels make me happy. Brave women can travel anywhere in the world. I have travelled in more than 100 countries and I was not harassed even once. But I often think of what happens in our country. Can a woman walk alone in India after 3 am. When a woman was molested in a Uber car in Delhi, I wrote to prime minister Narendra Modi to ensure the safety of women. He did not reply but the letter was shared on social media by about 25 lakh people.