Staff Member Spotlight: Shikhar Chadha

Title
Head of Marketing

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He is an optimistic and passionate individual, currently working at The Tarzan Way. He enjoys travelling to remote areas, learning about cultures, reading, playing his piano and adventure sports.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Back in 2016, I went to this place called Kinnaur Valley, which is in Himachal Pradesh, India. I was going to this village, Chitkul to learn more about their culture and language, when I realized that I had missed my bus. The next bus came late and it took me to Rakchham, which was a couple kilometers away from Chitkul. Note that Chitkul is the last village of India after which China starts, so I really wanted to visit that place and my time was limited. But then, the villagers in Rakchham suggested me not to hike till Chitkul since there could be wild animals on the way in the evening and it was about to get dark in a couple hours. I still felt I should consult more people, so I asked this person, Mr. Shamsher, and while he suggested the same, and we got to talking.

Apparently, we ended up talking for 3 hours straight while taking a couple rounds of the entire village. We talked about the village life, the city life, friends, people, daily routines, festivals, music, dance, weddings and what not! It was late so he offered me a place to stay in his house, but I was reluctant due to some reason. He showed me all the guest houses around and finally helped me bargain at a camp site for less than 3$. I had tea with him the next morning. I talked to many other villagers and talking to them gave me such positive vibes, I ended up staying there for another day and increasing my stay duration (because Chitkul was a must, but that's another story).

Missed a lot of work, but the experience was worth it.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I co-founded The Tarzan Way couple years back as a college student. We initially started up with an idea of a backpacking home-stay, which feels like home for any traveler in India. Though over a period of time, we realized numerous problems which travelers faced and we wanted to shift from hosting to experience-giving.

Personally, back then I was immature and new to the world of entrepreneurship. I knew about travel and I knew how I wanted to go ahead, but I had no idea how to. Over this period of time, I've met thousands of people, have had heartfelt conversations, learnt about so many different cultures, heard so many stories that have helped me learn that our world is much, much greater than what I thought or felt and we, as individuals are so complex and beautiful.

Professionally, since I was a college student I was always in a hurry, in a rush, since I've always wanted to go for "perfect", but then over a period of time, I changed in this aspect and I find myself a much more easy-going person than I thought I could be. I never felt I could put in 100 hour work weeks and yet, there I was doing it. I am always trying to push myself off my comfort zone and I'll continue to do so.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

It was during our initial days at The Tarzan Way and one of our first few participants, Diana had just finished her travel experience.

I asked her about her best part of the experience and the reason, while taking her feedback. I expected her to talk about volunteering, or meeting with the children, or maybe the yoga sessions, but her answer was a quite different, and the way she said it was really passionate and inspiring for me, as an individual.

She told me that every bit of the experience was amazing, but since she had to choose something, she would go for rafting in Rishikesh. She mentioned that she has always been protected child throughout her life. She was privileged enough to get her hands on technology since the beginning, and also she hadn't traveled much across the world. She said that this was the first time in her entire life that she was without her phone throughout the day. She said that she put her trust in the acquaintances around her and put her faith in the sea, and there she was, awestruck, with the water droplets across her face, moving across various rapids, talking and laughing, and just living in the moment. After she finished, she cried and was overwhelmed with the experience. She trusted nature, and she got the best feeling in the return. Sometimes, we just need to let go off everything and live in the moment, with our mother earth and just be mesmerized by what it has to offer.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would go for "Teach in a Village", or I would go for "Social Travel: South India", since these are the programs I connect to the most. The locations covered are enormous and quite new for me too. The travelling time is well paced according to my speed and the best part is that I get to give back to the community while I travel.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

What makes The Tarzan Way unique is that we create beautiful relationships with all of our customers. For us, there needs to be transparency in any relationship and we need to maintain the same. Our participants matter to us, and we take complete accountability of everything with their travel experience. Yes, we create unique and immersive travel experiences, but what's more special is the way we deliver them.

Last year, our salesperson, Aditya, was talking to a person who wanted to join in for India, but she was unable to join in due to certain budget constraints. He did not follow up with the other leads, and he spent the entire day and night preparing a program for her, since she was so passionate.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor for any company to become successful is intent. If you've the right intent and you're willing to go far, success will definitely follow you. It all comes down to a common vision, if everyone in the company, the employees, the interns, the investors, the customers are aligned to this common vision and mission, the company is bound to be successful. It's about believing in what you do, and it's about caring about what you do, combined with the right intent, there's a long, really long way to go.