"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

Views & Interviews

Q&A: In conversation with Saif Omar and Faiza Khan of The Musafir Stories

April 2019

The Musafir Stories (TMS) is hosted by Bangalore-based couple Saif Omar and Faiza Khan. Saif has worked in the software services and financial services industry most of his professional life, and was based in the USA. He quit about three years ago, moving back to India and joining the family business. Saif’s wife Faiza is the co-host on TMS and currently works as a Team Lead with a software MNC in Bangalore. Faiza is also an avid baker and inspired crafter of hand-made organic soaps.

Both Saif and Faiza are amateur travelers and love exploring new places whenever time permits. Over to our conversations with Saif Omar and Faiza Khan:

Talk to us about your personal journeys, how did the podcast happen?

When we moved back to India, I was looking to consume local podcasts but the options were limited. That's when we wondered about giving podcasting a shot - even though neither of us has any background in media/journalism, or even full-time travel for that matter.

As kids, most of us have grown up on the culture of listening to stories from grandparents and elders. We can fondly recall sharing first-hand experiences about travel and life in general, with classmates and friends. The culture of story-telling and listening is deep-wired in us.

Looking at TMS at an idea stage, we thought that there might be an audience for casual and informal conversations about travel experiences, especially when pro-travelers can add tips, tricks and hacks to their conversations. That's how The Musafir Stories was born - it began as a passion project and continues to be so.

What do you think makes The Musafir Stories different?

Our podcast is fair game for anyone who has some interest in travel or otherwise. Since it's not niche genre as such, listeners don't necessarily need a lot of background or context to tune into these conversations, thus making it perfect content to consume passively. Anyone, from a youngster who is looking to explore India, to a working professional who is looking at winding down and being away from work, is a potential listener.

To make things different, we try to cover various facets of travel, right from popular destinations, city guides, weekend itineraries, experiences that cover mountains, wildlife and beaches, to activities like trekking, adventure and road trips. We also have other features of interest on our platform for our Indian audiences - like volunteering, slow travel and offbeat travel.

We started this as a passion project primarily to make more people aware about India and what it has to offer through conversations with some very interesting people – conversations that are both informative and easy on the ear. If this does inspire someone to get off the couch and look at new horizons, then we’ve done some good. (Maybe even over-achieved!) 

What travel content do you feature on your fast-growing platform?

We have been blessed to showcase a host of top travel bloggers and story tellers such as Shivya Nath (The Shooting Star), Anuradha Goyal (Inditales), and adventure junkies like mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta and Sachin Bhandary (Eccentrips). We also feature travel entrepreneurs such as Vishwas Raj (Adventure Sindbad) and Vineet Rajan (Scout my trip). And yes, we also feature folks who unconditionally love travel!

Over the years we have covered destinations from across India, while managing to focus on different travel genres such as slow travel, volunteering, solo backpacking, bike touring, cycling, road trips, adventure trips, heritage walks and more – giving our listeners a flavor of the interesting options out there.

TMS has come a long way - what are your plans for the future?

We are now planning special episodes that are theme based – for example, covering UNESCO world heritage sites in India, or a series on traveling in a particular state. We’re also looking at diversifying into adventure-based travel stories that are distinctly audio experiences rather than just conversations.

In addition to this, we're looking at a pilot episode of The Musafir Stories in Hindi - to gauge interest levels. Our progress has been slow due to the fact that we've only been able to dedicate week nights and weekends to this project, but hopefully we'll get there soon! (In the medium term, this will hopefully keep us occupied.)

The long term goal is to sustain interest and grow the platform – by covering the length and breadth of India as long as we can. Hopefully we will figure out a way to build on our passion project, while offering content that our audiences would want to listen to, and come back for more.

One final question – what do you think of timeshare as a vacation platform?

I personally do not have timeshare as yet, but it is something I have been considering for some time now. There are people in my extended family who have a timeshare plan and they have nothing but great things to say about it. In fact, I had the opportunity to join them on one of their vacations to experience the convenience, comfort and benefits of timeshare . . . first hand.

I also like the range of options that some of the bigger players offer to customers - you don't have to limit yourself to a specific kind of destination. From beach fronts to forests, mountains to hill stations, there are wide-ranging options for the consumer to make vacation time really worthwhile. I foresee a huge uptick in this space as people start seeing value for money in timeshare ownership.


The Musafir Stories

You can find TMS podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Audioboom, Spotify, RSS, and Stitcher

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