Q & A with Travel Writer Mital Shah
Well Souled — Brasil
Mital Shah’s second coffee-table travel book — the first one was on South Africa — captures the spirit of Brazil and takes readers on a brilliant pictorial journey through the South American country. She talks to us about her endeavour and passion for travel.
What was the inspiration behind Well Souled?
Well Souled was about challenging the notion that sexy and cool could not coexist with warm and loving. It was about stirring the pot, combining the sophisticated visual language of fashion that surrounded me at work (the ‘well’) with the spontaneity, authenticity and natural beauty that marked my travels (the ‘soul’). This was an elusive mix back then (and still a tricky one to get right now). It is also a tribute to my mentor, who was the first to impress upon me that fashion and style are not one and the same.
What does it mean to be a global citizen?
It means moving effortlessly around the globe, demonstrating cultural sensitivity and amassing an impressive collection of passport stamps. Often unrecognised, however, is the global citizen next door — one who stays close to home but maintains an open mind. The common thread is acceptance.
What do roots mean for a traveller?
Roots — however you define them — provide ballast for a traveller. They are the reference points that inform your experience, or on the basis of which you react when you travel. Roots are fluid, although some stand the test of time. Being in India reminds me that my roots are very much here. It provides powerful context for my travels.
What does travel mean to you?
For me, it means letting your guard down. Travel invites you to open up to the sights, sounds, tastes, customs, ideas and opinions that you are immersed in. It also challenges you to internalise what you are experiencing. You leave thinking and feeling differently. In that sense, travel provokes you.