How Did A One Year Old Travel To Six Different Countries?
The answer is Aakanksha Bhargava. Meet this inspiring mompreneur and solo traveller, who goes on frequent business trips around the world along with her baby – making memories along the way! Read on!
By Siddiqha Naseem
You are the trip I did not take,
you are the pearls I could not buy,
you are my blue Italian lake,
you are my piece of foreign sky.
- Anna Campbell
Will mothers today recite this poem or rewrite it?
Travelling to a foreign land with a baby may seem like a herculean task for most new mothers. Why not, the challenges are as such. Yet, if you are up for the game, meet this inspiring mom – Aakanksha Bhargava, who holds a high-flying job as CEO of a relocation company and a non-paying job (but fulfilling) as a doting mother to her little angel. Leading by example, her job demands travelling for business across the globe. However, even after becoming a mom, she makes no compromise to her roles, and balances mommyhood and work effortlessly.
Aakanksha became a mother to a beautiful daughter, Samaira in 2018. Winning over a difficult pregnancy, a pre-term delivery and several other complications, Aakanksha was back to work in just 32 days. She never let Samaira stop her from pursuing her career. In fact, Aakanksha has popularly busted the myth that children hinder a woman’s career by making many works trips across India and the world, Samaira in tow.
In fact, the little bud has accompanied her mother on 20 odd trips, 53 flights, 7 conferences and over 100 + business meetings. Not to forget the many wonderful days at her office in India where work goes on and so does play. For this, Aakanksha has set up an individual baby room within the office to effectively manage and balance her work and motherhood.
Aakanksha's zeal and passion for managing both her baby and work has been an inspiration for many. She has voiced very strongly for women at work and is now a popular speaker at many forums to talk about it. She Is passionate about sharing her blogs, views, videos on several trivial topics around entrepreneurship, success/failure, being a mother, work-life balance, travelling with a toddler and a lot more topics that are relevant in today’s dynamic work environment. She is a strong advocate of supporting women and young minds and sharing life experiences to create a better world.
On women having to choose between passion and responsibilities, Aakanksha boldly chips in:
“I am not sure why women are asked to make a choice between their passions and a child. There cannot be a choice, why can’t a woman have it all if she is prepared for it and really wants it.”
Here, are excerpts from the interview:
You are an inspiring mompreneur to many mothers. How do you split your hours between managing baby and work?
I think both are priorities at different times of the day. As a mother, one must make the right call on what has to be prioritised when. For me, both go hand in hand, and has to be managed effectively.
How many countries have you visited so far with your daughter? Which one was the most memorable and why?
I have visited 6 countries with Samaira to date. The most memorable one was our time in New York where we spent a lot of quality time together. She completely enjoyed Central park, Brooklyn bridge park and felt carefree amongst nature and fresh air. Apart from that, Dubai was her first international trip, hence that will always be very memorable to us.
Is it difficult to travel with a baby? How do you manage her routine?
Yes, it’s very difficult to travel with a baby because following a daily routine is a very important part of their life. Nowadays, Samaira doesn’t sleep on long flights so the flight timings need to be planned according to her routine. When traveling, I first ensure that I prepare my daughter before boarding the flight for a mess-free and comfortable flight. A tip for parents is to always carry their child’s comfort toy/food/item with them. We carried her feeding pillow everywhere for her to feel comfortable. Her stroller has also been a very important part of the journey. Furthermore, breastfeeding is the key for the comfort of baby. And if someone is not able to do that, then stocking up extra milk with a breast pump is a good idea.
When you travel on business how do you manage your work/meetings/baby?
I try my best to plan meetings around her schedule. Thankfully I have a wonderful set of clients, colleagues, and families who understand me. I have taken her for meetings at clients’ offices and excused myself to nurse her in a meeting room when she was hungry.
What is the best and worst part of it all?
The best part is that I get to spend a lot of time with her. The worst part is that, despite all the effort, you can still get everything wrong because each day is unpredictable. So it's very important to prioritize your baby‘s comfort first.
Do you have any interesting stories around Samaira and her travel episodes?
Yes, I do! Off late, the moment Samaira sits in a plane, she immediately looks out for the seat belt and tries to buckle it up. She walks up to every other passenger and says hello. Once on a flight, she was so charged up and was enjoying her time around. Just then a pilot who was passing by was intrigued by her. He was so happy that he took off his wing badge and gave it to her as a souvenir.
Your travel diaries are inspiring indeed. When did the travel bug first bite you?
The travel bug first bit me when I started travelling for work at 21. Before I knew it I was doing solo trips as early as when I was 22. Travelling around the world stirred in me the curiosity to visit different places and explore the pulse of the cities.
Take us through your success journey. And did motherhood change any of it? If yes, what?
I was born in Kolkata, India into a business family. When I was just 7 years old, my family relocated to Delhi where I graduated from the illustrious Hindu College. I went on to pursue my MBA from the world-renowned SP Jain School of Management (Singapore and Dubai). Today, as the CEO of PMR, I feel I am leading one of the most exciting and fastest-growing businesses in India. P.M. Relocations (PMR). PMR is a Small-Medium Enterprise –a one-stop solution for mobility needs, with respect to anybody relocating within India or overseas.
I was blessed with my daughter, Samaira Bawa, in August 2018. Since then I have found a new motivation to achieve bigger things and cross bigger milestones I feel women shouldn’t be made to choose between their passion and their responsibilities as a new mom. We (mother and daughter) have made over 20 odd trips covering six countries, 53 flights, 7 conferences and over 100 + business meetings to keep up with my work schedule. Yes, motherhood has definitely made me a better version of myself. Everything that I wanted to or been planning to do, my daughter has inspired me to go for it.
What is your advice to new mothers who are looking to travel with their newborns? Any time-tested handy tips?
I think with time as you understand your child, and know what works and what doesn’t it becomes extremely easily to travel with the children. Each child is different and has different set of needs. I have learnt that she cannot do without her comfort food and favourite toys. I also carry her feeding pillow and an extra pair of clothes to make her travel a breeze.
So, there you go, that’s Aakanksha for you! The story of a one-year-old traveller, who has explored six countries already. This could be the best inspiration for mothers who are still thinking whether to travel or not. If you are one of them, it’s about time you go for it!
About the author:
Written by Siddiqha Naseem on 28 January 2020.
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