‘Travelling is my default setting. My dad jokes that I have wheels at the bottom of my feet': Lara Dutta
With her father in Indian Air Force, Lara Dutta Bhupathi’s childhood was about travelling from one airbase to another but the model-turned-actress has no qualms about it. In fact, this upbringing made her someone who is easy to adapt and adjust and also helped her discover her love for travelling. Recently, at a panel discussion held in Mumbai by Airbnb, the actress spoke about her travel essentials, changing landscape of the travel industry, turning an entrepreneur with her skincare line Arias and what’s next for the lady who has ‘wheels at the bottom of her feet’. Excerpts:
Q: You have travelled extensively in your life, sometimes it has been a vacation but often it has been the need of the hour. How integral is travelling to your personality?
I have been an airforce brat all my life, which means travelling is my default setting. I had no choice but to get up and move to different airforce spaces across the country right from my childhood since my father was in the Air Force. Honestly, I don’t know any other way of life. I actually joke with my dad that we are a band of gipsies. Even today, my dad, who is 79 years old now, would call me after every three-four weeks, saying, ‘I am fed up. Where are we going next?’
Even as a family, between Mahesh (Bhupati), Saira (her daughter) and myself, I had no choice but to travel. My husband was a very active tennis player on tour when I married him. He was on tour when I gave birth to our daughter and it was either take the baby and travel with the husband on those tours or have no marriage left. So, even Saira has been travelling since she was two months old. These adventures that we have had together as a family have been a huge defining area of how we see ourselves as a family. The kind of bond that you develop while travelling on the road doesn’t happen when you are sitting at home. Besides, I don’t think I can ever stop travelling. My dad jokes that I have wheels at the bottom of my feet (laughs).
Also, watch: Lara Dutta shares travel hacks, beauty tips and what's next in the pipeline
Q: Share with us some of your favourite cities...
My favourite city in India is Jaisalmer... been there multiple times and every experience has been different. When it comes to the rest of the world - Paris, Vancouver, Cape Town... the list is endless!
Q: What are your travel hacks? And, as a mother, what matters to you the most while travelling?
For me, I believe in keeping it simple. I have gone through all phases of travelling - from being a solo traveller, when you are footloose and fancy-free, to being a young mother and now mother to an eight-year-old where my focus is to keep her entertained while we are travelling. To me, keeping my child happy is the most important thing and a happy child is one who is adaptable. There are a lot of times when things don’t go the way we have planned but if you are an easy-going person and if you can make an adventure out of anything, your child will automatically adjust to it.
For a huge #GOT fan like me this @airbnb #got experience in Dubrovnik was the ultimate high! From Cersei’s walk of shame to the battle of black water bay, to the purple wedding and the murder of King Joffrey, it was an absolute thrill to see all the locations the show was filmed at. #thatswhyweairbnb #airbnb #ad #FamilyVacaywithAirbnb
Q: How has the entry of Airbnb changed the way you travel?
Last year, with Airbnb, we did a fantastic trip as a family where we went to Croatia and Italy. In Italy, we stayed in a 15th-century apartment and not just the place but also the experience that we booked turned out to be really good. As a family, once we were in China and Saira was a toddler at that point and although we were staying at really good hotels, it was challenging to find basic home-cooked food for a toddler in China. Airbnb has changed the landscape, it allows us to have access to a place that feels like home, a kitchen where you can create the things that you need and have space for your child to play.
Q: Not just us but people across the globe love Bollywood and want to know more about the personal lives of actors. Do you think it would be interesting if celebrities would open up their second homes for Airbnb?
Of course! There are a lot of celebrities whose second homes are sitting completely idle. It is not just about earning another income but also about the space being used and loved. You build a home with so much love, why use it for just 10 days in a year?
Q: Tell us about Arias. What made you don the hat of an entrepreneur and enter the skincare industry?
A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with my husband where I was saying that I have been a model and actress for good years and, supposedly, a major part of it has been in the beauty industry but I never found one comprehensive brand that addresses the needs of Indian skin and the way it ages. So, about a year ago we launched Arias. It is formulated to provide end-to-end care of everything that our skin requires.
Q: Lastly, what’s next?
There are some web series in the pipeline. I am producing one and I am acting in another.