He’s risen to great heights, this down-to-earth Mountain Trekker. It was a joy to catch up with journalist, news readers, PR professional, mass communication lecturer and now everybody’s favourite Youtuber Varun Vagish.

One Himalayan adventure you will never forget: I can’t forget the bus ride, which was my first chance of travelling on a bus roof while coming back from Hemis Gompa. Can’t forget the first sip of the local salty butter tea with a slice of local traditional bread made up of yeast and cereals. The vast plains near River Indus, the climb of Khardung la and the best part – my two-days long return journey in HRTC bus from Leh to Manali, which passed through the world’s most amazing landscapes. This was Ladakh to me in June 2001. It was almost a virgin. Unlike today, there were a few shops in the main Leh market and very few vehicles. That was my first trip to Ladakh and will always be close to my heart.

The biggest life lesson your travels have taught you: I have travelled to many lesser-known areas in different countries. Travelled with locals whom I met for the first time, stayed with them, learnt many new things about their culture and lifestyle. The best part was they didn’t expect anything in return, not even money. Such travel experiences have proven that the world is beautiful and so are its beings. You just need to go beyond your comfort zone to experience the best in the world and the best of your life.

The most beautiful sight you have ever seen:  I can’t choose one. While thinking of the most beautiful sight many places start flashing in my mind. Şavşat and Cappadocia in Turkey, Altai mountains in Russia, beautiful white sand beaches of Koh Phangan (Thailand), crystal clear sea of Mauritius, Moon-like structures on the landscape of Spiti and Ladakh.

One travel mistake you will never make again: I will never go again without my camera. I have been travelling this way since 2001. I travelled extensively in India, especially in the Himalayas, but never documented those trips. Today when I see a lot of people got motivated to travel after watching my travel videos, I wish I could have started filming my earlier trips also. My dream of seeing Indian backpackers in every nook and corner of the world could have come true a little sooner.

A Youtuber’s essential tools: A camera, which can capture excellent visuals and audio, is all one needs to have to be a travel YouTuber.

You have an amazing following. What’s your success secret: I want my people to travel as much as they can. To convince and lure them I put my best efforts to share information in the most interesting manner. Also, I try to travel on a budget to show that travelling is not a costly affair and someone having very few savings can also get the courage to travel.

Advice to aspiring Youtubers: Ask yourself if you really love travelling or making videos! Don’t start vlogging by getting fascinated by the glamour of travel vloggers. Do whatever you love to. Because whoever is your role model today has actually put his/her best efforts in what he/she loved to do. Same goes with travel vlogging. For me travelling is a passion and I love making videos to share my travel tales.

How to travel the world on a shoestring: My total travelling expenditure for 15 days in Europe was less than Rs 10,000. Watch my Thailand & Malaysia series where I travelled on an even lower budget. My videos will show you some unconventional ways of travelling which do not need money for travelling. Like many others, you will feel motivated and get the courage to travel the world.

Varun Vagish spoke to Jaitr Bhakhri of Travel Secrets magazine