In an interview with Nomad, NTV’s Smriti Vidyarthi talks about falling in love with nature, keeping appearances on the road, and creating awareness about what there is to lose.
“You’ve been a city girl your whole life”
My least favourite part of travelling is the actual travelling. It can be tiring, especially when it’s for work.
And then packing: I hate packing and unpacking. I also have to think about my wardrobe because if we’re doing multiple shows on one trip, I need to pack different outfits. The good thing is that
I’ve travelled so much for the show, I now keep certain things ready. Travelling for work means you see how the other half lives.
At first it’s discouraging, like when you travel to rural areas and you’ve been a city girl your whole life. The reality of it is quite disheartening and really angers me.
We went to Pate Island in Lamu and I just questioned what this government is doing, where are the county funds going?
You are met with rubbish in the water and sickly stray cats and there’s a lot of poverty and it strikes you like, what’s happening?
On the side of the wildlife, what’s been challenging is that there really are serious problems out there facing our wildlife and our environment and so many people aren’t really aware of it.
“We got robbed and my camera was stolen”
The first time I was away from Kenya for an extended period of time was in university in the UK. Winter months can be awful but university was fun.
I visited a Bajan friend in Barbados for three weeks during one summer while in uni. The ocean was so clear: I couldn’t believe I could see my hands underwater!The island is so small you can drive around in half a day and the views are incredibly striking. The next summer I went to Costa Rica to visit another friend.
It was so different from what I was used to: lush rainforests, parrots and toucans flying in the wild.
We went bungee jumping and ziplining and visited this place where a guide book said the beach was pristine but it was awful, we got robbed and my camera was stolen. But the whole trip was amazing.
“You can’t fall in love with something if you don’t know what there is to fall in love with”
I’d always been a lover of wildlife, nature and the environment but I’ve never been so passionate to the point where I wanted to do environmental journalism.
But I was at a point in my career where I was looking to start my own show. We’ve done shows on some crazy things that I never thought would make a 45-minute show.
We did a whole episode on grass in the Nairobi National Park and another on insects in Laikipia.
I was talking with a driver the other day who said to me, “That episode about dudus made me feel so bad about killing insects and now I don’t do it anymore.”
I think that’s why this show is important: making people aware and transforming hearts and minds.
How can you tell somebody that we need to protect lions when they don’t even know what a lion looks like? You can’t fall in love with something if you don’t know what there is to fall in love with.
“The oceans are clearer than bath water”
In Kenya, the destination that really took my breath away was Turkana. Getting there by road was an absolute mission, but there were some really beautiful places like Eliye Springs.
Outside Kenya, my husband and I went to Seychelles for our honeymoon. The oceans are clearer than bath water and the beaches are powder white. I would love to go again.My last trip for fun was to Doha earlier this year; Qatar Airways invited myself and a few people from other media houses. It was amazing. We went on a desert safari and were almost blown away!