Kavita Deshpande had deep love for travel even as a young child, which prompted her to prepare a travel journal using brochures, cutouts and stickers. It later took the form of the concept — Little Travel Bug. Kavita was part of a French exchange programme during her college days and was acquainted with a few students from France and Brazil as well. Exposure to people of different cultures at a young age instilled in her a passion for visiting far-off lands, and she has been travelling ever since.
Keen to share her love for travelling, Kavita encouraged her children to take up journaling as well. Soon, she was inspired to share this treasure beyond her family through travel books for children — Little Travel Bug. She began this venture as an ode to her childhood and memories.
Taking a moment to explain how the concept was born, Kavita, who did her MBA in marketing and later worked in the Insurance industry in sales, marketing and product development, recalls, “During a Singapore tour with my family, my six-year-old son asked me what the national anthem of Singapore was. Being an enthusiastic mother, I searched for the anthem on Google and read it out to him. In the process, I also realised once again that children were extremely curious and it was important to nurture their curiosity by providing the right information.” It would be apt to say that her passion for travel, product development experience and parenting skills, all put together, gave birth to Little Travel Bug.
The objective behind the concept is to enrich the travelling experience of chidren. "It aims to encourage children to discover and be better observers. Documenting travel experiences in journals and scrapbooks is the way to nurture children’s creativity and make them more observant travellers.” The books are filled with beautiful illustrations, fun-facts, and activities that chidren can engage in. A lot of reseach has gone into the books, which aim at giving a holistic view of the destination to the child.
Writing books for children is no child’s play, as Kavita explains, “I write books for children aged between 5 - 12 years. Being a mother of a three-year-old and a nine-year-old, I understand the audience I am catering to. I often have my nine-year-old and his friends read and sit through a book with me after the concept is ready for testing. What is challenging, though, is making fact-based travel books fun and appealing to a younger audience.”
The books offer aspiring globetrotters insights on Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. Along with travel guides, there is also a diary to note down everyday travel experiences and a scrapbook to preserve memories of vacations. Today, when technology is ruling every aspect of our lives, how encouraging has the response been? Kavita frankly answers, “The pleasure of holding a book in your hand is different because it brings a feeling of belonging that no amount of technology can replace. In my opinion, children should be a complete part of a vacation, right from planning to decision making.” She goes on to explain the role that parents can play.
“Children need to be involved in the entire process for which parents need to guide them and help them broaden their horizon via books, pictures and information. These nuances of life are getting lost in technology and the only way to continue the legacy of good-old-memory keeping is via physical copies. Hand your children journals, drawing sheets, story books, travel uides and scrapbooks that parents have made to give them the joy of preserving memories,” she sums up.