Dark Side Traveler: Vlogger Paramvir Singh thrives on danger as he explores the world – The New Indian Express

Express Message Service

Paramvir Singh Beniwal lives on the edge. Staying with dangerous tribes and exploring lands devastated by civil war excites him the most.

The 24-year-old adrenaline junkie is a YouTube impresario whose travel vlogs seek to inspire people to push the boundaries of reversal.

“I’m not your typical travel influencer who hops on the beach, snaps selfies, and sips margaritas. Danger is where I thrive. My audience loves it,” he says happily. Beniwal’s range of holiday destinations is deliberately exceptional. “Not to mention that they have huge tourism potential,” he says with a wink.

Take riot-stricken Somalia, for example, where he landed in December 2020. The fact that the country’s many unstable governments were constantly at war with terrorists didn’t deter him from flying to Mogadishu. “Somalia is about beautiful beaches and hospitable people. It has failed to capitalize on its blessings like its long coastline that can be made to flourish as a tourism hotspot,” he shares.

ak 47The encounter with the most dangerous tribes in the world in southern Ethiopia was a special highlight. “I wanted to stay away from the usual tourist traps. Learning about tribal cultures was a fascinating affair. But the militant tribes of southern Ethiopia are vicious. Each member is heavily armed with AK-47s and other ammunition. They smuggle weapons across the Sudanese border in exchange for livestock. They are notorious for violent attacks on civilians, tourists and other tribesmen,” Beniwal shrugs.

The guy hurrying out of danger says people don’t usually see beyond Ethiopia’s bad reputation. He argues that the portrayal of the tribesmen in the international media is inaccurate and tourists do not want to visit. “I want to show the world their other side. And a very exciting side to it,” shares Beniwal. The international adventurer had some very domestic problems. Beniwal’s mother is firmly opposed to his dangerous treks, calling it a “risky lifestyle”. Luckily his father has his back. “He knows that my decisions are well thought out. So I get my way every time,” Beniwal laughs.

His bold choices have carved a niche for him in travel vlogging. But it was a reputation born of adversity. When his career as a successful national-level volleyball player was ended by consecutive injuries and two knee surgeries that left him unfit for a spot in India’s national team, Beniwal channeled his disappointment into a quest that was more dangerous than on the court. It was a period marked by deep depression. Unsure of what to do next, he began to travel, casually at first. At the time, he had no idea what travel blogging was, but he did it anyway. Little did he know that he was on the verge of a more exciting career.

Beniwal’s first trip took him to America in December 2015. A six-week solo trip to Turkey in 2017 opened his eyes – a volunteer program with AIESEC. “I spent these six weeks in the coastal city of Antalya, where I met volunteers from all over the world. They taught me a lot about other cultures,” he says. Next on his bucket list is Lebanon – a place he believes will be the next tourist magnet. A befitting choice – what was once considered the Paris of the East is a war-torn landscape of bombings, assassination, rocket attacks and terrorism.

“It’s one of the most underrated countries in the world. When I visited Lebanon he was in political turmoil. The situation was so chaotic that even tourists like me were caught up in anti-government riots. It’s better now, and the dangers a tourist might face pales in comparison to the exotic experiences in
this heavenly Arab nation,” says the unconventional traveller. The pandemic has grounded Beniwal in his hometown of Hissar in Haryana for now. “I reconnected with friends and family. But I also learned Arabic and Spanish,” Beniwal smiles.

His list for the coming year has already been drawn. “I am eagerly waiting to go to Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Brazil. I also plan to visit the Brazilian favelas and interact with the residents; Traversing these shanty towns is risky as their residents are known to be violent towards visitors. I hope my favela tour will be different,” he hopes.

Tourism destinations at greatest risk

✥ Death Valley, United States

✥ Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia

✥ Afar Depression, Ethiopia

✥ Ilha da Queimada Grande (Snake Island), Brazil

✥ Death Valley, Kamchatka, Russia

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