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Sharell Cook

India travel expert and contributing writer, Tripsavvy

Tired of her comfortable life as an accountant in Melbourne, Sharell Cook decided she needed a change. India beckoned. It was an assault on the senses but Cook has loved every minute of it. Now based in Mumbai, she makes a living writing about her adopted home online. 

How did you start? What made you choose this career path?

My initial career path was very different to my current one. I received a Bachelor of Business degree from Monash University, with a major in Accounting. Accounting was never my passion, but I discovered that writing was. In the end, I decided to write about something that I was equally passionate about – India, and particularly travel in India. 

How did your Australian experience contribute to your success, or your approach to your work?

I grew up in rural Australia and then moved to the city, so I'm quite adaptable and resilient. I'm unfazed by a lot of things, which is beneficial for living and travelling in India. I'm also very self-reliant, having earned an income from the age of 14, when I began casually working in a supermarket on weekends. The great thing about my education in Australia was that it was practical, and encouraged me to research and think for myself. This has been invaluable for learning new things and applying knowledge. My time as an accountant definitely wasn't wasted, as it enabled me to hone my writing skills. I approach my work with great attention to detail as a result of it too. 

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What made you take the leap overseas and why India?

I developed a deep interest in India and wanted to share it with the world. It's such an absorbing country with so much heritage, and so many lessons to teach.  I'd like everyone to understand India better and know about its remarkable attractions.

What do you think is the single most influential factor in your success?

India has a huge number of internet users and, increasingly, they're looking online for information to plan their travels. Disposable incomes have jumped in India and people are exploring their country like never before. On a personal level, I have the ability to write well, and I'm devoted to creating the best India travel content on the Internet. I simply love what I do.

 "I'd like everyone to understand India better and know about its remarkable attractions" – Sharell Cook

Is there something particular about the Australian character/culture that drives people to search out international experiences?

Australia is isolated and it's a relatively new country, although it has a long indigenous history. This makes Australians keen to check out the rest of the world and see what it has to offer.  We're generally adventurous in character, and like to seek out exciting and meaningful experiences. Plus, we're well-placed to take advantage of opportunities and make our mark internationally.

What’s one of your most favourite things about living and working in India?

The feeling that anything is possible! India is such a vibrant and diverse country. Every state is unique and has its own culture. There's always something more to discover. India really fuels my curiosity and creativity.

"I'm unfazed by a lot of things, which is beneficial for living and travelling in India" – Sharell Cook

What do you know today that you wished you had known when you first started?

That the most amazing opportunities appear when you have the courage to take a leap of faith and pursue your dreams. 

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What makes you proud to be Australian? 

We have a wonderful culture of informality and disregard for social status. We're down to earth and genuine, and believe it's important to treat everyone equally and fairly. Being an expat has also made me realise that Australians are consistently valued for their friendly and fun attitudes. We know how to have a good time! 

More on Sharell Cook: Cook has been crisscrossing India and writing about it since 2005. As well as being the India travel expert and a contributing writer for Tripsavvy website, she has written a memoir documenting her life-changing move to India. Called 'Henna for the Broken Hearted', it was named as one of the Top 10 Global Stories of Reinvention for 2013. 

 

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