OVERVIEW: THE EXPLORER
Ajay Jain has been on the road since 2007. Driving his car to exotic locales, and flying or walking where the four wheels would not go. His chosen path is one of adventure – in the way he looks at life, and the focus of his work. The only time he looks back is to reverse his car.
Along the way, he has written nine printed books and over 50 e-books, and published both digital and print travel magazines. He speaks regularly at corporates and various forums including ITB Berlin, PATA, ATOAI, TiE and WIN to name just a few.
An accomplished photographer, he promotes his works as collectible art that adorns the walls of many homes and offices.
He is one of the most influential figures and commentators in the Indian travel industry, both at the B2B and the B2C levels. His work has been extensively reported in important media outlets like The Guardian (UK), Daily Mail (UK), Mirror (UK), CNN, Economic Times, Bloomberg TV, NDTV, India Today, Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Indian Express and many others.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
At personal and professional crossroads in 2007, Ajay did not know where he was going in life. And so he decided to go everywhere – as a travel writer. His first journey took him to Spiti in Himachal Pradesh where he discovered the high altitude Kunzum La (pass) – that went on to become the brand behind his work. At a point, Ajay felt he had lost his way on the trail to Kunzum La. Little did he know that he had actually arrived.
A high altitude pass in Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, Ajay chose this as the name of his blog. And built the brand further to represent a publishing label for his books, the Kunzum Travel Cafe and a community of travellers under the Club Kunzum umbrella.
Ajay holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Delhi College of Engineering, 1992), Management (Fore School of Management, 1994) and Journalism (Cardiff University, UK, 2002). His schooling was at St. Columba’s School in New Delhi.
Ajay started his career in the IT sector, followed by a stint in sports management. He brought his ideas and creativity into these too, especially in sports – he was largely responsible for introducing and popularising Pool and Bowling in India, even taking teams to the World Cups. Members included stars like Geet Sethi and Michael Ferreira. At the age of 31, he decided to go back to school in the UK – to study journalism and photography leading to his career as a writer and an artist.
Ever since switching to writing as a career in 2001, Ajay has dabbled with various media including newspapers, magazines, blogs and books. He has used his vast experience to write books and columns on travel, management, technology, environment and personal development. He has worked for and written columns for leading publications including The Hindustan Times, Mint, Financial Express, Indian Management (Business Standard / Financial Times), Outlook Business, Deccan Herald, Mumbai Mirror (Times of India), Discover India, Swagat, Asian Age and Rediff.com. He has also edited a youth newspaper, The Campus Paper.
SPEAKING CIRCUIT & WORKSHOPS
Ajay Jain is a regular on the speaking circuit, and addresses audiences at various conferences and corporate events in India and overseas. He also conducts workshops on Mindful Travel, Social Media Marketing and PR, and Personal Branding.
KUNZUM TRAVEL CAFE
He loves building communities – both real and virtual. He thus set up the Kunzum Travel Café in New Delhi’s trendy Hauz Khas Village – a real world social networking hub where travellers and creative folks come together for conversations and events over coffee. And pay-what-they-like to give them a sense of ownership of the space. The cafe is now a cultural hub in its own right; weekly events include travel talks, film screenings, book launches, stand up comics, art jamming, poetry slams and more. Ajay displays his photographic art and books there.