Travel Tales with the Yawo Storytelling App

This year has galloped away – and as I do a mental roundup, I have to say its been a rather good one. I divested myself of some people and things; I went on some wonderful trips, local and international; I spent the year freelancing and got to do some very interesting work, too. One thing however, is that I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like, because well, time, and with writing full-time, mental bandwidth too! Those posts about vacations and trips to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai never happened.

But I do want to commit to e-print one memorable day trip, organized by friend and fellow blogger, Monika Manchanda, in conjunction with the co-founder of the Yawo App, Manish Agarwal. Yawo, which means ‘wander’ in a South African tongue, is a geo-tagged, audio only, app, where users record stories as they travel – or if they prefer, after the fact too. On a road trip from Bangalore to Mysore, a group of us had  a blast stopping at multiple interesting spots of interest and eateries, and even recorded a story or three.

As someone who has made innumerable Bangalore-Mysore-Bangalore trips, this trip showed me a completely different side of the highway and what it has to offer! From stopping for breakfast at Guru Hotel in Bidadi for the famed Thatte Idli, to lunching at a tiny hole in the wall place called Jai Bhuvneshwari Military hotel in Srirangapatna, and stopping for beer and snacks at The Green Hotel Mysore, and rounding it off with a visit to Brahmin’s Soda Factory for in-house made Sarsaparilla soda and ice cream, there was so much food goodness!

We also stopped at two interesting businesses – the Maya Organic handmade wooden toys factory in Channapatna and then in Mysore, Earth Loaf Chocolate Factory a labor of love of David Belo’s, who is working out of a two room facility producing artisanal, gourmet chocolate, made from single origin cacao beans grown/produced in South India. We had also, earlier in the morning, taken a tour of the Ramanagara Government Cocoon Market, en route to Mysore. These were all things that I had never seen before, despite doing the Bangalore-Mysore commute innumerable times a year to see the parentals!

I recorded a few stories on the app as we made our stops – from losing my Thatte Idli virginity to verbally chronicling how the toys are made at Channapatna. And also listened to stories that others had recorded, that popped up for me along the route. The app itself is quite easy to use, and fun too! And since a story times out at one minute, it means you need to plan what you’re going to say and be concise – much needed for some of us given to yammering! Charming user generated audio tales – GOYAWO!

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