Ever had to pick between a practical job and a passion project? After 15 years of experience in diverse industries, Taruna Seth realised she didn’t need to choose. Seth had been enthusiastic about travel for as long as she could remember. Armed with two degrees from prestigious international universities, she decided to combine her passion for travel with her entrepreneurial spirit. And that’s how Encompass Experiences was born in 2018.
In her role as Founder & ‘Navigation-In-Chief’, Taruna curates immersive experiences for curious travellers across the globe. As someone who’s passionate about travel, she was always scouting for unique experiences. So when she noticed a gap in the luxury travel market, she decided to take the plunge and start her own company. The most unique thing about Encompass Experiences is that they are a travel company with a conscience. They believe that sustainable and conscious travel is the only way forward for us on this planet, and make sure that they educate their clients about it. For Taruna, travel isn’t simply about visiting a new place. “Travel often funds local economies and in recent years, has become increasingly adept at preserving the culture and supporting the conservation of lands and protection of ecosystems,” she explains.
It’s clear that Taruna believes in enjoying the journey and not just the destination, be it in life or in work. Through the course of her career, she’s navigated various industries, titles and jobs—and she wouldn’t have it any other way! “I have drawn from my experiences from different fields and channelized all my learnings into my current business,” she says. Describing herself as a ‘sum of her experiences’, she ensures that with each role she undertakes, she grows, makes connections and enhances her perspective and skillset. This enterprising and optimistic attitude has earned her laurels like the ‘Exceptional Women of Excellence’ award at the Women’s Economic Forum in 2017 and the ‘Women Super Achiever Award’ at the World Woman Leadership Congress in 2020.
As passionate, hardworking and ambitious as Taruna is, her life isn’t all work and no play. She takes her morning mindfulness practice seriously and rarely misses a strength-training session with her personal trainer. While her day is a blur of planning and meetings, evenings are strictly reserved for family time. We’re enthralled by her infectious energy and her zest to lead a meaningful, fulfilling life—and couldn’t wait to feature her on our #POPxoWomenWhoWin series. In an enriching conversation, she opened up about her greatest learning experience, advice for young women entrepreneurs and the future of travel.
There is no typical day as an entrepreneur but usually, my day starts early at 6am with around 20 minutes of mindfulness practice, followed by 20 minutes of planning and reading with a cup of tea. It’s a basic ritual that gets me motivated for the day ahead. Three times a week I do school runs to drop off my daughter in the morning, followed by an hour of online strength training sessions with my trainer. I tend to schedule the most critical and important meetings in the first half of the day, preferably before noon. Evenings are family time. I like to watch a movie or read a good book to unwind. I usually catch up with friends on weekends.
Being an entrepreneur requires wearing different hats—sometimes all at once. I have drawn from my experiences from different fields and channelised all my learnings into my current business and passion project—Encompass Experiences, a conscious travel company that specialises in curating immersive and authentic journeys within India and all across the world. We are nothing but the sum total of our experiences so under each role that I took over I learned, grew, made connections and enhanced my perspective and skillset.
I’ve always been passionate about travelling and scouting for unique experiences for as long as I can remember. So it wasn’t a hard decision in that respect to take the plunge. I noticed a gap in the luxury travel market almost a decade ago. The high-end travellers were evolving and there was a greater demand for bespoke and experiential travel. It has been a labour of love as we have been growing over the last couple of years offering superlative experiences to our circle of explorers.
I’ve been in the luxury experiential travel space for over a decade now. Sustainable and conscious travel is the only way forward for us on this planet. Educating our audience and raising awareness about sustainable travel is our way to make an impact in a space where we feel we can make a difference. I believe in the positive influence travel can have. Not just for individuals and their experiences, but for the destinations that receive them and the world as a whole. Travel has always helped fund local economies and in recent years, in particular, become increasingly adept at preserving the culture and supporting the conservation of lands and protection of ecosystems. Travel creates empathy and understanding, can inspire and educate. It creates the human to human and human to nature connection that the world needs right now. We love to put this narrative up front and centre when we curate Encompass Journeys.
Living through this pandemic has been a great learning experience and the whole sustainability movement has become more mainstream than ever before. It’s taught us to slow down and be in the moment. Even when it comes to travel the trend of immersive travel experiences has gained momentum and is here to stay. People will travel to fewer places and stay longer at each destination really engaging with the locals and experiences a destination in depth. With this understanding, we forge ahead making connections. One of my personal highs was when we built an entity to the point that it became valuable for a consortium to acquire. But I’m not done yet. I’m excited to see what the future holds and the role that I can play to steer Encompass to be a leader in the new age conscious travel experiences.
Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. Even if you find yourself being pulled backwards, it’s just a minor setback that’s preparing you for a huge leap. Don’t get discouraged by a small step back. Be persistent and consistent as you prepare for your opportunity to shine.
Resilience is the holy grail when it comes to skills–one’s ability to bounce back in the face of obstacles and failures. When you are resilient, you don’t focus on the ups and downs. Instead, you stay focused on your long-term goals, and you never lose confidence in your ability to succeed. It also helps handle stress more positively. Second, being agile is key. The ability to adapt and change with the ever-changing world. And lastly, our ability to collaborate and world with multiple teams and projects in different time zones.
Get out of your comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens—this is a mantra I swear by every single day. Keep challenging yourself and always be open to learning new skills. Be receptive to unique ideas and different perspectives. Always deliver more than expected. Find a great team and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!