If you have been a follower on my blog, you would know that I have been on the road since the beginning of this year now. Throughout this time I have been asked a ton of questions about my travels. Most of them, more than questions have been doubts or concerns of a skeptical nature (disguised as questions) of what I’m doing and if I think I really should be doing this. The people who ask such questions do not really matter and I am not going to put any efforts in answering them either on my blog or in the real world. However, some of the questions are really genuine and it surprises me with regards to the simplicity of the questions raised. Even before quitting my job, I had been doing short backpacking trips for a very long time and there were some aspects of travel that were natural to me, but I was pleasantly surprised with the curiosity quotient of the people I interact with. So I decided to write a post about such FAQs. So here’s me putting down the questions you may already have and the answers to the same as well.
Where do you stay for the night?
This is the most frequently asked question. And most of the times this comes from people who are well past their 40s. In my conversations with them, I have discovered that they never traveled beyond a few touristy places or their relatives. So they always wonder where do I stay for the night. I never thought this would be a question at all. I used to think that budget hotels, guest houses and lodges are available everywhere, even in small towns. And they are and that’s where I’d stay. I also tried to couchsurf but my hosts were bit busy and could not host me. I also carry a tent with me and one time I camped in the open. In Gujarat there are lots of temples and trusts that provide free accommodation and I have used that to my advantage as well. And just in case there are no options to call it a night, I have just knocked the door in a village introduced myself and asked permission to sleep on the porch. And people have always been more than cordial inviting me for dinner as well.
Don’t you get tired of riding the bike?
Well Yes and No! When I left for South India, my bike had undergone an engine overhauling and the mechanics had advised me not to push beyond 40kmph. And when you drive at such speeds even after 12 hours on the saddle you struggle to cover 250-300 kms. So Yes, it became very tiring. But then I am not riding my bike everyday as well. I ride to my next destination which usually is a day or twos ride from my current destination and then I stay put in that place for at least 3-4 days. That gives me enough time to relax, look around and be completely fresh when I get on my steed again. So No, I dont feel tired.
How do you decide on the next destination?
Well, I don’t plan my next destination. Yes, I have a rough idea of places that I’d want to be. But that’s pretty much it. When I went to Gir Forest, I thought if I get to see a lion, that would be enough and I can move on to the next destination. But when I saw one, it became an addiction and I ended up staying 3 more days. I do not really plan out where I am heading next. There have been times, when I told my friend I am leaving for a certain place when I rode out in the morning and mid way I took a detour and ended going somewhere else altogether. My destinations just happen. It is the journey that is more exciting 🙂
Isn’t it risky and unsafe going solo on such a journey? Do you not feel scared?
What isn’t? Well, stepping on the road is as safe or as unsafe as getting down a flight of stairs. Yes, you have to keep your head above your shoulders and watch your back. But other than that it is pretty much safe. And yes, there will be incidents like the one that happened in Gokarna. But there is no point in going backpacking and not having an adventurous story when you get back home. As for being scared, one Prof T -Dawg said “I mean, if you’re not scared, you’re not taking a chance. And if you’re not taking a chance, Then what the hell are you doing? Right? “
But how did you think of doing all this and how did you manage the money, parents, et al?
This was the biggest and most important question of all. People were curious how someone with a nice job in a nice company could give it all up and go one one crazy ride. The idea started almost a couple of years back. I started of with covering the entire coastline of India by my bike because I love the sea. Somewhere down the line, it exploded out of proportion and I thought of riding without any plan and at times if I have to without my Beauty in Red as well. My parents were pretty cool with it but like parents around the world they had a few reservations as well which still exist but they let me to make my decisions. Money was never a factor for me, I had saved up enough to take care of my family expenses, expenses on the trip as well as some more money for unforseen situtations. Also I travel on a budget and till now I have never exceeded that.
And what after this???
This is one question for which I do not have any answer. I am still trying to figure this out. But whatever life throws at me I’ll take it up and have a ball of a time!