It all started when one fine day I took a test ride on a Harley Davidson on a busy street. Amid all the chaos and blaring horns, somehow I felt an inner peace. It was nothing to do with the H-D but more to do with the feeling of freedom and joy of being on two wheels all by yourself. Instantly, I fell in love with the concept of solo riding.
I started doing small day trips in and around my city first. I recall my first inter-city ride was from Ahmedabad to Pune and clocked 747 kms (I took a slightly longer route) in one day. That’s how I got the confidence. My next solo ride was to eight beautiful states in the western and southern parts of India, covering a distance of 10,051 kms in 50 days.
My most recent solo trip started from Ahmedabad crossing the state of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal, West Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Myanmar, Mizoram, Tripura, Bangladesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and back to Gujarat.
I am an explorer and I usually love to the take the road less travelled–in life, in business and certainly in travel. Every new destination is a new territory to be ‘unpacked’ and every stranger has the potential to become part of my extended family. Reaching the highest altitude golf course in the world in Sikkim and entering Tawang’s extremely challenging snow-capped roads was quite fascinating. Staying with the monks in a monastery at Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh was an awe-inspiring experience. An equally humbling encounter was when I got stuck in a situation enroute to Tripura where it was almost dark (the sun sets early, around 5.30pm in the North East) and the next town with some reasonable lodging was some 100kms away, not to mention the tricky hill roads that had to be navigated.
I listened to my gut feeling, and knocked on a door where the sign said MC Hotel. It was in a small village of less than 2,000 people. To my surprise, I was provided with a cup of tea, a warm meal (dal, rice and mix vegetables.) and a makeshift bed to crash in for the night. All that for just Rs130, all inclusive. They don't know how much that simple gesture meant. That terran has challenging roads (enroute from Mizoram to Tripura) and they are the ones who work hard every single day to make it smooth. I was immensely thankful to them, and many more people like them, who I didn't get a chance to meet. Another highlight of my trip was meeting two souls who were 90 years apart but had the same definition of happiness: live in the now and enjoy simple things.
I found that sleeping early, eating light, drinking water, taking breaks, conducting regular checks (body and bike) and a strong riding discipline are the key to having a stress-free ride. I have a minimalistic lifestyle and choose to spend my money on ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’.
Earn. Spend. Save. Travel. Repeat. That's my motto.
More than the GPS I follow my instinct and listen deeply to the locals as they help me plan my itinerary along the way. I mostly do my hotel/motel/dhabba bookings as and when I reach the said destination. In short, I plan my trip pretty loosely, and tend to go with the flow.
I now find that I have become more self-aware, my senses are very sharper, my reflexes are getting better, and I love my solitude more than ever. I feel grateful every single day (I had only one puncture the entire trip), and have become more grounded and started enjoying simple things in life.
And yes, I can live on three backpacks and two wheels for the rest of my life.
This article is a submission by one of our readers, and part of our new series #OTReadersWrite.