Thursday, February 19, 2015

15 Life Lessons I Learnt On My 7 Month India Motorcycle Trip





I have often been asked as to what I have learnt from my 7 month solo motorcycle ride across India. To be honest, I have always fiercely resisted the urge to learn anything in life. However the only life lesson I have learnt is that no matter how dumb you are, one should always strive to look wise. 

So here I present to you 15 pearls of wisdom I gained riding my motorcycle all across the country. Now, some of them might not feel all that wise. After all, these are my thoughts and my thoughts tend to go wrong a lot of times. Like the time, I thought that pretty woman living next door was totally into me. Oh, I digress. You guys just read on.

But trust me on the points 11 to 15. I can absolutely vouch for them


1. A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

7 months and 30,000 Kms on a motorcycle. The most difficult part is the start. Once you start something, you are smart enough to figure things out on the go. It is not that intimidating as it looks.


However, I don't mind if that impression persists :)

2. Ask for help. Not all battles have to be fought alone

Unexpected rains, huge traffic block welcomed me as I was about to cross a mountain pass for the first time in my life in a motorcycle. Slight fear creeps in but I fight it off like a hero. Start the engine and said to myself “There is no fucking way in hell I am doing it today” and start heading back. But thanks to these two riders (Tejasva & Pankaj) I happened to meet and tag along, I was able to cross the Zojila pass on that day itself and I got over my fear of mountain passes quicker.


I had set out alone on this trip hoping it will make me more independent and stronger but on the way I realized that with a little help you get there (being more independent and stronger) faster.

3. You are never alone. Someone somewhere is always looking out for you

These four tourists on their way to Leh - Justin, Suraj, Arjun and Nishant (left to right) from Allahabad happened to be at the spot in Sarchu, Ladakh where I had a pretty bad accident. They did everything from making sure I was alright, stopping a truck for me to carry my motorcycle to the next town (Manali) to fix it, negotiated on the price with the truck driver and loading my motorcycle and luggage on the truck.


The accident did dampen my spirits and the thought of abandoning the trip did cross my mind. But thanks to them, I somewhere became confident that in case something goes wrong – someone or the other will be there to help me out.

4. Trust people. Not everyone out there wants to cheat you

Raju – the truck driver. We had agreed on Rs 2000 to truck the motorcycle from Sarchu to Manali. On the way he suggested that I take my motorcycle till Mandi – further 100 Kms away as he was anyway going till there – for the same agreed price. He paid for my dinner, we slept the night in the truck and the next morning paid for the morning snack before making sure that he unloaded my luggage and the motorcycle in the service centre in Mandi.


When I paid him the Rs 2000 as we had agreed upon, he gave back Rs 400 saying that the accident had damaged my motorbike pretty bad and I would incur some expenses fixing it. You can read that story in detail here : Truck drivers - Guardians on the road

5. It is great to help people in need. Sometimes just do it to make their day pleasant

Crossing into Assam from Bhutan on the Samprud Jonkar border I had 7000 in Bhutanese currency which I needed to convert to Indian Rupees. The 4 Bhutanese policemen on the border stopped every Indian vehicle getting into Bhutan to fill petrol from the petrol pump in the Bhutanese side (petrol is cheaper in Bhutan) and in 2 hours converted the entire 7000 Ngultrum into Indian Rupees. They never asked me any chai pani ka kharcha (commission for the help) for this deed.



These guys helped me just like that. Otherwise I would have had to shell out 10% commission in the Indian side of the border which I frankly didn’t mind. But this thing they did - it just made my day.

6. Believe in the goodness of people. You just might be pleasantly surprised

I reached Moreh on the Manipur – Burma border with Rs 120 in my pocket and came to know that there were no ATM’s in Moreh. It was already evening. It was a little awkward for me initially but since I had no other option, I went to the Tamil Sangam and asked them for a place to be put up for the night for free. These guys from the Tamil Sangam gave me a place to sleep, bought me dinner and breakfast the next day.



Oh by the way one of the guys also gave me Rs 1000 as a gift to keep just in case of an emergency :)
You can read this story in more detail here : A Kind World

7. Be grateful. Never belittle somebody's kindness by offering them money - no matter how poor or rich they are

Stuck in a small village in Manipur where the security situation ensured that security forces don’t allow me to travel at night. I asked this woman – Veronica to allow me to sleep for a night in her shop. She says “You are most welcome” and got me a mat and a pillow. The next morning I tried to insist on paying her for the place which she sternly refused.



She was poor. I could see that. I thought I was helping her. But inadvertently I was belittling her kindness. Every time I think of it, I am ashamed of myself.
You can read the story in more detail here: Veronica

8. The best way to show your gratitude to people is by taking out time to spend with them. With some alcohol preferably

My bike broke down and I stopped these truck drivers going in a convoy to help me truck the bike to the next town where I could get it fixed. Had one of the most memorable times of my trip with them. Bathing under a waterfall before having lunch prepared by them and then 3 of them waited with me till the motorcycle got fixed. They never asked any money and now I knew better and did not try to belittle their kindness by offering money.



I just bought some whisky and we drank on the side of the road where they had parked their trucks for the night and that night I slept under the truck before bidding them my goodbyes the next morning :)
You can read that story in detail here : Manipur Truck Drivers

9. You don't always have to keep your guard up. Go with the flow sometimes. Specially if there is alcohol involved

The roads are bad and it is dark and there are no signs of the highway. Two men on a motorcycle (Cmon & Rilla) – I ask them for directions to the highway. They are going in that direction and I follow them for some 10 to 15 odd Kms or maybe more. And the next thing I know is that after helping me find a lodge in Panisagar on the highway for the night – the three of us are having dinner together. Somewhere in between a round of beer and two rounds of whisky were also consumed. 



Oh all paid by them just in case you were wondering

10. Believe in serendipity. It happens in real life too

Cruising along on a deserted highway in a God forsaken place, listening to songs on your ipod and someone in a SUV overtakes you and waves you to stop. Lot of things going through your head at that time and none of them are pretty. Then you take a look at the man waving at you. He kind of looks familiar and suddenly the irritation turns into unparalleled joy because this guy is one of your closest friends. And you thought this only happens in movies :)



Inaka Chishi – a very close friend whom I hadn’t met for 18 months and I just bump into him unexpectedly, somewhere 60 odd Kms before Cuttack, in the middle of nowhere.







Now to the part I can absolutely vouch for

11. A man's crotch always needs some attention



Well, India is a hot country and it gets sweaty all over. Especially with the riding gear and all. Keep it handy. Gives a lot of relief :)

12. Maut Aur Tatti Kabhi Bhi Aa Sakti Hai (Death and Dysentery can strike anytime)



Not everything about a motorcycle trip is romantic. Shit happens. The only thing you can do is to be prepared. I had to take a dump on the side of the road here. I am surely not mentioning which place this is

13. AurTatti Bar Bar Aa Sakti Hai (And Dysentery can strike more than once)



Yes here also. Like I said not everything about a motorcycle ride is romantic. Just in case you are wondering, I had to take a dump on the side of the road 3 times. Always keep tissues and a bottle of water handy :)

14. Women will not go crazy over you just because you are riding a motorcycle



Well, if you look like Tom Cruise then maybe

15. But..... CHILDREN LOVE YOU


Children waving or smiling at you makes you forget any awkwardness you may feel while riding in unknown territories



They just have a way of making you feel welcome and you no longer feel out of place.


About Me:

A 7 month motorcycle ride that took me to every state in India, parts of Nepal and Bhutan and one town in Burma. These blog entries are inspired by this trip. Stories about people I met, stories about places I saw. Things that intrigued me, things that amused me. They say traveling changes you, they say traveling inspires you and they say a lot of other stuff. I don't know. I think a gun on the head is a better way to change people. I just hope that my travel stories entertain you




Right now I am in the process of writing a book based on this trip and figuring out the difference between a writer's block and procrastination.


You can find more information by clicking on my
Facebook Page: The Clueless Rider 
Instagram Account: thecluelessrider



39 comments:

  1. My favorite one is the fourth point!

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    Replies
    1. I can't say which one is my favourite but yes I was quite disappointed because of point 14 :)

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  2. An awesome read. I love traveling a lot too. I frequently go long rides in my bullet. But traveling alone for 7 months is something I can only experience by reading your blog. Way to go buddy. I like the way you interpret things. Your stories are inspiring. A big applause from me on successfully completing 7months bike ride. All the best on your book :)

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  3. Hi George, I came across your blog on a facebook shared post. I love that you have traveled to the North-Eastern states as well. What grabbed my attention was the google maps with pin in the first image. I have been trying to make a similar one for a trip I made but couldn't figure out how to put as many pins on google maps. It would be great if you could share with me how to make a similar one. All the best for your future travels and book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know once the alphabets get over it is difficult :)
      It was a set of 4 google maps, the end destination of first google map being the start destination of the second google map and so on. Make sure that the print screens you take are of equal dimensions.
      Then I just superimposed one image on the other image carefully one by one in MS paint to get this map image.

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  4. Dude. Always a pleasure reading your experiences.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this fantastic experience. It has to be one of the best blogs I have come across. Truly inspiring. Looking forward to have a glance at your book. All the best

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  6. hi George. Man im so happy to hear this awesome achievement u've overcome in life. firstly let me congratulate u boss....ur an inspiration in most of the people's life. ur not just a Bullet Rider but a true legend and a Fearful warrior that fought like a brave heart throughout this Adventure..u r truly a HERO ...and i hope u will have a Bright future and God"s Blessings always .....Salute u Mr George....Btw Im Sam,(Sam Lyngdoh is ma Fb Account)...im From Shillong,Meghalaya India.....(y)

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    Replies
    1. Ahh thanks man.. you make me look too good.. It wasn't that big a thing as you mention it. But its alright, I can digest the attention :)

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  7. i did a 6 month cross country ride on my apache 150 cc. amazing experience - once in a lifetime deal. and its worth it :)

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  8. Hi George. Ur experiences are so precious and awesome. 7 month trip! Man! I really wanna know every preparation and everything u did to get this started. Like from the financial sides to the mental preparation u did. Coz im gonna do this. Help me out bro!

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    1. Msg me on my facebook page..
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Clueless-Rider/101961743344289

      I'll try to answer your questions as best as possible :)

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  9. Hi George! I Have Gone Through Your Entries And Have Been Entertained to The bit. U had One Stretch Of An Amazing Journey! I Love the way U Put Ur Experiences Into words Too. Looking Forward To New Entries Soon!! All the Best For Your Book.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I am glad that you liked them..

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  10. Lovely piece George. I too own a TB 2006 AVL. So, I sense a personal connection :) Wishing you many many thousand miles of journey! (what else could I wish an enfielder)

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  11. You narrated the journey like a pro...I would say above the journey you made the story more beautiful & alive....its a great inspiration to many white collar geeks...kudos!

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  12. Awesome! Look forward to reading your book.

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  13. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience with us. You can also hire a bike on rent in Delhi at best packages. With Motorcycle tour India you can explore beautiful India.

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    ReplyDelete
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  18. Awesome blog, may be next year i will travel to india for a bike tour!!
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  19. Ohh you are really great man. It's my dream to ride continuously on the Indian roads

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  20. Just getting into adventure riding and your tips are a great help. please suggest best motorcycle tours in India .thank you

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