Leh with Enfield
It took me about twelve days to reach Leh and I stopped at seven different places along the way. In this post, I am not going to describe to you the different places that I visited but the experience of what I went through these past four months and how it touched my very soul. As I plant my feet on home grounds and ponder over my 5 Leh and 2 Spiti valley expeditions I realize how this journey has changed me. It’s not a job for me anymore but a part of my character, these experiences have changed me to the extent that the 6th Leh expedition felt like a consolation prize.
It all started with sleepless nights over the sheer excitement of traveling to the picturesque views that I had always dreamed of. My journey began in the month of January when I was to travel to Khardungla in books. The whole trip seemed tricky and hard but looking back now, after 7 trips on my loyal companion –Phoenix, it was beautiful. The opportunity to meet new people in these past 3 months was another boon to me. I met varieties of people on the roads less traveled and they exclaimed that they would love a job like mine, where you get paid to travel. The only problem was that these people did not realize the hard work behind the trips. As any job, planning the logistics was a task with bathroom breaks while staying on schedule. But, even though there were chaotic moments, these expeditions were the best moments of my life and ones I would treasure for the rest of my life.
Now, after four months of continuous riding and traveling, coming home has started feeling foreign to me. It made me realize how much Leh had become ingrained in my veins and how much I would miss her on return. People always talk about fresh air but I can say I breathed it, we talk about stars but I rode under them. I was alive riding in the open space with no interruptions and no mindless traffic jams. There were no distractions like internet or WHATSAPP on the road. Traveling these 10000 odd kilometers I recognized myself and what I want in life. I was not burdened with the expectations I had to face back home. Off course I had colleagues and other riding companions but they were more of strangers to me. These long trips, I was just me and I was FREE. I can now say “I know what freedom is ‘cuz I have lived it”.
19th June 2014 marked another turning point in my life. I was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting two batches on my own with my crew as the tour director, not to mention it was a big ego and confidence booster…The highlight of this particular voyage was Khardung-La. I realized how beautiful nature can be and I thanked the maker of it, got off my bike and kissed it. I can now say – “Finest day of my life”.
My excursion in a truck from Leh to Manali is something I want to share. Excitement is an understatement for what I felt. I would have enjoyed the experience more if I was well and also I was a little homesick. Yes!! My job is awesome but you can’t blame a guy for missing home… I remember I had barely eaten for almost 3 days and threw up everything I ate on the 4th day, not my favorite memory. Honestly, I had started having second thoughts about this job by this time – “what am I doing here?” “Why am I doing this? I could be sitting at home or doing a simple clerical job”… I got my answer on my way back to Leh, passing Keylong on the way
The 2nd time I was close to giving up on my dream was the ride from Kaza to Manali. This was to be my 1st Spiti Valley excursion. Me, my crew and my companions were drained out and exhausted to our bones. Dust, sun, gravel, tricky turns, and bends, rains, visibility less than 10 meters, we tackled everything nature could throw our way. I had to fight my way through 13 different water bodies and this was also the time when i sprained my back and could not ride any further. Every nerve in my body was screaming at me to keep riding but my brain stopped me. I had to take a break to be able to ride safely for the next 2 months. And this is why i want to advice all those travel enthusiasts that it’s ok to take a break, it doesn’t make you a coward, it makes you smart. Being safe is always better than being sorry. I gave up, to fight another day.
One of these past few days i was talking to my best friend…And I asked her about the mundane details about how your life is supposed to be…Has life really come down to getting a great degree, getting a job and eventually settling down for good? I realized something here with the Enfield riders, we all have a bucket list in life… yes some of them may be unrealistic but its a list worth fighting for… but how many of us have actually taken an initiative or had the guts to do at least 1 of those things on that list…This brings me to my favorite quotes from the movie Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani “22 tak padhai, 25 pe Naukri, 26 pe chokri, 30 pe bachche, 60 pe retirement … aur phir maut ka intezaar … dhat aaisi ghisi piti life thodi jeena chahta hoon.. This movie truly struck a note with me and I realized i dint want to follow and do things just because iam supposed to, i decided to do things i WANT to do. Twenty years down the line i dint want to look back and say i should have done that, i had the chance if only i had the courage to do it then…I want to encourage everyone out there who is reading my blog to do what you want to for a change, take a day off for yourself, it doesn’t matter what you do, just do it for yourself…try challenging yourself, try getting out of your comfort zone…yes you may fail and yes you may not be achieved what you set out to achieve but believe me, you will have that satisfaction that you tried and gave it your 100 % and that will be your true prize
And also believe me when I say this “LIfe will break you, make you cry like a baby make you want to give up on your dreams but never give up” – I did not and it was worth it, ALL 12000 km of it.
And as I end this conversation, I thank ENFIELD RIDERS from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity and honoring me to be a part of your team and family, you have taught me and given me a chance to live my life with no regrets.
To everyone out there in the words of Bunny “Udo, daudo, giro par ruko nahi “