The clock is ticking, 48 hours more and I would be free from the world of IT, if only for a short time. I’m real busy with the exit formalities, probably doing more work than I’ve ever done in the last 4 years! I have a lot of ideas to write about, but none of them sound interesting at the moment.
What’s the point of doing something when it isn’t fun? But the fact is that there’s a very fine line between being lazy and being uninspired. Last Friday was the first time in last few months that I skipped my daily article, and that was awesome! But it’s far too easy to continue skipping, with one excuse or the other. You gotta man up!
So this is an idea that I’ve been exploring in my head since quite a while. I’ve seen a lot of India, but there’s still plenty left. Now that I’ll be jobless, I guess travel will be much more serene and much less hurried. I want to really see the places and the people, not just zip past them like a ghost. These are my suggestions to ride cheap like a real Indian, which I’ll try to apply to my future travels!
1. Travel slow:
This is something that I really need to start working on. Maybe it’s because I’m young, maybe it’s the greed to see new places, or maybe I’m just too fucking stupid, but all my trips till date have been a whirlwind of madness and haste. I just zoom from hotel to hotel, stopping only for food/piss, clicking a few photos in between. Not only is it just plain pointless, it’s also costlier.
The thing is, most people believe the opposite, they think that if they reduce the number of stops, they’ll save on the hotel cost. It almost sounds logical, until you realize it’s not exactly true. Traveling like an orangutan jumping from one branch to the next leaves you with very little time at the end of the day to find a cheap, suitable accommodation, which forces you to pick whatever you find first.
You have to understand that a 20 day trip will always require you to have 20 night stops, going slower or faster isn’t going to affect that in any way.
I understand that most people are bound by the number of leaves their owners grant them, but all that means is that you need to plan with your brain and not your heart.
Not only that, you are pushing your body and your bike beyond the limit, which leaves you prone to accidents, exhaustion, and other serious shit. Travel is meant to be fun, that’s kinda the whole point, but if it becomes a job, if it converts you into a crappy truck driver, it’s time to hang up your boots.
2. Get a small motorcycle:
The whole world seems to be doing the opposite! I see these super duper adventure motorcycles pouring in from all manufacturers, giant, 250kg behemoths that I probably will have to climb up with a ladder. A large cost during any motorcycle trip is fuel, and buying massive, cumbersome, needlessly powerful bikes doesn’t help in any way.
The other reason that you should get a small motorcycle is because nobody is doing that! There was a time when I saw people on a R1200GS and thought that was cool. Nowadays every fucking cunt has one. Everywhere you look there’s somebody carrying their entire house on 2 wheels all over the world.
There’s nothing unique about it anymore.
A small motorcycle is not only easier on your pocket due to low fuel consumption, it’s also cheaper in parts and repairs. And then there’s that feeling of childish fun that a sub-150kg bike brings in! My Duke 390 has been a perfect partner through all of my travels till date, but I feel even that is too big for my requirement, not to mention its low fuel economy. Get the point?
Not something that I’ve tried yet, but have heard a lot of people do and looking forward to it! Hotels are not only costly, they also suck in the connection department. You ride all day on the highway, find a hotel by the side at night, and then carry on the next morning. You see none of the city, feel none of the people. Might as well travel by air.
Couchsurfing.com is where all the fun is, and it’s obviously much more useful for foreigners than locals. Like if I want to find a place around Kochi for night stay, I’ll probably contact the friends I have there. But for a German guy who knows nobody in this part of the world, couchsurfing rocks.
There are other services as well like Airbnb that I don’t exactly understand but will try to explore. It goes without saying that no matter how good the people you meet in your travels, don’t cross the limits of friendship!
It’s all good fun until it turns ugly.
Also, from time to time you will want to have some privacy and some material comforts that someone’s house cannot provide. Don’t hesitate to get a hotel then.
4. Get a tent:
Again something I have to try, something that not many Indians seem keen on doing. There’s obviously nothing better than carrying your own accommodation, and even a one-man tent with a sleeping bag is quite enough to have a good night’s nap. However you can’t just pitch your tent wherever your heart desires, and most people, especially the Police, may be quite wary of it.
Tents present one more problem – natural bodily functions. It’s splendid to sleep under a billion stars, but what to do when you gotta take a dump in the morning? Logically speaking, carrying a big container of water should solve most of these issues, but we all know these things are much harder than they sound.
For a guy like me who needs water to clean his lenses every morning, camping presents a bigger hurdle than to most. I’m perfectly fine with shitting in the open, I actually prefer it over a dirty loo, but then again we are a country of 1 billion people, finding a remote enough place is a task in itself.
5. Be open to help:
This is one area where I find most Indians to be shy, almost egoistic. I guess it’s in the way we are brought up, we are always suggested, nearly forced to be independent, to the point that taking help from someone else is akin to begging. I don’t see any merit in that, although I still feel weird doing it at times!
Peter, a friend of mine from Goa, has helped me with a GoPro, a night stop, food, and whatnot since the 1 year I’ve known him. He has no reason to do any of that, but he still does. One approach from my end may have been to deny all of it, but the fact remains that I need it, and I’m not ashamed of taking it!
There are a huge number of people around the globe who want to help others for no discernible reason.
For example if a traveler comes over to Mumbai and asks for a place to stay, I’ll try my best to make him comfortable at my bachelor pad, no matter how disgusting and dirty it maybe. It’s upto him to decide if he wants to accept the offer, and I don’t see why not!
6. Don’t overthink:
This is a pathological condition for us Indians, we just can’t stop thinking! We intrinsically hate randomness, detest unpredictability. We gotta have each and every little detail of our trip planned out, no matter how small. Hotels need to be prebooked, sightseeing needs to be preplanned, almost like you need to send an excel sheet of your productivity during the journey to your manager.
Many people will tell you booking hotels online will save you money. What these people won’t tell you is that tiny little homestays that cost half of a hotel room don’t show up on Tripadvisor, for obvious reasons. This is another area where traveling slow helps, you have all the time in the world to find a place that fits your requirements.
Stop treating your journeys like your appraisal sessions, you don’t need to know the answers to all the questions, you don’t need to prepare for any rebuttals. Pick a destination, enjoy the road, enjoy your stay, embrace the order in the chaos.
If all your travels do is increase your blood pressure and irritate your bowels, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Kinda feels good to have another sixer on the website 🙂 Anyways, these are my recommendations to reduce your travels costs on a motorcycle, and I’ll be putting them all to test the next few months! If you have something to add, something you’ve experienced, let me know in the comments.