6 steps to kick start your life
In my many years of riding I’ve had numerous experiences that are Analogies for Life and when I introspect, teach Valuable Lessons about Success and Achievement in day to day life.
I was always a dormant adventure and travel enthusiast, someone who loved travelling and exploring different places. Like many others I wasn’t really living the dream.
I was stuck knocking around between work and home, barely finding time for myself.
Then my life changed in April 2015, when I got back on a bike after a gap of 10 years, I bought a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500.
Since then I’ve crunched well over 1,00,000kms travelling through most of this beautiful country called India. I’ve done trips to Kanyakumari, Bhutan, Spiti Valley, Sikkim and parts of the North East, Ladakh and loads of trips around the Maharashtra region. I’ve ridden through 21 of the current 28 Indian states and 4 of the 8 Union Territories including J&K and Ladakh.
My first ever long trip was, in Jan 2016, from Pune to Kanyakumari and back with a friend. I don’t think anyone at home realized that this was just a trailer of what was to come.
This first trip really enthused me and the travel bug has since truly bitten. Now I am always looking for the next adventure and the next amazing challenge.
My entire journey of self discovery and identifying my passion started with
My First Solo Trip.
The way this trip happened helped me to introspect a lot about-
Finding one's passion, taking the plunge and pushing oneself out of one's comfort zone.
It all began way back in February 2017 when I rode solo from Pune all the way to Bhutan and back. This was a trip traversing close to 9000kms, 12 states, touching 4 International Borders.
While I did a small section of around 1000kms with a group of friends when in Bhutan, the rest of it was Solo and gave me a lot of soul searching time and allowed the voices in my head to really express themselves to me.
So here I want to share what happened before I left on this Amazing adventure of self exploration and discovery.
October 2016, I heard that my friends were planning a Trip to Bhutan, I immediately signed up and told them I would join them. That’s when I thought it might be interesting to ride solo to Bhutan and back and just join my friends for the short stretch inside Bhutan. However, right then it was just a thought, a little seed that had been planted in my mind. Over the next few months the seed germinated and the idea grew; however, I had yet not gathered the courage to tell my family that I would be embarking on this solo journey. I was sure that they would be worried and work to dissuade me from travelling across the country alone. Also, I think somewhere deep inside I was scared and apprehensive about venturing out into the unknown with No support other than myself.
I was still a novice when it came to long bike trips, I didn’t really know too much about how to deal with the issues my bike might throw up at me, I was scared to think what would happen if my fully loaded Royal Enfield Thunderbird (220kgs) fell down and I had to get it back up.
These fears were all the more pronounced considering some of the areas which I would be riding alone:
The supposed bandit ridden areas of UP & Bihar
The forests of West bengal and Assam
The remote snow ridden ghats of Eastern-Sikkim
The fears were many and the reasons to not travel alone were plenty! In all this, the only thing driving me was the fact that I was passionate about riding and wanted to explore my limits and see what I was capable of.
I wanted to see if I could overcome my fears and apprehensions, to do something I had never dreamed of doing before, to ride, to explore, to challenge.
Little did I know that this would be a journey of Self discovery and exploration.
Anyway, I digress from the message I wanted to share.
As they D-day came closer I knew that I would have to inform my family about my true plans, as they still thought I would go and return with the group.
I realized I needed to prepare myself for all probable eventualities.
1. Detailed planning-
Considering I was doing this alone, I felt the need to be in control of whatever happens on the trip.
So after setting a clear goal of what I wanted to achieve, the places I wanted to visit and the terrain I wanted to experience, I planned a detailed itinerary, with a plan B, C, etc. just in case things didn’t pan out the way I had hoped.
Many people told me to go with the flow and not chalk out the journey very rigidly and see what happens on a daily basis.
However, I realized that if I need to cover 9000 kms in a fixed number of days I would need to create a plan and have clarity of how I’m going to complete the whole trip with routes, stays, dates, approx. timings... all put down in detail.
I realize for any journey, personal, professional, spiritual, career a similar detailed plan and blueprint is necessary.
I planned my route, my stays, bike spares, where I or my bike would need rest and servicing…. I planned everything to the last detail.
2. Prepare oneself-
In order to complete the arduous trip, where on some days I would be riding over 800kms, I realized I would need to Prepare Myself Physically & Mentally.
I started building the strength in my back, arms and legs to ensure that I can deal with the various challenges long hours of riding might throw at me or even challenges of having to lift my bike should it fall.
Additionally, I researched on how to prepare my bike from a preventive maintenance perspective, as well as, what are the things I needed to learn about my bike to ensure that I could deal with at least some of the basic issues.
I planned my trip based on service stations and the need to service my bike and change oil at specific intervals to prevent any major breakdowns.
The idea was to do a proper risk analysis of various parameters and prevent some of the probable issues.
3. Build confidence and Self belief-
To overcome my fears I worked on reminding myself over and over again of Why I felt I could do this and What I was doing to make myself more capable of succeeding.
It was very easy to get sidetracked and think about all that might go wrong and what would happen if things went wrong. So I needed to keep my confidence up and not allow the negative thoughts to prevail.
I had planned to cover 1500kms in the first 2 days, riding 800kms to Bhopal on Day 1 and then 700kms to Lucknow on day 2.
I remember many people including my family telling me that it just wasn’t possible and I remember calculating and believing that it was.
I’m glad I stuck to my guns and did it, because something that others thought was impossible turned out easy when I truly believed it. I was in Bhopal by 5pm on Day 1 and in Lucknow by 4pm on Day 2.
I realized that if we have confidence and belief in ourselves then most things are possible!
4. Ignore external negativity or pressure-
If one’s inner pessimist isn’t enough, we have people all around us always voicing their fears and trying to discourage us from doing something different, risky or out of the ordinary.
People would keep telling how risky it was, telling all the things that could go wrong, telling me how dangerous it was to travel through certain parts of our country.
While every doubt raised by people was genuine and valid, I realized,
I could not let them derail my plan,
I could not let it push me off my path to explore myself.
So I listened to every doubt raised, analyzed them and then identified ways to mitigate them or plan to prevent them. Eg- people said it’s dangerous to travel through UP & Bihar alone, so I decided to ensure I reduce the risk by staying on the main highways, travelling only during the day and staying at a respectable hotel where my bike and luggage were likely to be safe.
The biggest test for me was when I finally told my family that I was riding solo and they refused to let me travel alone.
It was a dilemma between obeying the people I love or listening to my heart, between upsetting my loved ones or sacrificing my dreams, between giving excuses and following one’s passion.
I remember hesitatingly acknowledging my family’s fears and doubts, yet firmly telling them that I had to do …. what I had to do!
5. Stick to the plan-
Finally I embarked on this soul searching journey and realized that sticking to the plan was paramount.
If I missed the schedule for even a day, it would set me back and I would forever be trying to play catch up and would probably at some point have to compromise on the total plan.
Sticking to the plan required discipline and grit.
Discipline to wake up on time and leave as per plan, to push oneself out of bed even though the previous day had been a rigorous ride.
Off-course you need to keep some flexibility in your plan, but,
Don’t make changes to make it easier for yourself, make changes if needed to still achieve the end goal.
What I mean to say is-
Be open to changing the route you’ll take….don’t change the destination, unless you are choosing a better one, a more adventurous one or a more challenging one.
For the achievement of any goal, no matter how easy or difficult, Grit is probably the most important ingredient.
As described by Angela Duckworth (Angela Duckworth) Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth - YouTube it is the power of passion & perseverance.
When the ride gets tough, when the body begins to hurt, when you can no longer feel your hands….are you able to push on, are you able to keep moving forward?
a.) Do I have the Grit to reach my destination, no matter what?
b.) Do I have the passion and perseverance to push my limits?
c.) Do I let myself off easy or do I push myself towards bigger and better goals?
During the many hours on my bike, alone on the road, even more isolated in my helmet, with only my thoughts for company ….
I realized !
this journey and its preparation had been an analogy for life, a guide for achievement of any goal, a path to travel as an Individual, an Employee, an Entrepreneur or a Family member.