Editor’s note: You don’t have to quit your job to pursue your passion for travelling if you plan your work and passion like Raj Trivedi.
Enjoy reading his story!
Interviewed and written by: Stuti Khetan
Our upbringing is determined by the way our parents bring us up. It also gives shape to our deepest passions and biggest dreams. We all possess a quirk that is passed on by our parents. Raj received the enthusiasm to travel, and open-mindedness to things that the Indian society is rather conservative about from his dad. And he feels extremely lucky for it.
His dad took him on a lot of trips and adventures ever since Raj was a kid, and he recalls them fondly. In a way, his dad pretty much shaped his entire set of aspirations and the way he looks at his future. His dad was also the one who encouraged his first backpacking trip on a shoestring budget.
Raj works extremely hard to make these trips happen. For nine months, he works seven days a week just hustling without a break. He is dedicated to his job in an IT company, but after that, he treats himself to a 3-month long vacation every year.
He started from the age of 20 and has many stories to share. Some are chaotic, some horrific, and some extremely heartwarming! But the common thing in all of them has been their offbeat nature, and as he remembers them, a naughty smile forms on his face. Raj is someone who is not afraid to try new things. In fact, most of his travels have been about testing his comfort zone.
Although Raj very firmly believes in the philosophy - "Take your life as it comes", he has a very specific style of travelling. He prefers walking or bicycling even over long distances and can adjust anywhere and anyhow but without compromising on sanitation. This is what attracts him to Airbnb and also sometimes Couchsurfing, which he is still exploring. Through the years, he has learnt some lessons and developed some habits that help him travel most efficiently. He has been kind enough to share it with us -
a) Google Translator Mobile App
One of Raj's biggest goals is to make local connections. He is shamelessly inquisitive and tries his best to understand a place and culture as much as he can. To go about this, he uses a translator, especially in foreign countries. This makes communication much easier for him and helps him to converse with the locals in their own language. When people see his effort, it’s difficult to treat him as ordinary, and they open their arms wide and warm.
b) Advance planning
For a trip in December, which is usually the most expensive time to travel, Raj books tickets way back in March. He books his hotels, makes his itinerary and does intense research with just the right amount of space left for spontaneity. In fact, he has so much planned out in his head that he knows where he wants to go this year, next year, the year after that and in 2021 as well!
He blushes a little, as he admits that he likes to do Yoga for 15-20 minutes every morning, and especially when he travels! He strongly believes that it keeps him immune to the weather changes and helps him stay fresh and energetic through the day. It makes a positive impact on his entire personality and in turn, on his trip.
d) Approaching a local
Every culture is different, and it is impossible to understand it in first go. Raj's solution? He always approaches the oldest person from a family for questions, because they usually have the most accurate answers. He does so with a big warm smile on his face and knows it can't go wrong. He also believes that if you ask, you shall get.
e) Work out the cost
One of the most important lessons to learn from Raj is not to be intimidated by how much money one might potentially spend, especially on a trip abroad. He says that there are always ways to get around it, save and reduce the total expenditure. His presence of mind and risk-taking ability has worked out in his favour so far. His passion for travelling has also made him go on journeys without money, finding his dough along the way.
95% of his trips have been solo, but some of his craziest stories are with his friends. There are very few people who can adjust with his fast pace and style of constant exploration, and his two buddies (Amey Mhatre and Kaushik Kini) are his best company - whether it is a crazy tour across Thailand or a filmy winter road trip to Malvan.
His Man v/s Wild situation in Gir, Rajasthan on foot, the kind stranger in Meghalaya, lesser-known areas of Goa, the Chriskindl market of Germany, the Koala bears of Australia, all of them moved something in him. But it was his experience of celebrating Loi Krathong festival that truly changed his life when he visited Thailand 5 years back. It created an evident "before”, “after” phase, and that's when he knew for sure that he wanted to do this for the rest of his life!
His dream is crystal clear - he wants to cover the world map. It sounds like a common aim but how many people you know are actually going around to execute it? This man is! And that too while dodging a tough and demanding career, questions of marriage and some serious responsibilities. He keeps himself motivated with dreamy ideas of a travel scrapbook, a Polaroid camera and some beautiful connections.