In 2010, I & some friends decided to go to Leh in the Himalayas on our motorcycles. We had been planning for months. 2 of us had even quit our jobs just for this. Disaster struck the day before departure- Leh and all roads leading there were struck by flash floods and heavy landslides killing and stranding hundreds of people in that region. We were still in Delhi, still about 400 miles to anywhere close to it.
If we had left even two days before, we could have been trapped or killed but it felt like we were given another opportunity to carry on our adventure. And so we did. That night we decided to go to the neighboring Himalayan region of Lahaul-Spiti, an area we had no idea about since all our planning was for Leh. All we had now was a map in our hands.
Our motorcycles were small single-cylinder engines. We were carrying only the basics for supplies and spares. We weren't really prepared for rain but luck was on our side and we had beautiful weather throughout- 2 days of rain out of 14 isn't bad! We just followed one road and it turned out to be the two best weeks of my life, yet.
My only advice to anyone — ride a motorcycle. Not because you can go fast or because it looks “cool”. But mainly because it can teach you many things and give a new perspective towards life. That trip taught us several things. It taught some to relax and not aim to see everything possible. It taught responsibility by showing effects of alcohol on AMS. It taught us perseverance in the face of deep-water crossings and quicksand-like mud. It taught us to celebrate every obstacle and beautiful view that we came across. It taught us to stop and smell the roses (we’d stay a day longer if we liked a place). It taught us to be best friends even when we barely knew each other. It taught us to enjoy the simple pleasures of life- like a hearty breakfast or a glimpse of vegetation! Most importantly, it kept us grounded. We were not keeping score, racing against time, marking points on a map, trying to make deadlines or writing magazine articles- just riding because we were enjoying it. If there has been a time I've felt really ‘free’, that was it.
So ride a motorcycle- every day if you can. It’s a humbling but fun experience once you get over your fears. Over the years motorcycling has taught me to find peace in the chaos of a city without escaping it, to keep doing only things that I love doing and most importantly, to stay real and true to myself. For instance, I have been doing more non-profit work as a graphic designer- because I got tired of brands misleading people giving them a false sense of self-worth. I have even moved across the world to be with the woman I love. Motorcycling has inspired my life in various other ways that’s impossible to list here.
Like riding, Listserve proves that to be “wise” and “philosophical”, one doesn't need to be a spiritual guru or have learned meditation techniques or read millions of books. All it takes is their unique life experiences that everyone can learn from. The naysayers just need to appreciate themselves a bit more.
Thank you Listserve and everyone for reading and sharing your stories and beliefs. You are welcome to visit my website (anuranjan-dot-com) to know me, my work, the trip or if you want to simply connect for good food or go riding in NYC!
New York, NY