If you want to learn more about Psychology and Human Behaviour, talk to someone who goes around the world meeting different people and not someone who goes by the books. If you want to know more about Science, speak to someone who has experienced real beauty amid the vastness of nature and not someone who does not step out of the science lab. If you want to learn more about Geography, take a look at a traveler’s bucket list and not an Atlas. If you want to know more about Art, speak to someone who has learned the art of traveling, and not somebody who uses a classroom to bring out your inner creative self. Our next #Forker is that someone! Say hello to Tanveer Taj!
When 26-year old Tanveer started exploring places on his motorbike back in 2008 little did he know what he wanted to make out of it. But he did know that he enjoyed it, he loved it. He was, in fact, addicted! Having explored places such as Goa, Karnataka, Bhimashankar and Nashik on two wheels, Tanveer’s best ride so far has been from Delhi to Chennai where he covered 28 cities across 8 states in 34 days. Tanveer uses a GoPro to document each of his trips and share his experiences on his website, Road Shaman. Being the little celebrity that he is, we had to get in touch with him and get an insight into how his journey has been so far.
1. Tell us a list of all the places you have traveled to till date.
There are quite a few places that I have covered. But there are many many many more to go! My biggest fear is not being able to visit all the beautiful places that I keep reading and researching about.
2. Which was your most favourite place out of all and why?
That’s a tough one, every place is unique in its own way. But if I had to pick one, it would definitely be Jispa! The place is quite special to me because it marked my first solo motorcycle trip to the Himalayas. I halted at this small mountain village in Lahaul and stayed in the tent when the temperature outside was -4 degrees. It was terrible and I couldn’t sleep for a single minute, but that’s exactly what made it a night that I will never ever forget!
3. You have done both solo as well as group trips on bikes. Which one do you prefer and why?
It really depends on where I am going and what my state of mind is at that time. Sometimes, I just feel like taking my time and riding off to someplace without a plan. At the same time, I also enjoy a nice trip with a bunch of close friends. But I’m definitely not a big fan of riding with a large group of total strangers.
4. What is the best part about traveling solo?
The ZEN! You are not answerable to anyone, you can stay or move at your own will and pace. Plus, it gives you a lot of time to think in peace.
Another thing I love about traveling alone is that it always makes you meet new people. Going solo just makes it so much easier to interact with other travelers and locals.
5. What’s the worst part about traveling solo?
Nature is full of magical things, and travel sometimes gives you a direct access to it. There are times when you witness something which is totally out of this world, something so beautiful that you can’t even believe it exists. When you live moments like these, you really wish you could share them with someone.
6. What is the one thing that a biker absolutely needs and cannot do without?
A helmet and protective gear.
7. Three things that you never ever fail to have with you when you set out on a trip?
My GoPro, my travel diary and my wallet.
8. What is the significance behind the name Road Shaman?
I met an interesting Belgian girl three years back and we traveled together for some time after that. She told me all about Shamanism and connecting with the spiritual world, as she had traveled quite a lot including all across the Amazon forest in South America. I found the entire idea to be quite fascinating and that’s when the name RoadShaman hit me. I decided I cannot name my website anything else but that! The logo, too, is inspired from a ‘chakana’ which essentially is a symbol of spiritual healing.
9. What new things can we expect to see on Road Shaman in the coming months?
I am planning a few big trips in 2017. But what I am looking forward the most is a project that involves traveling with Frodo (my dog).
10. Your current schedule includes you juggling between a full-time job and taking off on biking trips. How does that work out and how do you manage to maintain a balance between the two?
I save up all my leaves and usually club my weekends to plan my trips. But yeah, it does get a bit difficult balancing work life and travel.
11. Any particular tips or tricks you follow to manage your expenses?
I have quit a few jobs for traveling and it has made me realize the importance of managing expenses. Now, I have two separate bank accounts, one for my salary and the other for travel. Every month, I make sure I transfer a good chunk of money in the travel account. This gives me the liberty to exhaust a large amount of money every three months and take off on a big trip.
12. Do you use any particular apps or programs before or during your travels? Which ones would you recommend?
No, I don’t use any app except for Google Maps for navigation.
13. What’ the one advice you would like to give someone who is setting out on a solo biking trip for the first time?
The first and foremost thing is to make sure that your ride is serviced well before you leave. While on the road, watch out for warning signs that your motorcycle gives you. You must know how to identify the early signs so you can get them fixed before any major breakdown. Other than this, there’s really nothing else to worry about. Just go for it, it’s not as tough as it looks and in the end, it is all worth it!
Everyone dreams of traveling a lot but there are very few who take the leap and set out to accomplish their dreams. This interview has definitely got us planning a biking trip to the hills soon! When are you leaving for yours?
Picture Courtesy: Road Shaman