You know what is the biggest fear of any traveller? It is travelling with the wrong people and ending up having a bad experience. When you are on the road, that is the last thing you want. Especially when you are away from the familiar and making sense of the unfamiliar around you.
I, too am choosy with the people I travel. This time, I was supposed to travel with 14 strangers.Would I get along with them? I choose not think of it and went with my instinct.
What I figured from The Big Bang Trip’s(TBBT) website was that it was not just another group travel. With a 30-hour train journey, from Mumbai to Delhi, I was off to uncover a new experience.
Travel to know thy self-better
On our first day, we met 21-year-old Nimisha Verma, who was our first instigator. At TBBT, instigators are people who were there to nudge us to look beyond the obvious. We met Nimisha in Delhi. She runs a Home For Artists in Jaipur where she offers a free stay to all artists. At 19, her parents did not allow her to pursue things she wished and she left home. So now, she is lending a helping hand to people for the love of art and travel. One thing I picked up from Nimisha’s talk was that she explored the universe inside her to be able to make sense of the outside world.
With this inspiring talk, we cut the cake and celebrated the launch of The Big Bang Trip, Season 3!
Away from the monotonous life
When each of us introduced ourselves, I realised that despite the diversity of the group, we had one one thing in common: None of us was leading a monotonous life. Perhaps, this was thanks to the selection criteria that the Big Bang Trip had.
After breaking the ice and having dinner, we set off towards our bus.
Endless conversations that made our time memorable
With the endless conversations, the 14-hour bus ride to Kasol seemed shorter. The gushing sound of river Parvati, the mountains, a good view from our hostel and the pleasant weather made me like Kasol already. The night was filled with dancing sessions, games, drinks, fire poi, star gazing and getting to know each other without any judgement.
High on life
Vikrant the sailor (who has been around the world in 369 days) took upon himself the responsibility to stock up the alcohol. With the alcohol quotient always up, conversations about the purpose of life, love, movies, freedom and escapism seemed even more interesting. We were all up at the night and by the end of it all crashed in any room that was the nearest.
Maggie and eggs for Rs 600!
It was 4 am and some of us were hungry. People from the hostel we were staying in Kasol told us about a small hotel that is open 24/7. We reached and maggie, eggs and coffee saved us. However, little did we know that it would cost us a lot than we imagined. Who would have thought maggie, the staple hostel food would cost us so much!
Enough freedom to choose where we wanted to go
We could choose to trek, sit by a cafe, or just do nothing. There was enough room for what everyone wanted. This was something that followed all through the seven days. At times, we savoured the momos, on other times we could order whatever we wished for.
Lessons learnt on how one can save up for travel
In Kasol, we met Colonel Narinder Dahiya who had taken a voluntary retirement as he wanted to travel and was promoting the backpacking culture and he liked interacting with youngsters. He spoke about financial independence and steps one could take to save up and retire early. For all of us out there, these tips came in handy.
No WiFi and still connected
With each day, we were looking forward to explorations, inspirations and dreams. It was time to bid adieu to Kasol and head to our next destination Manali. We were in old Manali, in Prini. The best thing about all the places was there wasn’t any WiFi connection. None of us was glued to our phone. (Apart from clicking pictures :D) In Manali, we trekked to one of the most underrated waterfalls , Jogini falls. The co-founder Chandrabhan aka CB also broke his leg, but the fun continued.
Everyday cooking vs cooking with the Big Bang Trip
In Manali, for all of us, the cooking session was a memorable experience. It was fun to see the guys chop 2 kg of onions. (A plan we girls conspired together :D) Some of us called our parents , friends and took help from YouTube to look for recipes. Any good collaboration should begin with food, shouldn’t it? 😀
The menu included dal makhani, chicken, paneer, rice, chappatis, raita and fruit custard. It was one of the most random kitchens where someone was getting a drink refilled, someone else was singing songs, there were videos being shot and the poor boys were still chopping the onions :p
Imagine 14 people coming together in a kitchen to cook food! For all of us, this was the best dinner that was made with so much love <3
How about travelling without money?
At Manali, post the awesome cooking session, we met Anuj Khurana, founder of Move the man who travelled in India without a single penny. He bartered for work, relied on strangers and came strong with the message “People are good” and nothing should stop you from following your dreams. Currently, he has settled in Manali and working on his venture 4play
Singing songs till wee hours of the morning
Another tradition that continued for the seven days was singing non-stop. What’s a road trip without some good music? All dug out songs from the 90s and nostalgia engulfed. We had super-hyper Rajat who turned out to be an awesome singer in the night! We also had Gaurav, a who has the talent of singing a song on any random situation.
The art of letter writing?
I don’t remember the last time I wrote a letter to someone. At the Big Bang Trip, we all wrote a letter to self and someone who meant a lot to us. Sonia, the founder of The Goodwill Tribe, came all the way from Dubai was an amazing facilitator. (More on the sessions in the next post)
A walk to remember
We visited a monastery in Chauntara and walked through a Tibetian settlement. I think a place is best explored when you walk. We also explored the Deer Park and learnt that they are always open to take volunteers. Some of us already have plans to volunteer with them.
Up in the Air
The best they say is for the last. We ended our trip paragliding in Bir Billing, 3000 feet above sea level. The peace and freedom it gave all of us were something which cannot be described in words.
Up in the air! Paragliding in Bir Billing
While I was making sense of the unfamiliar around me, it also opened a window for some awesome conversations and new friendships. I am glad I decided to trust my instinct and choose to travel with the Big Bang Trip!
TBBT is all about connecting with like-minded people, exploring, meeting people who are doing extraordinary things beyond the 9-5 life. Of course, a road trip to beautiful places remained the biggest attraction.
For more details go to The Big Bang Trip.
P:S : My trip with the Big Bang Trip was sponsored. Thoughts shared here remain mine.