Vagabonding: 2.5 years on…

Long term travel

It has been a long time on the road. I do not have a base from where I travel to and fro. Nor do I want one for now. Everywhere is home. The exhilaration that fizzed in the first year of travel has gradually settled. The initial adventures on the road have now become routine.

It is up to me to find new ones. Change is what keeps me going.

Once a year, I visit my hometown. The rest of the year though, I try to strike a balance between the mountains and the plains, the villages and the cities, solitude and company. Hiking is a regular, which goes on but there is a lot of room for experimentation and pursuing other interests.

The year commenced on a monotonic scale where every day comprised of waking up and playing the same chords over and over again. BMC(Basic Mountaineering Course) was 3 months away and this was my time to prepare. Discipline for fitness has never been my strong suit but it was the need of the hour. Change is nature.

The rhythm gradually followed. I realized the importance of eating light and felt the joy of the release of endorphins after a good muscle stretch.  


BMC is the first step into mountaineering where the whole course is spread over 28 days and the techniques of climbing on rock, snow and ice are imparted. 4 weeks at NIM, Uttarkashi was a unique ride. It was exciting and frustrating at the same time. At the end of it, I felt stronger, both physically and mentally.   

The following summer was spent where it should be – in the lap of the Himalayas. Surprisingly, snow followed me everywhere, from Gangotri and Yamunotri to Dodital and Rudranath. I finally took respite in the meadows of Dayara and enjoyed the sunshine at Raithal, which is also one of the most beautiful villages I have come across in the state. So was Harsil.

A few months in the mountains went by too fast as it always does. Uttarakhand is different from Himachal in a few ways. The treks are lesser known and yet in variety, the peaks are majestic while villages are quiet with not a lot of inflow of tourists. And yet, the highways are the busiest, catering to the massive influx of pilgrims.

The last days were spent amidst the deodar trees in Almora in the beautiful company of some friends, new and old while I got ready for the next season.


For getting the best experience during travel, it is crucial to be at the right place at the right time. And there is no better time to witness the Western Ghats than in the monsoons. Covered with a carpet of green, the Sahyadris look magical. The diversity of my country surprised me.

It is here that I got my taste of hiking in the western part of India while it rained. But it wasn’t easy. Hiking during the monsoons is altogether a different ball game and though it looks fascinating, it isn’t the safest or comforting, especially for multi-day ones.

The hikes weren’t as many as I had planned, and I took solace in climbing artificial walls and indulging in vada and several other pao’s on the streets of Pune. Ganesh Chaturthi was a first for me. The massive celebration and the drum beats on the final day is one to immerse in for everybody. There were several little getaways including Satara and Ajanta-Ellora. One season isn’t enough to explore it all.

Satara: Lesser known Maharashtra   


Come November, it was time to head south. No day passed by without a dosa or an idli. The initial days in Hampi were the most beautiful. The weather, the people, the setting and the sport; all came together perfectly to create a meditative tune. Bouldering was calming and gratifying. I rejoiced. But then, nothing is permanent. I got bored of the routine after a couple of weeks. Travelling is pretty comforting in India with the known elements. Ease made me wonder. The thrill had vanished.

This journey wasn’t chosen to live life on the sidelines. Though I am content, the joy and ecstasy, the hope, disappointment and profound emotions from the new and the unknown are what I seek. And yet not keep my mind fixated on it. And yet, not make it a race. I have never participated anyway.         

As the winter approached, it was time to ride the desert.

My beautiful days in Hampi!


Riding on the long highways broke my back. 2 months felt like a lifetime. I moved from one town to another admiring the beautiful roads and the backdrop, checked in to empty dorms, marvelled at the historic forts and structures and relished the local delicacy.

It is one of the Indian states where the culture and heritage are still intact. And that is why it is special. The language and the food are distinct, and so are the landscapes and the cities.

If I had to point out, witnessing the Demoiselle cranes at sunrise in Khichan was one of my most memorable moments. Some experiences could never be described in any form.

The lack of fellow travellers around was a blessing in disguise. It gave me ample time to enjoy my company and to understand the ebbs and flows of vagabonding. Everything is subject to change and without notice.  

A long eventful day on the road!

Long-term travel is not easy and not for everybody. But everybody should give it a try at least once. I have my share of challenging times on the road. But a bad day on the road is still better than a good day at the office. Every day serves as a reminder. My mind still wanders and my eyes sparkle at the thought of travel as I pen this down, from my hometown. Whatever adventure the next day brings, I will never know.

The best part of the last year or so, though, has been the rhythm of fitness I have gotten into. I am not draining myself or trying to overdo it. Persistency is the key while I let the endorphins sweat on their share of the job.

Life is short. Stay raw!

5 Replies to “Vagabonding: 2.5 years on…”

  1. Faizan says: Reply

    Awesome brother!

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      Thanks bro!

      1. Pratyaksh says: Reply

        Wow, Amazing!❤️

  2. This is a great read bruh. Time flies. Love your videos and stories bruh. Rock on!

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      Thanks bruh!

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