It’s his life philosophy – to travel responsibly and to weave of travel the fabric of our lives that inspired us. We caught up with Prashanth to ask him questions about life, travel, and more.
Your life is built around the fable of a wandering gypsy. Tell us about life before and after. What changed?
It all began with the bike ride to Shivanasamudram. I never imagined that short day ride to Shivanasamudra would go on and come to this stage. It started with bike rides over the weekends mainly to escape the busy city life. And then the treks in the Western Ghats and nearby hills. Long drives with the family to go out and explore all corners of Karnataka (still lots of places to visit). And in the recent years – cycling, which has become a passion.
We love traveling ourselves and, particularly, to places less explored or unknown. What is the one (or more) place that you stumbled upon and loved, and would recommend to us in a flash?
It’s difficult to pick one place, and I wouldn’t say it as ‘stumbled upon’, but it has to be the ‘Western Ghats’ – one of the 36 UNESCO Heritage sites in India.
There are loads of hidden gems, places for all age groups and activities – huge mountain ranges for trekkers, countless number of water falls and rivers for adventure seekers (rafting, kayaking etc.), temples for the religious, twisty roads for those who love to go on long drives, friendly people, and the delicious Malenadu cuisine!
When and why did you take up cycling? How does cycling change travel?
It’s like watching the world go by in slow motion when you are in the saddle.
I grew up listening to stories of my father who used to cycle around my hometown and Tumkur, where he did his graduation. His adventures of exploring the nearby places back in the 60s, how he used to cycle around in the middle of the night – has to be one of the main reasons. Plus who doesn’t love cycling? ☺
Earlier, cycling was only a recreation over the weekend around home. And then came ‘cycle to work’ and slowly explore the world in slow motion.
It gives a different perspective when you start riding between towns/places.
We saw your impressive India bucket list, and we were struck by this one in particular – “Zero travel for 15 days/a month – Start with Rs 0 money. Earn, beg, borrow en route.” What do you aim to experience or understand through this remarkable journey?
I was born in a middle-class family, and I’ve had the chance to see and experience (to some extent) both lifestyles – the days with the struggles and the extreme opposite. When I look back I see a huge difference between what and how I was years ago and now and the change so far that was part of life.
The plan here is to start nothing, be a nobody and see how it goes.
This is just an idea – I’m not sure when I’ll be able to try it. And even if I start, I’m not sure if I can pull it off completely.
What is your bucket list for places of the world? We see that you went to the UK and Scotland. Do you have any more plans?
I haven’t thought or created a bucket list for the world because of one main reason – it’ll be an endless list.
My visits to the UK (England and Scotland) were because of my work assignments. I got a chance to roam around the country. To be honest, it’s very difficult to keep the India list itself to a short list. I’ve been reluctant to add any more to the list – not until I tick-off a considerable number of places from the current list.
Currently, you are a ‘weekend traveler.’ Do you ever think of quitting your job and launching into full-time travel?
Short answer – No, not in the near future. The weekend wandering helps me break the monotony.
Add in the holidays around the weekend, make it a long weekend or take off on weekdays to avoid the weekend crowd – I’m content with that.
But, sometime down the line, after many years – may be! When I plan/decide to retire from my day job ☺
Are there aspects of your thinking or personality that was shaped or has changed for the better due to travel?
When I look back, I realize that the initial days of wandering were more like trying to escape from something (I still don’t know from what and why!).
It was just zoom from place A to place B and then go on again – more of a restless roaming around. As I grew older (and wiser – I think I got a bit wiser at least), the way I travel changed. A good friend always used to talk about the difference between a tourist and a traveler. I think somewhere during these years, I transitioned from the former to latter.
You are also a long distance runner. Have you thought of traveling to other places to take part in marathons and experience the place through running?
Most probably this one will be an addition to my India bucket list soon – run marathons in every state and union territory of India.
While doing that I can plan a vacation around the running event – ‘Runcation’, a recent term coined by crazy runners! So far, all my running events were in and around Bangalore. I guess it’s time for the next level ☺
How do you define frugal traveling? What are the good and bad (if any!) aspects of frugal travel?
Keep the expenses minimal – only for the necessities.
One example: I did a three-day cycling tour with a friend. I spent about Rs. 2400 for the entire trip – which included bus fare (to & from – overnight journey) carrying our cycles, accommodation, and food.
There are two aspects to being frugal. One is that I don’t feel much pinch in my pocket. For example, why go to an exorbitant place for lunch/dinner? I prefer a small restaurant to try out the local cuisine. I attribute being frugal to my upbringing – why splurge unnecessarily? But sometimes I throw away all this and enjoy what life has to offer.
What is your favorite, inspirational travel quote?
It’s the journey that counts not the destination. ☺
You can find our more Prashanth’s travels on his website, Payaniga
All images here are copyrighted to Prashanth.0