Written by Aishwarya Phadke | Sahyatri, Swapathgami Cycle Yatra 2020
Ever since starting Travel Dirty, I believe I have been pushing the boundaries of the concept of comfort zone through minimalist, wholesome travel experiences.
Recently though, I participated in a week long cycle yatra, which is by far the most unconventional travel I've undertaken.
Money-less, gadget-less 5 days of cycling on a basic non-geared cycle through central Kerala.
Why you ask? Well, personal intentions for each of us participants may have been different, but the idea was to challenge the assumption that travel can't be done without money; the idea was to experiment with gift culture, where we would rely on all our needs to be fulfilled by the universe (through kind strangers on the way) either selflessly or in exchange for some help we could offer them.
Planned by Travellers' University who believe in learning through travel, this 1 week away from my phone, money, chemical products, and only carrying 3 sets of clothes was transformational in more ways than even I understand at the moment.
Countless moments of immense gratitude towards strangers who offered us bananas, meals, water, biscuits, places to stay amongst other acts of kindness; there were times when we ate dry bread and bananas stuffed between two biscuits because that's all we received, but there were more times when we ate till our hearts and stomachs full with Kerala's delicacies and hospitality.
We bathed in flowing rivers, took breaks by laughing under the trees, ate sharing with our Sahyatris, played games roadside waiting for the sun to become gentler and just rediscovered humanity and ourselves in God's own country.
There's more stories than I can recollect and one post won't be enough to even get started.
I'm inspired, overwhelmed and changed! So many lessons learnt for Travel Dirty as well. Keep doing what you guys are doing!
Here's to learning and friendship!
Check out this video for more stories and experiences of the yatra.
Aishwarya is the founder of Travel Dirty, and plans immersive, soulful travel experiences in and around Pune and Maharashtra. She is on a mission to make travel experiential and sustainable.