In terms of travel, the year 2020 has been all about cancelled trips, quarantine, limited flying with masks, PPE kits and face shields and a zillion other security guidelines. While malls, gyms and restaurants are gradually re-opening, the itch to travel to a far off country or even city persists more than ever before.
On the 74th Indian Independence Day, which recently passed, a group of five travel enthusiasts from Jaipur released the trailer of a thrilling travelogue covering a whopping distance of 5000 kilometers across 5 borders on Indian motorcycles. Born from an idea to redefine the scope of ‘freedom’ and to experience different cultures, languages, customs and traditions by crossing boundaries, both physically and figuratively, the journey is aptly titled ‘The Great Independence Day Ride’. Spanning a period of five weeks, the adventurous ride was flagged off last year on 15 August from the Indian Embassy in Singapore and concluded in India, journeying through Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.
The 5 travellers of the ride include Nikhil Kashyap, an independent producer and a marketing consultant; Bhanu Pratap Singh, an entrepreneur and aesthetic consultant; Harkirat Singh, a commercial pilot; Divya Raghav, a psychologist as well as Harkirat and Divya’s 5-year-old super trooper, Enaaya. The riders hail from different backgrounds and despite knowing each other and travelling together several times, this experience was first of its kind for them.
In Nikhil Kashyap’s words, “The Great Independence Day Ride was an attempt to redefine perceptions across borders, to celebrate independence, savour food, and rejoice music. Road trips let you stop in every small town, learn the history and stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit of the place.”
The Great Independence Day Ride was shot entirely on mobile phones and has now been documented in its entirety in mini-episodes and will soon be launched as a web series. Each episode will encapsulate the bikers’ exploration of exotic destinations, diverse cultures, local communities, updates of highways of all 5 countries along with food reviews, border formality intricacies and tips on different cultural etiquettes they experienced.
While on the road, the riders met various biker groups and many travellers who showed them unexplored parts of their respective countries. Reminiscing about the ride, Bhanu Pratap Singh added: “The most memorable part of the trip was experiencing the feeling of fraternity and brotherhood within the biker communities that we met along the way. Their hospitality and warmth towards us went beyond our common love for motorcycles. The pinnacle of this trip was Myanmar which for the longest time had been closed for tourism.”
Being a commercial pilot, Harkirat is used to a certain kind of routine and discipline. With no prior bookings and no planning, the ride was a first-of-its-kind experience for him. “This trip was a learning experience for all of us. And now I do believe that these kind of cross country trips are best done with flexibility and one should not stress over petty things ”, opines Harkirat.
The sole woman rider of the group, Divya Raghav found the ride to be challenging and liberating at the same time. “I needed a break from the monotony of my daily chores as a homemaker and this ride proved to be a complete game-changer. I let go of the control I exercise in my daily life and embraced the different experiences wholly”, said Divya while talking about her experience of the ride. “Since we were five of us travelling together, it was also easier to manage the trip with my five year old”, she added.
There is no denying the fact that travel and tourism are one of the worst hit sectors in the Coronavirus outbreak. The forthcoming months are going to witness new travel trends largely dominated by long road trips in private vehicles rather than the mainstream travel via flights or other public transport mediums.
A fitting tribute to the freedom of travel, the ‘The Great Independence Day Ride’ hopes to empower tourism and encourage travellers to adopt ‘Highway’ as the New Normal of travelling.
The teaser of the travelogue can be viewed here.
Stay tuned for the web series of ‘The Great Independence Day Ride’.