A Motorcyclist’s Perspective

At the start of a long trip, a little nervousness along with excitement sets in my mind. I didn’t know if I would make it. I had a motorcycle, my life partner and a combined will of both of us, to explore. Seeing a country from the seat of a motorcycle gives me a perspective that cannot be achieved in any other way; I feel every up and every down on my way.Sometimes I am hindered by the wind, sometimes pushed along. Being vulnerable makes me appreciate the kindness of strangers and fellow riders.

My friends gave good wishes for the trip and I left my apartment; soon the enormity of the trip that I had undertaken sank in.

It felt incredible to be on my motorcycle after a long break. My senses prickled with all the new sights and smells of a culture so different from the place I belong. I began my journey along the silk route, which was used by early traders who carried salt and sugar on their shoulders. This route has something latent in it. Every person who takes this route has something on his shoulders, whether an army officer having the responsibility of keeping the territory safe or a rider like me having the responsibility to ride safe every moment and to offer help to every passerby in every way possible. This route sets in a sense of responsibility for the reasons known only to the travellers themselves.

I rode on an average 200 kilometers a day on a tough terrain and slept inside the roadside shelters which never allowed me to get disconnected from the outside. Other than visible thin wooden walls ,everything from outside felt similar inside as well. From windchill to low oxygen levels- everything stayed with me through out that stretch of the route. On that remote highway, I had the most encounters with other riders, with whom I had an unsaid connect ,displayed through the small thumbs up gesture while passing by. Bikers have a strange connect with each other because they all know the amount of sacrifices they had made to be at that place, in that moment.

The combination of strong winds, high altitude and rough roads creates obstacles in the travel and slows me down to make sure I pass through, watching the spectacular beauty of that region. There were times when no one crossed me for many hours and I felt like going through a no man’s land. This uninterrupted solitude is very relieving. Solitude doesn’t sets us apart from other people; quite the opposite: it unites us because we have this tremendous privilege of being able to communicate with each other through the little windows of our senses.

Some places are so remote and enchanting that they are not known to the travellers at large and have no name. I felt that not everything has to be shared on the map, and location tagged. Its good to keep things sort of a little secret.

After 3000 kilometers and 15 days on road I finally made it back home.I was glad to finish it and I knew I would be happy about it a bit later. Once I started to look back at that beautiful journey, that beautiful memory; those were the best days, the best time of my life. They have given me so much; so many friendships ,so many experiences, so many beautiful things that I have seen. It brought me to the next level in my life, because I believe life is a series of events and one thing leads to another, and for me that probably started the day I sat on my motorcycle 13 years ago.

At that time I had no roadmap to follow at all. I probably wouldn’t have developed this perception about life without this motorcycle journey. It taught me that I enjoyed living outside and more connected with nature.

I think everything is connected. If you do something scary or adventurous today, you will get creative, and tomorrow you will be inspired, you will find solutions and you move on from there.If you do nothing today, tomorrow will be exactly the same.

Spark – An Ignition Within

Sitting in my room I thought I needed to clear my mind and just get things into perspective about my life goals, about the goals of the journey I was about to partake in and why I was doing this? what I wanted from it? I thought that this trip would help me to internalise things and I will take the time to become untangled and quiet.

Spark works for both man and machine ; spark for travel in me gets aligned with the spark in the spark plug of my motorcycle and having the same spark we push each other and travel unlimited kilometres. The long straight highways, the white centre line of the road and yellow boundaries act as a ladder which takes me to a different dimension of life called mountains. In the mountains, I feel like I have arrived into the journey of life that I always wanted to live.

Sometimes I think I don’t need roads to travel nor any vehicle. The whole journey starts within my mind and gets fuelled up with a will to change the monotonous and robotic routine of city life. From anticipation to execution, I live the journey everyday within my mind and every second of my execution while on the trip feels like a deja vu. To be able to manifest what I had thought, is like inventing a new dimension and putting it into production.

I like keeping the mind blank as a photographic plate and I let the retinal lens capture whatever is out there in the wavelength of light spectrum.

The vastness of the landscape makes me feel so lost in time and space, and I make no progress or visible progress because the vastness of the landscape creates an illusion that I am stationary while actually I am moving. It feels like an infinite and never ending blissful road with huge mountains connecting the earth and the sky in distant horizon. As I write, I am just looking for words to describe what I had seen and felt in that exact moment ,but words have a barrier which can be crossed over only by the power of sight and for that you have to be there in that moment.

The whole area above 4500 Mtrs is just other worldly and incredibly beautiful. There are geysers ,salt lakes, mineral lakes- while all of it is a cold desert. While riding, some places I came across were breathtakingly beautiful and I thought why I was not aware of these places before; a similar thought which comes to me when I arrive at a state of mind I never knew existed before. The outside world is completely relatable to the world we have built inside our minds and the more we explore on the outside the more we open up on the inside. We need to go outdoors to find a way inside.

As I travel through the showmanship of the clay, the journey on the outside becomes the mirror image of the psychological solitude and I develop a seekers perception, accepting the duplicity of deception which mind and matter plays.

A part of our life remains untouched if we don’t travel. Life is all about living in the present moment; the past and the future are misunderstandings of the mind which are either gone or projected. The only experience that exists is in this present moment and this is what “existence” is.

Riding Through Trans-Himalayas : A Pilgrimage from Bondage to Beyond.

What being beyond means, is to have profound experience of life. The anticipation and excitement for the possibilities that are waiting for us. I searched for bliss and found it latent in me like a fire latent in wood. Happiness is when what we think, what we say and what we do are in harmony. I think about riding in Himalayas at least 10 times a day and whenever I am able to ride, it all harmonises leaving me with a doorway to what I call beyond. 

In city we compare ourselves to every person next to us, be it in office, house, gym etc and try to become better in comparison, but in Himalayas I find myself  standing next to the infinitely massive peaks pointing towards the cosmos and galaxies directing me to be like cosmos, to merge with the cosmos where time looses it’s relevance, so as my identity. I cannot become nothing, but at least become small. The purpose of my trip is to wear myself out . The mask that I carry in society is blown off. I am not a man or a woman, or this or that. Walking and riding as life, just like the breeze. 

There is a reason why places of worship are placed high up in the mountains , because when I go there, the sense of who I am gets dropped. Only then something larger that who I am , will become a living reality for me. 

Looking around it all looks so  surreal, riding in these mountains which look completely untouched yet defeating the best designs from the world’s best architect. On these mountains and these terrains there is a different kind of energy. I am being driven by something else which I cannot locate inside me. It is very difficult to explain. On my first trip to Trans-Himalayan region , I saw the humongous nature of what was there . Every-time I thought of grabbing every colour and shape my eyes can see, I wanted to camp there for months to understand and soak in everything. Later I realised that to know every colour and shape I will have to be here forever and become one with it. 

We were riding 9-10 hours daily on difficult terrains but body and mind were not connected so we never felt any pain and with the beauty that we were surrounded, it just doesn’t matter how long we ride. 

Passion is the utmost will that a human being is capable of gathering within himself. It can be for anything that our senses can capture. I always like to be surrounded by these magnificent mountains. It is not important what you are passionate about, passion for anything is a very beautiful way of keeping yourself aside. If you know how to keep ourselves aside, only then something larger than you becomes a living reality for you. 

This riding experience is a phenomenon in itself whose existence is felt just like a breeze. Here in trans-Himalayan region the intensity of the experience is such that it is not easy to miss when you are here. All it takes that you are available there, that’s all. This is existentially there, vibrating and reverberating like unimaginable. Just traveling silently we absorb for what we have have made ourselves available for. The stillness above 5000 meters is felt in every breath we take and every movement we make. Even the time stops to tick and a hint of timelessness appears making every activity to stop. A sense of lightness, sense of freedom from everything is all I can remember. Here no matter who you are, as a human being, this hits you. A seed of a new dimension is implanted within you and the impact that it has, life is never the same again. This seed cannot be destroyed by anything. If you reduce the sense of what is you — your likes, your dislikes, your whims, your fancies, your love, your hate; if you make yourself into an open doorway, if life breathes, it will grow very fast. This is not a seed which will bring forth a tree; this is a seed that is capable of bringing forth a mountain. 

Mountains are a phenomenon, Himalayas are phenomenon. This is not something that you worship, not something that you philosophise, this is not something that you identify with, this is not a brand that you can carry on your forehead. This is phenomenon that you must find access to, this is a phenomenon that has answers for everything in the universe. 

Going together with my life partner  to consciously lose ourselves, if not entirely, at least a part, is not about building bonds, it is about stepping into the beyond. 

When ,being engaged with the limitations of life becomes tedious, then wanting to step into the beyond becomes a strong need. Otherwise, nothing wrong with anything, just its limited, that’s all. Some realise it’s limited early on, some upon their deathbed. I am very happy that everything in my life has fallen together to allow me to get this experience which might be once in a trillion chance. 

The pilgrimage means you are on, moving in your life, not settling. All the time moving from this day to the next. If for one day you become stagnant, stagnation always stinks. Let this pilgrimage become a source of aliveness and that is only possible when you make space for everything. 

You have to be willing to keep the journey going on, and nobody can stop a willing human being.