Balaji Suresh, an inspiration to thousands of bikers and travellers across India, has completed 365 days away from home. Yes. It has been over 1 year since he left his home on his Bajaj Pulsar 220. He has now written a hearfelt letter, talking about his experience, learnings, and life on the road in general. The letter was posted on his Facebook profile. You can read the same below.
Time get off the feet
Around the calendar and round the days,
365 sunrise and sunset passed out..
Long post – read when u are free frds brothers and sisters
Well it has been one year on the road since started from home. Let me start with respective permission from all of you and narrate my journey. For the past 12 months, I have been away from my home. My actual plan when I started was to wind up my journey in 6 months but once I was in the mountains, I lost myself in the process of travelling in-depth and in search of less travelled destinations where tourists can’t be seen. Every single day, my parents ask me to come back home soon but I am fabricating excuses in order to fullfil my dreams (as once you give up, it’s very hard to return back and work towards pursuing anything for that matter)
Even though I missed my family, I convinced myself to proceed. Further the natural beauty, being with welcoming people and the majestic mountains made the process tougher,, The most hardest time will be when ur parents don’t talk to u for couple of days been angry. Those days my mind used to be pissed off and try to divert my mind to be on road. My family is very small. We are 5 members, not much connected with relatives like uncle, aunty or many so the kind of love and care is just within we five.
Been with this kind of family and starting a big journey is one of the toughest task. Shitty People blame my parents like how come u left ur son to do this, won’t u love him.. this and tat.. But my parents used to reply “my son is living his dream which is beyond ur imagination”. Thank you mom and dad. My mom used to get afraid even for a 100 km ride and now too. When I told her that I am going again for all India journey my dad was about to burn my bike. So this is how my family react to biking.
I have been brought up with three words right from my childhood:
I can’t do all these three so when ever I travel i used to say them the half distance am travelling and then comes this journey . But yes only thing I gave them was confidence that no matter what I will be safe. And then they were little convinced..
Being an elder son I knew I have many responsibilities and will do the best when back home.. Financial planning. It was one important plan I made over this journey and i have decided like no matter what I will not spend more than 10000 rs per month for my fuel, bike spares and food expenditure. Somehow i am successful in maintaining that till now and spent 127800inr for past one year.
About language – Hindi is not our national language but widely spoken one in india
I haven’t got a chance to learn Hindi been born and bought up in south so Hindi is like some new language I need to learn from basic ,, first few months I found myself very hard to connect with people as of language (used make sign language moving hands and expressions to people ) they laugh at me but at the end they understand,so some how survived for first 4 months and slowly slowly by keep on making mistakes I learnt 70% to speak and 80% to understand now…
Stay and accommodation: 365 days 0.00inr spent for stay – Right from the day one I kept on myself saying that no matter what, wherever or however I need to sleep I am not going to stay in a hotel just to pass a night darkness. However, the ultimate aim of mine was to meet, read and learn about different people, being with them. Staying in hotels is not that you are spending money but it’s just sleeping inside four walls (comfort travel life) learning nothing . Till now I have slept and spent 70+ nights watching shining stars been camped, stayed in abandoned houses,petrol pumps, wooden benches, road side shops where shutters were closed, Temples, gurudwaras, Friends homes, Village hut, Tribal people hut, Dhabas, Yak skin huts, Army camps, CRPF camps, BRO Greef camps, Forest rest house, Stone huts, Once in natural cave, Police stations , bustops,jungles, river bank, checkpost, ashrams and mostly Random welcoming hearts- homes.
So these all are my home since I took one concept that am not going to stay or search for a name called hotel to just pass this night. Most of the days before it gets dark and if I couldn’t find a place to stay I just close my eyes and ask God “God, what u kept for me to pass through tonight” and trust me friends it is one wonder which I never expected, a better place to stay than before. It’s not less than a miracle. Not a single time I have pre-planned or seked for a place to stay through fb or any medium of communication between frnds or random people. I just accepted the way what God planned for that day…
Every day was a survival. Everyday was a question. But the answer for both comes to me as wonder by the end of the day with new people, new faces new welcoming heart, new tradition, new culture, new food, new place that I haven’t even dreamt before. And that is why I decided not to stay in hotel and eventually I saved a big money to proceed this journey further and further.
About food: By God grace, I never begged or asked for food anywhere since we live and earn to eat. Before my journey starts, I saved some money and got some money after harvest been working as a labour in my farm land so that I can spend for my food. Since we can’t resist over looking some delicious food and leaving without tasting it, 98% times I was really gifted to meet people who offer me food from heart. I found myself lucky that I have tasted maximum of local and traditional home food of all over India. Also I met different people who offer me dinner, made me eat breakfast and even some of them packed food for my lunch (this love cannot be explained and expressed in words). Thats how I have spent around Rs. 23000inr for food till date.
About money: Its our journey, its our enjoyment, its our adventure and we get the real satisfaction when we work hard for it. For everyone of us money is hard earned, so as I always say no matter it takes years to start ur dream, keep planning, be focused, work hard and one day you will be happy to see and live ur dream in reality. With Rs. 25k I started this ride on a target to survive for 3 months. Since after three months harvest comes, well and I met few loving people who played some tricks to fill my tank fuel and few supported during my hard times when not even been asked, that’d why most of the times I use to say it’s not just i am living my dream its a dream of all my dear frds, brothers and sisters, who all really prayed, helped and supported from behind. You all means a lot in my life guys..
I guess u all are smiling now with love while reading this. There are some places where i worked and earned by selling firewoods, been collected on road side (as people are not very welcoming ), carrying and loading atta, rice and winter stock. some places I took pic of the campsite and hotels and earned 1500-2000 rs. So that’s how i am managing my expenses over my food fuel and bike spares.
About places: Well it’s one of the interesting chapter. I was planing this journey for past 2 years soon after I completed my north east journey. I used to look over raw maps, Google and sat images, local people guidance mostly and write down each and every place corners so tat I don’t regret when return back home. Till date I have taken ruddy to some extreme offroads and destination which will be shared with all once journey gets over. The places i have covered till now are: Eastern ghat belt starting from ooty till Odisha, interiors of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Odisha, Jharkhand,
WB, Bihar, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, J&K, HIMACHAL Pradesh, UTTARAKHAND, NEPAL, MEGHALAYA TRIPURA, MIZORAM, MANIPUR NAGALAND, ARUNACHAL, Assam and next will be Bhutan, Sikkim, Kolkata central and western India.
Every day I have a plan where to reach but not when to reach so that I won’t miss any places unexplored.. I have not taken any backup vehicle or guide just travelling with brave heart and true soul so that I can learn when we are true to our heart we meet only true and good people.
Till now i have been to some remotes places of India where hardly i saw civilization : Once into Pakistan, Once into China from Nepal, been to all corners of Kashmir, Laddakh, Himachal UTTARAKHAND, Nepal, MEGHALAYA Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal ( as of new map plan till now ) and still there are much more places to travel and explore in depth.
Thanks from heart- First of all I want to thanks my family, My Mom and Dad who really understood my passion and dream. Yes, I made them sad been not returning back home since last one year but I want to say them that I love you Mom n Dad and I am also missing you all. I am coming back soon.
Next and important ones are each and every heart who all are reading my story with a smile over face. Yes, it’s all ur dream journey am fulfilling my dear friends, brothers and sisters. without ur support, I couldn’t have completed this past one year successfully. Thank you soo much from the bottom of my heart. I always need all ur prayers and support throughout my life.
Thank you to all the bikers of India, real wanderers and travellers who inspired me a lot without even carrying an identity of ur travel. salute to u guys. thank you all road worker brothers for the lovely host. thank you all the tea shop owners, village hearts, dhaba brothers, temple pandits, army jawans, police brothers, camping site owners, nomads, gov official, shop owners and many thanks to you all guys.
Crazy moments of my journey:
*Lunch with Pak family at indo Pak border
*Stay at yak skin nomad hut at frozen tsmoriri lake
*Tasted raw blood of Yak
*Crystal and diamond search in Kashmir
*Paragliding along with sunset at world’s second best diving area
*Hiking 43 km trek in Uttarakhand
*Camping in Kashmir valley
*Staying in tribal hut at tiger conversation forest and been caught by officials at mid night
*A kashmiri wedding night
*Watching memory card getting lost in river and can’t do nothing
*Been chased by a big langur monkey for 50m
*bitten by mountain bee twice
*Encountering with insurgents
*Fighting on middle of the road with drunken co rider at Arunachal
*Watching Gov bang shop in Varanasi for first time
*Fire pan at Delhi
*Reaching a high altitude pass where no living being around for whole day
*-18°C nap close by chandratal lake
*Crossing an elephant jungle at 6pm *been to one of the roughest and toughest slushy road (80km for 8hrs)
*Been escaped before ramming over a 12+ft king cobra
*Tasting Naga chilli and crazy times with Koko bro and mk bro at Manipur
*Frog hunt at Nagaland
*Hyderbadi briyani and late night moments with Srinivas bro Pandia bro and Lalit sir
*Crazy entry to West Bengal been first bike break down (crank shaft issue)
*Night party moments with Sourav bro and tamal bro at Kolkata
*Crazy moments at Chittranjan brothers and Rahul bro
*Escape from Bihar gunda brothers
*Party night with patna brothers
*Laughing within myself when people assume me to be a terrorist, government employee,spy ,raw agent ,rich man, photographer,signal tower worker and many more
*Camping in frozen Hanle with Bangalore brothers
*Watching Battle tank training in laddakh
*Met one interesting personality at Meerut mustaz Bhai and dear axhand bro
*One tough and longest ever travelled journey in Nepal with Abhay bro for 45 days and 4800km(covering all coners)
*About to get married moments in Nepal because of few drunken village monks
*Watching the first sun light over Mt Everest the closest (my dream 4)
*Moulding and guiding a brave heart women to be a tough rider over tough terrains
*Escaping from Nepal gov into India been permit expired (it was one hell night ride)
*Tasting snake in garo hills
*Off road ride with helping hands Shilong brothers
*Learning the art of boat at Dawki with my local brother
*Party nights with Agartala brothers
*Lived army life in indo Chinese border
*Meeting all my dear brothers at aizwal
*Riding alone one of toughest off road in jungles of south Mizoram
*Meeting an interesting English family who haven’t returned back to England even after independence
*Riding without front brakes for 200 km over tough terrains of Mizo Manipur border
*Hunting birds with caterpil
*Tasting fresh mountain bee honey with wax
*Ghost stories of Arunachal
*Traditional gift from konyak tribe hearts
And many more memorable and adventurous stories happened in this one year… Will be shared once I am back home. And much more to come..
About my gears – Not gifted with any good stuff, a broken mobile (touch, dispaly, camera, speaker, microphone everything gone), Using a 4 years old sjcam to shoot something that moves around (the biggest pain in my ***), A borrowed basic DSLR with kit lens, A 5 year old Nikon digital camera. So am just trying my best to bring out some good footage and images with this gears. My personal advice is to carry good gears when u travel. I guess one day I will get my dream stuff..
About biking: Riding a bike is always fun to forget all ur sorrow and live a carefree moments with best people around u. Bike is always for me a medium to travel so that I can reach, stop, enjoy the wind with 180° view around on some breathtaking destinations. When u consider to make some money or fame out of biking u will loose the charm of real journey. been everything pre planed. Its not that u need to travel a long distance for couple of days to feel real biking, even a single day ride with peaceful heart and the feel of acceleration with atmosphere gives u peaceful and life memorable moments.
One lesson I learnt in my life from real nomads and travellers is ” THE MORE U SAY ABOUT YOURSELF TO OTHERS THE MORE U JUST SIMPLY MOVING FROM PLACE TO PLACE”. When we talk, praise and say about ourselves to others we are not into real journey. Just finding a identity among common people which doesn’t last long… Everyone has a different view over everything. It’s just we to choose the right path..
About km – When u really enjoy the journey even a 100km ride will be the best travel of ur life…i feel It’s just a number where people seek for fame “it’s not that how much km u travel its that how and where u travel” As of numbering 36382km done till date in which 78% over rough and tough patches and rest in good roads over plains..(we respect km than experiences) funny part …
Now wandering around Nagaland..
Next will be Bhutan followed by Sikkim.. Thank you once again all the hearts for the love and care..
One of best feel in world is to make and watch someone smiling.. so keep sharing and keep smiling.. “LIFE IS ONE- MAKE SURE U LIVED IT FOR URSELF ATLEAST ONCE” Just heard wat is couch surfing and never every wanna try crowd funding,it’s just me my hard work and my journey ?
The journey continues…..
Follow Balaji Suresh and his amazing journey here.