Month Long Backpacking | India & Bhutan

It’s been a year working in the hectic life of a startup, and now I need a break. Early October, the monotony of routine and work life started to hit me. I was working far too much for far too many hours a day, and could feel the weariness and lack of productivity set in.

I needed a month off - I was certain a month without thinking of thermal imaging, Android, stabilization and cameras would help me hit the reset button. I was extremely nervous when I went up to my manager. I had practiced asking this for weeks, played out the conversation in my head a hundred times, I knew exactly how I’d build the story and the tone I’d use for each sentence, and how I’d make it sound convincing enough that I really need time off. When I finally asked him I was surprised at how casually he said “4 weeks? Sure - you didn’t need the story, you just had to say you want 4 weeks off.”

And so here it begins! I’m taking a month off to travel the North India, and Bhutan. I’m really looking forward to skiing - a hobby I developed during my childhood years in Switzerland, bungee jumping, hopefully cycling the winding mountain roads and finally calming my mind and living the relaxed life of Bhutan for a fortnight. I am not carrying my laptop, I’ve bought myself the revamped classic Nokia phone and am hoping I learn to live without work on my mind all the time, don’t have the urge to keep unlocking my phone to check WhatsApp or my Gmail, and hopefully land up in places with poor network connectivity - and use that as an excuse to not being reachable. I’d also like to pick up and read 10 books during this time. I don’t remember the last time I read a book cover to cover in under a week month.

I’m traveling with a friend from college - he’s a freelancer so no permissions for leaves needed. I love not planning, and just showing up at places and figuring things out from there. Here’s as much as I’ve planned:
  • I’ve booked my plane ticket to Delhi. Not my return ticket, because I don’t know where exactly I’ll be flying back from.
  • Train tickets to have a tentative idea of how long we want to spend in various cities.
  • Booked a week long stay at ski resort and a ski instructor, because I really wanted to make sure I’d learn to ski from the best. This is the only stay I’ve booked.
  • I’ve bought a 90L backpack, ski clothes, shades and trek shoes suitable for subzero temperatures, 3 t-shirts and 2 cargos. I’m hoping the non-ski gear will be enough to get me through the month in the warms places I’ll be visiting. I’m carrying 15 pairs of underwear though :D
  • Carrying my passport and passport sized photos for Bhutan.

And that’s it! I’ll figure out everything else as and when we really need to. I love the fear of not knowing where I’ll stay at night, learning from the locals and not using the Internet for everything.

The tentative route is
Bangalore -> Delhi -> Haridwar -> Auli -> Rishikesh -> Varanasi -> Sikkim -> Bhutan -> Bangalore

from Feb 10 to Mar 10 '18.

Bon Voyage!

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