Posts tagged India

Video: Surviving the Bumbling Death Bus from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, India

Traveling from city to city in countries around the world by some sketchy mode of transport is nothing new. Driving three people on a motorbike was pretty easy. Hanging from the back of a songthaew wasn’t so bad. Hitchhiking in New Zealand? No sweat. But sometimes you take a ride in something and immediately think to yourself, “Will I survive this? Probably not…”

Read More

Featured Country: India

India is always a country I always hear described with one phrase: It’s a love and hate kind of country. And that is about as consistent as India gets. India, as I joked many times with different groups of backpackers, is consistently inconsistent. It is a paradox where the ugliness and beauty are hand in hand, where incredibly frustrating moments are followed by incredibly rewarding moments, where it is uplifting of the spirit yet depressing in the soul. Come read see the experiences I had!

Read More

13 Rickshaw Run Photos that will Blow Your Mind

It has now been a little over a month since the Rickshaw Run ended, and I am still cleaning dirt out from beneath my fingernails and trying to smell like something other than gasoline. It sticks with you, India does, and when you take a road trip, a lot more sticks with you as well. After the insanity subsided and we pulled onto that victory platform as survivors, the following weeks were meant to be for relaxation. But, things haven’t turned out as planned, and a month later I am still finding it difficult to sit down and concentrate enough on writing anything.

And you all haven’t been given the chance to read about it or see the mayhem yet! I know, and I apologize, so I have a nice teaser for you today — something to whet that appetite for the stories of twisted metal and sweat and blood and tears. Geez, you all are evil! I don’t blame you, because what we have to tell is pretty crazy.

After the race, Derek and I were supposed to head to Nepal together. He left first, since his visa was expiring, and I decided that I didn’t want to leave India before seeing Darjeeling. And I was with a group of cute girls, so can you blame me? While in Darjeeling, I felt the earth rattle beneath my feet and saw buildings crack, but I would learn later that day it was from the massive earthquake which hit Nepal and killed thousands, and is still causing destruction. So I wouldn’t be going to Nepal. Even though I wanted to travel there to help out with the relief effort, at the time flights and crossing by land was blocked. For weeks I went traveling around more of India, looking for a spot to relax and regain energy, and to decide what to do next after it was clear Derek and I wouldn’t be traveling together again so soon. Even the relaxing places I arrived at were still stressful at times, and while in India it didn’t seem like I’d find a quiet place at all to get caught up with Rickshaw Run goodies.

Now that I have left India and decided on some new travel plans, I’ve had a little time and enough energy to start putting some articles together.

As I am writing and editing some longer articles and videos, I decided to give you something for an appetizer, so here are 13 Rickshaw Run photos that will blow your mind from various parts of the trip. I chose 13 because most of the time, we ended up in some of the unluckiest situations ever. And somehow we got lucky enough to come out alive.

Rickshaw Run Sandstorm Encounter

Day one of the Rickshaw Run was a nice and easy start. Until, of course, a massive sandstorm hit us.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

When a sandstorm hits you and winds are shaking trees and sending cows running, what do you do? Have a sandstorm techno dance party of course.

Rickshaw Run hanging around

Sometime on the road you have to make on the fly adjustments and repairs. Here, the rickshaw Thomas the Train Engine needed a quick windshield washing.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

The roads in northern India are quiet pleasant. You’re driving along and suddenly the roads have more potholes and actual road, making you bob and weave to avoid wheel rupturing slams.

Rickshaw Run Wheelie

Though we consider ourselves daredevils, wheelies in rickshaws were never planned. But when you arrive at a freeway that is blocked by boulders and dirt, you need to figure out how to get across.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

Where there is a will, there is a way. On the other side of blocked freeways, you find even higher obstacles, and tall curbs and cracks to navigate or cross over.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

Now this seems like a great idea. Have you ever heard sheep cry? What about 100 sheep stuffed in a truck cry? As this truck tried to cross the barrier we did, it nearly tipped over 5 times.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

Cruising along in India enjoying the scenery can be great, until those distractions make you not see that the road ahead of you has collapsed, and nobody has decided to block it off. This happened quite often, where your lane doesn’t just end, it falls off.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

Traffic in India is fun. It is like trying to put your finger through a plate of spaghetti…without touching any spaghetti. Often, our lane would become the lane for opposite traffic because one person wanted to go around traffic faster. What happens? Everyone else follows them and suddenly we are facing semi trucks with two sides of the freeway blocked.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

When you are cruising along getting an epic shot with your GoPro and suddenly something falls from the sky and smashes into your head. It turns out that our spare tire wasn’t tied tight enough, and as I was filming, fell off and landed perfectly around my head. Nearly breaking my nose and glasses of course, but still funny.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

This one was a bit of a doozy, and one of the scariest things I have experienced. A rickshaw following us lost control as a semi truck pulled out in front of it and this was the result. The driver was pretty badly injured and had to return to Norway, but his teammates were okay. More on this to come later.

The rickshaw run April 2015 driving 3,000 kilometers on a road trip across India from Rajasthan to West Bengal. Filmed and photographed using my iPhone 6, GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, and my Canon 650D Rebel T4i. Edited with VSCOcam.

Another rickshaw with another group of Norwegians turned their rickshaw into a convertible. Or, they were force to after they flipped the rickshaw and ripped off the top. But it seems like there was much better airflow after.

Rickshaw Run sunset

Maybe one of the most calming moments from the race was an incredible sunset on a perfectly paved road with the air cooler that it had been for weeks. It’s the little things that you appreciated after the Rickshaw Run, like this, as we were just one day away from the finish line.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]What is the photo that blew your mind the most?[/custom_headline]

Post-Rickshaw Run Update, and BIG travel plan changes!

11200593_3464685015555_6923495565038502744_n

Hello Lost Ones,
It’s been quite a while since I posted on the blog. Though, with a two-week long insane road trip around India, and then bouncing around India to places with non-existent wi-fi, and then throw in big tremors felt from the Nepal earthquake, getting any writing done has been hard.

So, firstly, I apologize.

The big goal while on the Rickshaw Run a couple of weeks back was to live blog and live tweet/gram/vine all the action. What happened? Well, much of that didn’t happen. The team made a point to tweet or post photos to Instagram when possible, but driving through northern India — which roads tend to resemble a battlefield of gaping potholes — there was almost no reception. And when we would pull into a hotel, most places offer paid wi-fi at high prices that 90% of the time failed to work anyway.

Live blogging was an impossible feat.

Also, nightly, we were supposed to film brief recap videos about that day to supplement a bit until videos were edited, but with the state of wireless internet in India being the way it is, uploading a 5-10 minute video always failed. After filming and editing a couple of these recap videos and attempting to post them, nothing ever worked and we always found ourselves days past that specific recap, leaving it useless to post. So they weren’t posted.

Then there is the physical toll of the trip.

While driving across India in a Rickshaw, you run into all sorts of issues. Cows or goats or bricks or trucks always in your way. And whatever other obscure obstacle you can think up. Accidents were always a near miss. Sickness. Dehydration. Bandits. Yes, Bandits. There were some days where we would leave at 5am to get an early start, thinking we would eat at some point mid day and stock up on supplies, but usually we drove 12-16 hours per day with minimal stops, minimal eating, and would arrive completely mentally and physically exhausted. The only desire at that point was a shower from all the dust and grime and gasoline on you, and sleep. There were a couple of times that I suffered illnesses or a severe bout of dehydration that was crippling. So, to put it briefly, the Rickshaw run was physically and emotionally and mentally taxing — more than we had expected.

19209_3464664375039_4863856929403790955_n

10408954_3463434144284_6475834227323796282_n

10408954_3464659734923_8537509328811401487_n

10408954_3464660574944_3977966274521819779_n
11027512_3463433424266_3244941335971070996_n

Even sandstorms were thrown in…

Although we were unable to meet the goals we had set for blogging on the Rickshaw Run, we did record multiple terabytes of footage, and have hundreds of photos to share. Now it is just the task of organizing and editing them. But, all of that insanity will be making an appearance on this blog soon enough.

For the past couple of weeks after the race, I tried to sit down and write or edit, but my mind was so fried from the race, that I couldn’t conjure up a sentence. Everything was blank. I needed a couple of weeks to relax and get to the point where I could go back through photos and footage and experience the journey again, because while driving, your only concern is survival. Looking back on the race is being able to actually experience it now.

10426335_962996780419333_902407447415689362_n

11219351_962996817085996_6005391666158565639_n

Goa has been my little retreat for the past week, with a big private bungalow to call home and a beach to escape to. I don’t normally have “vacation” like travel moments where I sit on the beach and sip cocktails, but that is exactly what I’ve done all week. Mindlessly watching the waves lap onto the sand and eating great seafood and not thinking about anything has helped me reset my brain, and now I’m feeling enough energy and mental capacity to write again.

Also, I have some exciting things to announce!

Sometimes, or quite often, a life on the road will throw you curveballs — and you have to react on the fly. My original travel plans after the Rickshaw Run was to link up with Derek in Nepal, explore the rest of India, and then move on to traveling through all 7 ‘Stan countries. I didn’t expect to have a few budget issues arise. Without going into much detail, some unexpected costs have arisen and hit my travel budget hard, and though I still have enough money to travel the ‘Stans, I’d come out without anything left to keep going. Also, meeting up with Derek was a failure because of the immensely sad tragedy that struck Nepal, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving the country in shambles. Luckily, Derek was fine even while in the capital that was leveled, but for me to enter the country in the days that followed turned out to be impossible and not recommended at all. With that, and now not having enough funds to travel the ‘Stans and be well enough afterward, I’ve decided to make a decision.

[custom_headline type=”center” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h1″]I’m moving to Australia![/custom_headline]

Tonight, on a whim, I submitted my Work Visa application for Australia. That country had nearly been my first country, but last minute I chose New Zealand. Ever since, I’ve always considered spending a year or more in the country working and exploring. Now, hopefully, I’ll have that chance. After being lost as to what to do, or where to go now, and how to have an income, I followed a few signs. Over the past month or so, I’ve met handfuls of people that happened to have lived in Australia and worked there, and all they could do is gush about how much they loved it. And up until tonight, I hadn’t connected the dots.. Sometimes, the universe sends signals and I saw tonight just how many signals about Australia I had received. It will, given my approval, give me an opportunity to stay abroad, while having an income, and save up for the next adventure. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Australia, and though some have found finding work hard, I am confident in my ability and drive and the fact that I can live on a few dollars a day when need be.

I felt like all of you deserved an update as I start writing again. On the blog in the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting plenty about the agonies and ecstasy of the Rickshaw Run and traveling around India, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, please email me with any questions or if you also have advice about Australia!