How we want to promote social travelling in a country where most people are only the tourist,1-2 times a year...
Do you love stories?
Do you love travelling?
If your answer to both of these questions is yes; you and I have something in common. We are from India, where storytelling has been a part of our intrinsic culture - Grand Ma narrating bedtime stories or Dadaji telling us narratives from our ancient texts. We have been brought-up in a civilization where even many dance forms are a way of storytelling.
However, we have lost that connection with story-telling as we grew up and today, we’ve just got our stories of how we got our jobs, about our scaling startups, our political viewpoints, etc; but we do not want to listen to the millions of beautiful stories others have for us.
Similarly, our way of travelling is quite different from others nations. Like, I can see 100s of cars passing my office each day with tourists; stopping at Delhi Haat which they are forced to pay a visit to. The car wala gets a commission, and these tourists do not mind going there as this has been a popular route in many travel itineraries. Few of us have tried to become travellers and explorers, but our dream of travelling is broken by our parents when they do not allow us to travel solo or because of fear within ourselves or simply - "not knowing how to travel."
We have heard very strange answers when we ask people about travelling. While the majority say that they are travellers, most of them haven’t travelled out of their state or travelled alone. One girl said "I want to travel, but Papa allow nahi karte." Another said, "jaana hai but next year CAT ka exam hai." What? It’s next year, these are just excuses as you are still not sure.
While understanding these problems and exploring my love for travel, I co-founded "The Big Bang Trip" with another story-teller and reluctant traveller, Chetan.
What is The Big Bang Trip?
We believe that while solo travelling is still a distant dream, social travelling is still possible. We believe that we have stories that must be told, shared among others and the platform of The Big Bang Trip could bring them together. We did a social experiment last year with our first trip and invited 20 people. We had a consultant, a newly married travel-loving couple, a photographer, a cyclist, a writer, an artist, two entrepreneurs, a girl that had recently quit her job, a few students, a sailor and a few professionals. It was our first trip - we were unsure but there were a few brands that believed in us apart from these 20 people. We created a 9 day trip in the Himalayas. Apart from travelling and exploring the places, we did one activity each day that was aimed to bring us together. These activities helped us in sharing our stories and made us feel like our true selves with no masks and no pretention.
There were no business calls; no calls from parents; no worries about sales or exams. We were just us.
And the result was not magic, but still quite beautiful. We opened up; we became closer; we found new friends; we shared what we always hid, some of us even got some clarity on our lives (we hope some of us did :) ). A banker from Qatar left his job, an introvert student from Vellore is now blogging; an aspiring entrepreneur has started his venture; few people found their better halves (hopefully) and others found some helping hands. And above all, we heard so many stories that will always be in our hearts.
The caravan covered the Himalayas in a bus while we stayed at cottages in each of the places. The trip ended with an energy filled afterparty in Delhi.
Btw, we also invited five influencers (instigators) in each of these five cities; Charnita Arora (Mind-healing) in Delhi, Sugandha (Slam Poetry) in Delhi, Sabbal Rana (yoga teacher) in Rishikesh, Aakash (cyclist) in Kasol and Abhinav Chandel (a traveller and poet) in McLeodganj. They shared their inspiring stories, did a few activities with us and shared how can we do so many different things in life if we have determination. The idea was to take inspiration on the road from some beautiful souls. We are still grateful to them for all the wonderful sessions.
Last year, one of the travellers got married in December, and he invited all of us. Chetan attended the wedding. This is just one example of how close we became. I recently travelled to Bangalore and met the consultant friend there. He also offered his house to host me if I needed a place to stay. This is how we mushroomed our friendship.
It's been a year and we are still here, as close as we were an year ago. Moving forward, we wish to make these trips 3-4 times a year. We are in love with this idea of meeting so many inspiring individuals and travelling with them.
What is next?
Our next proposed trip is in September from 10th to 17th. This time, we are covering Kasol, Manali, and Bir; and again inviting 20 people to join us for this inspiring, adventurous cum storytelling trip. We do not guarantee you 5-star hotels, exotic food, and great luxuries, but we will try our best to let you all share your thoughts, stories, connect with mother nature, nurture friendships and inspire us (at least Chetan and me).
If you like travelling and stories, do register at http://www.thebigbangtrip.com/hop-on/
We need people like you joining us to prove that we are on the right path.
A new story teller in town,