Hi, my name is Tanveer Taj and travelling is my passion. As clichéd & vague as that sounds, to really understand what led me to this & what truly drives it, we need to jump back a few steps. Being brought up in Muscat, I always wanted to come back & explore my motherland. Finally, in 2008 I moved to Pune for higher studies. I started exploring places around the city, but it wasn't long before I realized I needed some wheels to get around. I picked up an old second hand Yamaha and after that there was no looking back. I found myself heading to the nearby hills & forest almost every weekend. It started with short trips outskirts of Pune, then extended to Kolhapur, Bhimashankar, Nashik, Mahabaleshwar and so on. I started loving the freedom that I experienced on the motorcycle and the peace of mind I had amidst nature. I knew I was addicted.
In 2010, I bought a Royal Enfield & with an upgrade in motorcycle, came an upgrade in destinations. By 2012, I had started doing trips to Goa, Karnataka and other close by places. In 2014 I went on an epic motorcycle trip from Delhi to Chennai via the east coast of India covering 28 cities across 8 states in 34 days. I obviously couldn't get leaves for such a long trip so I had to quit my job. It was a scary decision, but I took it anyway and it was for the best. I got back from the trip, started freelancing for a few months before joining another advertising agency. About a year later, I quit my job again and did a solo trip to the Himalayas. Why I did that, is a story for another day.
Because I was travelling a lot, I started writing about my experiences & documenting my journeys on my GoPro. I started sharing them on social platforms and got fairly popular among my friends & fellow travellers. This is when I started my own website - http://www.roadshaman.com. I upload all my travel stories, pictures & videos here.
So yeah, that was my story. Coming back to my passion; what really drives me to quit jobs, spend all my savings, fight with my parents/friends to go on these trips? The answer is simple -
1) The Zen: This is the obvious one. Almost all my life decisions have been taken while riding on an open road in the middle of nowhere. All my worries take a back seat & I am actually at peace with myself when I am on my motorcycle. The long rides give me ample time to think about everything that matters in a more relaxed state.
2) The People: We live in a terrible world. You hear about people killing each other and destroying the planet on a daily basis. Traveling has put me in touch with the good side of humanity. I have been astounded by the friendliness and compassion shown to me by people who didn't know me and had no reason to help me. I think one needs to experience this 'niceness' to stay positive & restore their faith in this mad world.
3) The Culture: Travelling gives me a chance to experience various cultures which I never knew existed. It's amazing how diverse everything in India is, be it people, culture, faiths, dialects, languages, food, weather, geography, EVERYTHING! You have to experience it to believe it. We live in such a beautiful country & I feel we should explore our own backyard before moving out.
4) The Rush: Be it riding solo in the Himalayas with no one around for miles at end, or riding at night in the core Naxalite forest area in Jharkhand, or being stuck in a random town for 3 days because of storm warning, you know these situations can be fatal, but you experience a certain rush that keeps you going. And of course, you emerge out of it with one heck of a story!
5) The dilly-dally: Quite opposite of the previous point, travel also has the power to slow time down. Every once in a while we need to step out of our air-conditioned cages and just breathe, take time to watch the sunset or just walk aimlessly in a forest to truly value the magical world we live in. We are caught up with so many things at once that we tend to ignore what's around us.
People often ask how travel has changed me. If I look back at who I was before I began travelling and compare that to who I am now, I would have to say that travel has made me a better and more well-rounded person. I think travel makes everybody a more awesome person. I truly, honestly believe if everyone travelled more we'd be in a much better place. People would be happier, we'd understand each other better, we'd be less materialistic and we'd learn to simply enjoy life. Love is contagious. I want to share my love & passion with everyone & hopefully inspire them to go out. Travel simply teaches you how to be happy and the world could use some happy people????