What happens when travel becomes the first love of someone’s life? Ask anyone. They will tell you that they plunged and smote into a life of wanderlust. They dedicated their lives to travel and found new ways to make a living while they were travelling. And the result – they created lifetime of memories on a travel job.
People yearn for the experience that they garner along the way while travelling. To leave home and to go far away is a wish many of us carry in our hearts to be ticked off from our list someday. Travel sure is much more than just creating a holiday memory or collecting trip souvenirs. There are travel moments which become a part of the travel notebook – one of those memories that last a lifetime.
The best gifts of travel are the stories that can be told over and over again; stories that touch the narrator and the listener; stories about humanity and of passion; of discovery and of belief. And we, the wolfpack in goMowgli, live to tell these stories. Because travel, for us, is that dream that each one of us have dreamt in our lives. We have broken conventions and made our choices only because travel is one thing that resonates with us; the common string that binds us at goMowgli.
We pondered over the year which just went by; we shared a lot of wisdom that we learnt on the road. And here we take a moment to share the lifetime of memories on a travel job that we have created.
When Baloo met God
“One thing that I had always wanted to do was to travel without having “A Hotel Room” booked. When we started goMowgli, the dream came true. There was no budget for luxuries like hotel rooms. So with a borrowed tent, a sleeping bag and our car, we started the task of exploring Karnataka for the planned Hop On Hop Off tour in Karnataka. We started from Mysore and went northwards. Our first stop was Sitalana Giri in Chikamagalur. Since hotel rooms were a no-no, we had acquired an expertise to find a different accommodation for the nights – they were the temples. Here is the trick – look for a small temple in a small village, slightly away from the main road, with old men hanging around. What better could one ask for! We were amazed at the hospitality of the temple priests – they were happy to host us and give us free Prasadam for dinner. In the morning we would donate as much as we could. The only downside was being woken up early by the loudspeakers.
One such temple near Gadag hosted us. This was a luxurious treat – the priest’s daughter was getting married on the same day and we were invited for the wedding. We hesitated a bit because we were shabby and stinking from a long no bath week. But we went anyway. Here I came across a person who introduced himself as someone who used to cook Mysore Pak in Mysore and had moved back to his village to start a catering business. He took me to a small mosque just beside the temple. Surprise awaited us here! We saw a colorful Ganesh and Shiva painted on the walls of the mosque. He told me that the village had only two Muslim families. People of the village donated money to the temple to build a mosque for the families. The two families, in return, decided to honor the village and its people and painted the images of Hindu Gods on the mosque wall.” – Anil aka Baloo
Popeye’s Euphoric Discovery
“The day started at 6am. It was my first assignment with goMowgli. The task at hand was to find a new trekking trail in Munnar. I started walking from the hotel with an idea about the direction in which I had to go to but I had no idea about the exact location. With no access to google maps, the success of the task entirely depended on the knowledge of the locals. There is hardly any civilization on the winding Ghat roads and it is tougher to find a human soul in the wee hours of the morning.
The few that were there misguided me and said that it was just a few kilometers away. The few kilometers extended and extended and in the end it was almost 20kms of walking. And still there was no hope of finding the starting point for the trek. I had given up and was walking back dejected. That is when I saw it. There it was – a cross. That was the sign that I was searching for all the time. It was the starting point of the trekking trail. I had finally found it.
The euphoria of finding the trekking trail multiplied when I reached the top. The view from the top was super stunning. The tea plantations of Munnar lay in front of me from behind the screen of fog and I was literally standing amidst the clouds. Plenty of pictures were taken. I soaked in the beauty for quite a while and started walking back contented.
The entire seven hours of walking in Munnar is one of the best goMowgli experiences so far.” – Jithin aka Popeye
When realisation dawned over Superman
“One of the greatest memories I have is when I stepped into the Venugopalaswamy Temple and learnt about the details of the carved pillars. The fact that those temples were constructed not just by a bunch of stone carvers for a few years but that it took three to four generations and their families to complete the construction came as a surprise to me. That was my defining moment. I would never look at the world in the same manner. Another interesting thing that I realised was that every city has its history. The best way is to find it was to go places, talk to the locals, eat the local food and try to find the story behind it.” – Kamal aka Superman
Simba in a different world
“Working in a good company is luck but working with an amazing team is a blessing. Hanging around, going to lakes, hiking hills, several kilometers of cycling and being outdoorsy is a way of life at goMowgli. It is hard to talk about the best moment, but if I have to mention one, it would be my first experience in open water body after almost 10 years. That swim will remain unforgettable.
We spent a day at Thonnur Lake, an 11th century man-made lake surrounded by beautiful green paddy fields, villages and rocks to climb on. I was mesmerized by the green fields surrounded all over. We enjoyed light and joyful moments near the lake, swam for a while after which Superman and I hiked up the boulders and to get a view from the top. This hypnotized us for a while. I felt like I could see till the end of the world – the earth and the sky met at the horizon with an orange tinged fog at a distance. Several other villages were visible from the top. Their love towards nature and environment was visible in the purity of water. I will not forget the amazing day which got me closure to nature and my team.” – Himanshu aka Simba
Dazzle lives a Dreamy Day
“I have lived all my life in Goa but exploring Goa on my assignments with goMowgli introduced me to a different Goa and it was something I had never fathomed Goa to be like. I was off to explore the hinterlands, beyond the coastline. So I geared up for a trek to view the Santrem waterfalls. Before we could reach at the base for the trek, we passed by the small villages, the colourful houses and kids playing and swinging from trees. This made me realize what real Goa was like. When we reached the starting point, our instructors gave us safety tips and handed us over to a local man named Santhosh. I was shocked to see the man in 50s to be our guide for the four hours of gruelling trek and all he had was a sickle.
The trail wasn’t easy but there were the beautiful mountains, the chirping birds and the wicked sound of bamboo trees which kept us going. On the way we halted for the first time by a stream. The cool and sweet water refreshed us and we continued. We took many breaks along the way and the old man waited for us patiently every time. I asked him what made him continue trekking in forests like these. He said that it was the love for this place. I kept smiling, feeling lucky.
It was 2 hours into the trek and we were wishing our next step to be the last one. Just then we heard the sound of flowing water – here was the waterfall. It wasn’t at its best in December but it was worth the hard work. I sat there, my feet soaked in the flowing water – this was the remedy for my tiredness.
I was told that during monsoons Goa comes alive with 40 such small and bigger waterfalls. That was my moment of realization. The realization that Goa does not have an off season – there is something here for every kind of traveller during different seasons.
We started descending when it was evening and we could see the golden hue from the sun-rays. It is said that the sunsets on the beaches of Goa are spectacular – they indeed are. I have viewed multiple ones from the beaches but this one in the forest will be the most glorious one I have witnessed – the picture says it all.” – Dazzle
Optimus saw the wheels turning
“I used a bicycle only during my school days. I still remember my dad trying to convince me that it was the smallest bicycle he could find but I recall how gigantic it was. I felt very manly riding on that bicycle but that attitude somewhere got lost after I started riding a Bajaj Scooter when I was in High School after which my bicycle remained in my backyard forever. I was the only student in school who knew how to ride a scooter and I took immense pride in it even though my school score card graph was below average.
After many years, thanks to goMowgli team that I had the opportunity to push my limits and ride a bicycle to Chamundi Hills from our office in Mysore. The destination was quite troubling to say the least. For me, it was no less than cycling in the Himalayas – reason being my level of physical fitness.
I wheeled the bike up the side path and took it for a ride along the street hoping to reach the destination at the stipulated time, but it took much longer than I expected. At some point I rode alone, I talked to myself, I sang to myself, I whistled every time I crossed a milestone.
Apprehensive about the uphill climb after a long ride, I had no confidence in continuing with the journey. I was soon joined by Superman who insisted that I should go ahead with the climb. As expected, I was totally drained out of energy and the climb seemed daunting with my cycle moving just a minuscule distance each minute. Finally, the ride was done – a sense of accomplishment dawned over me.
Though exhausted, all the while I was secretly gloating thinking about my performance without any preparation whatsoever. This being my first ride added all the more to my swelling pride – firsts are always special afterall.” – Robin aka Optimus
Chewbacca’s passion, reignited
“I have been swimming in pools but the greatest memory is when I stepped into an open lake. Initially I was a bit queasy about the hygiene and a bit scared. But when I arrived at the Thonnur Lake, I couldn’t wait to get in. The lake is secluded, calm and beautiful. And the moment I jumped in, I couldn’t think…only feel! The sweet water washed all the grime I brought from Bangalore.
This was more like a cleansing ceremony of sorts and I wondered why I had stopped swimming. Maybe it was the long hours at work and lack of time or the fact that I was lazy. But Thonnur Lake revived that lost love. We went to Thonnur Lake a couple of time afterwards too. One of the best moments is definitely when we went for a dip in the night with a crescent moon reflecting off the water. I am so glad goMowgli brought me closer to nature.” – Rashmi aka Chewbacca
Popcorn twirls in the labyrinth
“Crafting an itinerary which has all the essence of an offbeat experience for which goMowgli is known for was a daunting task. While wandering aimlessly in the dusty and maze like streets of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, I would stumble upon old men sipping chai at the local tea shop. An hour long chat with them over a few cups of chai would be rewarded with a snippet – a small gold nugget of information.
Next came the task of unraveling the deeper stories from these snippets. After many such wanderings in the hot sun and thick humid air, I had a treasure trove of information, each bit a small piece of the big puzzle. I walked along the narrow alleys of Amaravati and Gosreepuram which is always cloaked in an aura of divinity, met the ever friendly shop keeper at the Ayurveda store, relished on some freshly fried banana chips, and was awed by the colourful boats and the green fields in a small fishing village. Finally, it was time to string together all these little pieces to create what is now know as the Cochin City Tour; which carries the trademark of goMowgli – The Authentic Local Experience. This is my best experience.” – Girish aka Popcorn
Gigi finally does it
“Perched atop the walls of a fort in Melkote, with the wind in our hair, the never-ending beautiful view and the sun almost on its way down, I had to scream to make myself audible through the sound of the wind up there. They listened intently when I narrated the story of Prahalad to them. The pages from my school book flashed before my eyes in that moment and I remembered how much I loved this story as a child; always turning the pages of my book to read it one last time. The character of Narasimha came alive again that day, right there amidst us and I felt the shiver when I narrated the scene of the gory death of Hiranakashayap. I lived a lifetime on that day – my dream was finally coming true. I was finally a storyteller at goMowgli spinning tales while travelling and singing songs of victory.” – Sangeeta aka Gigi
We have been creating memories for people who travel. We tell them stories and they take with them a bagful of it from the roads back home to be shared and relished. Not just that, they also give us moments and stories that remain with us. This is why we work to travel – to create a lifetime of memories on a travel job.
Here is a big thank you to everyone who has helped us realise our dream. If you have liked our stories, follow us on www.gomowgli.in/blog for more. And if you have India on your 2016 travel list, do check out the various destinations where we go to. Have a great year!