“I travel for a living,” says Rohith solemnly.

Lone wanderer riding the dreamThis biker is on a 1-lakh km drive across 46 countries
Features #JourneyofLife Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 20:03

When 22-year old Rohith Subramaniam is asked what he does, he replies solemnly, “I travel for a living.”

His unusual choice of a career should not be a surprise, given that he prefers to be known as the Lone Wanderer on Facebook or MisfitMagellan on Instagram, probably inspired by the famed Portuguese explorer of yore.

Currently in Cambodia “where it has been pouring cats and dogs for the past ten days, and on the verge of entering Laos”, Rohith is living his dream on the roads, quite literally. As part of his solo cross-country bike ride across 46 countries, this nomad hopes to cover almost one lakh kilometres spread over a year and a half.

The best part of the whole adventure is that he genuinely loves what he does, and to actually get paid for it is the proverbial icing on the cake. Though Rohith does blog and capture his varied experiences through a lens, ‘traveller’ is who he identifies with more than the ‘blogger’, ‘photographer’ or ‘backpacker’ monikers that usually come his way.

Not everyone is lucky to pursue their passion as a profitable career. Rohith firmly believes it is travelling that captures the real essence of who he is as a person. That he uses the same to earn a living is a tribute to his shrewd business acumen, which he sensibly uses to promote various brands which pay him for the same.

How the Dream unfurled

“It all started as a joke when I was running my startup ‘FundMyDream’ a crowd-funding platform back in Bengaluru. Some market research had shown that no one had actually ventured into crowd-funding to finance travel per se. I was willing to take the risk to ask for funds to pursue my travel dream on a bike, and started the campaign online which fortunately met with instant success,” he recalls.

Sounding genuinely awestruck, Rohith goes on: “It's one of those classic fairy tales, where I woke up one morning, sold everything I had…not that I had much to sell, and started on a journey towards unknown lands spread over an infinite timeline.”

He first rode around the whole of India for an uninterrupted stretch of a hundred and fifty days, covering all the states and union territories. That translates into 32,000 kilometres of sheer travel bliss.

“It was special for two reasons. First of all, I never had to stay in either a hostel or a hotel during the entire ride. All along the way, people opened their homes to me, a total stranger. When a host was unavailable, I preferred the comforts of a petrol station, police station or a bus stand or any such public utility area. Secondly, I took up a new job in each of the states I passed through. So I have worked as a farmer, a waiter, a bartender, and even a chai-wala and a vada-paav vendor!” he chuckles.

Right now in the midst of the South-East Asian leg of his tour, Rohith hopes to finish the same by the end of this year. “I started ten months ago from Singapore and then went on to cover Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. I am about to enter Laos. I will be back in India next month for a few days before I hit the road again to ride across Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar,” he hopes.

2017 too looks exciting for Rohith, as he plans to an Oceanic leg of Australia and New Zealand in the first half of the year, while the second half would see him gear up for a long European ride and finishing the year in South America. 

“But that is too far away in the future. Life on the road teaches you a lot, and you need to be sensitive to every passing moment. So I focus on the moment and live just one moment at a time,” he says.

According to Rohith, the perk of travelling around the world is first and foremost the tremendous exposure one gets from being able to mingle with different people and disparate cultures.

“It's indeed amazing when I think of just how many times in the course of my travel, I have effortlessly communicated with the people around me without knowing a word of the local language. People are essentially kind at heart and amazing, and this applies to wherever you find yourself in the world at any given point in time. This world is truly a wonderful place to be in, and I am so glad to be able to keep wandering and exploring its mesmerizing ways.”

Magical is the word he chooses to describe his ‘job’, if you can call it one. “I simply love every moment of it. It does get tiring at times, as I seem to be travelling almost all the time, but hey, this is what I want. And when I have been ‘gifted’ with this life, and knowing how hard I worked just to get here, I really can't be cribbing about it now,” he grins.

(All pics courtesy: Rohith Subramaniam)

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