Akash Gupta, Founder and CEO, Mobycy who believes in instinctive and spontaneous travel itineraries instead of making a bucket list of touristy places to cover during a trip. He talks about his learnings from a few of his trips and how each trip changed him as a person
BY AKASH GUPTA
Founder and CEO, Mobycy
While social media insists on equating traveling with an adrenaline rush, the thrill and adventure of diving into the sea, or trekking up a mountain; my experiences with travel have been rather relaxed and calming. I guess my style of travel can be best summed up in the words of Lau Tzu, when he said “A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving”. Instead of obsessing over customized itineraries, making a bucket list of touristy spots to cover and things to do, I allow my travel escapades to be really instinctive and play by the ear. People – and the cities they inhabit – have a lot to teach. I have been proactively resisting the comforts of a familiar home, of air-conditioning and comfort food, of people speaking my own tongue, and instead, booking a flight to a strange land I don’t know a great deal about.
THE ART OF BEING HAPPY
Time spent in Darjeeling and Gangtok has stayed with me, owing to the beautiful, serene, and simple lifestyle. While urban dwellers are caught up in the frenzy of chasing happiness, people there are just happy. As a youngster, I was filled with a lot of aggression, unwilling to budge and wanting things my way. However, spending time with the locals at various home stays, and seeing their unperturbed, happy-golucky lifestyles opened my perspective, showing me that an easier way of being happy is to just be.
NOTHING BUILDS GREAT CITIES AS DISCIPLINE DOES
It is easier to get enamoured and starryeyed, looking at grand and affluent lifestyles of Dubai. However, the one thing I imbibed was the discipline with which people of Dubai adhered to rules and mandates. There have been instances when people were deported for parking incorrectly. Besides, right from sticking to deadlines to general everyday hygiene, Dubai is a benchmark one should look up to in the way cities should function.
TO WIN HEARTS, BE GENEROUS
Visiting China with a stereotypical bent of mind happened to be one of the biggest eye-openers in all of my sojourns thus far. While taking cautious steps in its territory, assuming people to be rather edgy, competitive, not having a second to spare for an average Indian traveller, I was pleasantly surprised with how generous and kind the people were; right from readily striking a conversation, offering to help with directions or a free bowl of rice and tea, to of course, clicking selfies. At the Great Wall of China, I remember taking selfies with nearly 20 locals; although their smiling faces and warmth that they exuded would forever be etched on my hear.
A BEAUTIFUL, BICYCLING CITY
Amsterdam was a sweet surprise. While I was awe-struck with its intricate canals and awe-inspiring architecture, the cycling culture of the city stood out for me. From government employees to corporate executives, students, housewives, and kids, etc, everybody pedals their way through the city. As I basked in the glorious sun of Amsterdam one fine afternoon, watching the city move with minimal effort and show, I got an irrepressible urge to bring the same culture to India. Perhaps it was a new perspective to managing a city’s mobility, yet curbing the growing problem of traffic congestion and pollution, which finally led to us to launch Mobycy, a Green Tech Company bringing in dockless bicycles and promoting bicycling for short-mile commute in India.
In essence, whenever one goes globetrotting, it is almost impossible to return as the same person; our horizons expand, the visceral shift in perspective renders a different way for us to be living the life, most certainly a better one. As a nation, it is important that we travel more and accumulate all these lessons as personal talismans unleashing the best of world’s knowledge, practices, modulus operandi, and then some more.