The adventure of a lifetime!
4200 km. 16 days. 7 states. 2 people. 1 rickshaw. 0 logic. 100% madness. Driving from Shillong to Kochi in a rickety rickshaw, with no support, no helplines and no safety net. It sounded so crazy, we just had to do it!
The journey had plenty of drama, breakdowns, close calls, self-proclaimed mechanics, but nothing bad enough to stop us. We were welcomed into strangers’ homes and fed their meals, crossed rivers on wooden rafts, pushed off-road; stayed at lodges, guest houses, friends’ houses, a police station, slept in beds, cots and benches, ate India’s best cuisine in plates and in leaves, were escorted around the border, attended a tomatino festival, learned some latin dancing, visited monuments, partied with old friends and made new ones, stayed at a Bollywood film director’s cheese farm, climbed the notorious 36-hairpin Kalati Ghats (where even most bikes falter), gave a lecture at an IIM and packed in 16 days what one would do in a year!
With the proceeds going to a charity called ‘CoolEarth’ that works for global afforestation, it was for a good cause too.
India's toughest trek.
The Chadar (frozen sheet) is like nowhere else in the world. A frozen river running through the world’s highest rainshadow desert, all you see is white and brown in this uninhabitable terrain.
A 7-day trek across the frozen Zanskar river, temperatures that fall to -40°C, with 60% oxygen, harsh terrain, high altitude, and walking nearly 20 km each day. The level of fitness, endurance and mental strength required is high, and isn’t for the faint hearted, knowing that you’re one step away from potentially falling into a flowing, sub-zero river under that sheet of ice.
We also did our part for the environment by opting to trek without crampons (shoe-spikes), at the risk of slipping and falling at every step, but keeping the ice-sheet (chadar) intact for locals and other travellers.
The Oxfam Trailwalker is a global team challenge for a social cause, to address the root causes of poverty and injustice. A team of four must trek 100km across the Western Ghats in 48 hours, starting and finishing the challenge together. It took us 46 hours, blistered feet, one dropped team member and a lot of pain to finish this trek.
Each team raised a minimum amount to participate and those funds were used by Oxfam India in partnership with over 60 grassroots NGOs as follows:
Social Work Details
To provide accelerated learning to four dropouts returning to mainstream education.
To provide interactive education to two classes of 30 girls.
For capacity building of 5 members of the community based vigilance groups, to prevent violence against women and girls.
To provide ounseling sessions to 20 women facing violence.
For capacity building of 5 members of the community/village (village health sanitation and nutrition committee) to monitor health and nutrition services in their village.
For supporting and empowering adolescent girls in saying no to early marriage.
To provide livelihood support to five women in one of the poorest states of India where Oxfam India works.