Biker Radhika Rao, who travelled to all the states in India with an objective, opens up about the reason behind her trip.
It wasn’t really easy for Radhika to convince her parents for this — to travel solo to all 29 states and five union territories, making a photo documentary on India. As she completes her eight-month long adventurous solo ride on a motorcycle in Chennai today, the 26-year-old opens up about the reason for her trip, the lessons she learnt and her future plans.
“The purpose of my journey is to spread happiness, love and peace through smiles by meeting people. And I decided to travel to all the states documenting their lives. As I end my trip here in Chennai, I believe that I did justice to what I preach,” Radhika says.
She started her purposeful journey on April 9 from Chennai. “My initial plan was to travel with my sister. But we couldn’t venture out due to certain unavoidable circumstances. Then, earlier this year, I made up my mind for a solo ride. I always wanted to do something good for society and that’s how I came up with this campaign. I also made a photo documentary during my journey — I will soon conduct a photo exhibition in the city,” the youngster comments.
The rider has clocked more than 30,000 km on her trail and claims that she is the first rider from Tamil Nadu to venture out on such an expedition. “I am not an avid biker. First, when I decided to travel, I thought of going in buses and other modes of public transport. After doing some research, I realised that it is not feasible. That’s when the idea of riding in a bike popped up. I rode in a Bajaj Avenger bike.”
Finding places to stop over throughout the journey wasn’t really tough for her. “My mother is a central government employee and she arranged for my stays. During the journey, I met a lot of kind and like-minded people, who also provided me shelter and food. It was a great learning and enriching experience altogether to know about various cultures and different landscape.”
As the conversation veered towards her ride preparations, Radhika revealed that she rode to different hilly regions in Tamil Nadu. “I want to get an idea of travelling long distances. So, I rode for 2,000 km to some hilly regions in the state. I wanted to know my strengths and weaknesses before starting out. I also learnt boxing and self-dense to boost my confidence level. Since it is my first time on a bike, I also spend a week in a bike garage to learn some intricacies about bike mechanics,” she opens up.
Though Radhika faced a lot of criticisms, she never gave up — “I was very determined about my journey. So, I didn’t take any negative thoughts into my head.”
She was happy to share a memorable experience from her journey. “I got dengue in Jaipur and my parents asked me to stop my trip and come back to Chennai. But I didn’t want any break in between and I asked them to come over if they wanted to take care of me! Much to my surprise, the Rajasthani family with whom I was staying took great care of me. They looked on YouTube and learnt to make rasam and sambhar just for me!” she shares.
Radhika will be received in Chennai today by her parents along with the girl children of Avvai Home, and the Avengers club of Chennai. “I need to take a good rest and plan for my next — I might either climb the Mt. Everest or go on a world tour,” she concludes.