When people travelled in unique ways to spread a message

Two youngsters from Odisha travelled across 20 Indian states, covering 10,000 km in 90 days using a mobile library to take the joys of reading to the furthest corners of India. We look at others who decided to embark on unusual travel expeditions for a cause

Walking BookFairs, a unique reading initiative was set up by Satabdi Misra and Akshaya Rautreya, who are offering free and discounted books to readers across India with their mobile library. 

Satabdi Misra (right) and Akshaya Rautaray (second, right) with the Walking Bookfairs Book Truck in Kerala. They arrive in Mumbai later this month
Satabdi Misra (right) and Akshaya Rautaray (second, right) with the Walking Bookfairs Book Truck in Kerala. They arrive in Mumbai later this month

Walking BookFairs began in 2014 in a small Odisha town called Semiliguda. With a background in journalism and advertising, Misra chose freelancing for the freedom to write what she wanted, and Rautaray, who worked with a well-known bookstore chain was looking at a more meaningful calling.

The duo was able to source books from a distributor in Bhubaneswar and brought them back in a bus to Koraput. They later invested in a second hand van that helped them access remote urban and rural locations. After their Odisha tour, Walking BookFair decided to go national, and their ‘Read More India 2015’ book tour has found support from HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Parragon; they also stock books from a number of independent publishers like Speaking Tiger and Duckbill. (Click here to read more)

Elderly Mumbai biker planned to ride 25,000 km across the US in 4 months
62-year-old Subhash Inamdar from Vasai prepared to begin his 120-day solo motorbike expedition across 51 cities in 24 states of the USA. Solo bike travel is an end in itself for Inamdar. A passion nurtured since his formative years in Sangli, travelling on a bike in the interiors of Maharashtra has been a regular feature for him.

Subhash Inamdar
Subhash Inamdar at a petrol station with his 220cc Bajaj Avenger

He found his calling as a biker after getting his first motorbike, which became a means to enjoy unknown spaces and make friends. It has also secured him a place in the Limca Book of World Records. A strong advocate of solo travel, Subhash Inamdar finds joy in planning his itinerary, completely on his own and feels that self-planned tours are confidence-boosters. (Click here to read more)

Two Europeans travel across Asia with one cat and no smartphones!
Bulgarian Boris Kanev and Spaniard Marta Samalea, along with Burma, their hitchhiking cat, have been on the road across Asia since October 2013.

Marta Samalea and Boris Kanev
Marta Samalea and Boris Kanev

They reached India in July last year, and all of this, without a smartphone. The journey was totally self-funded as they didn't have official sponsors. The couple travelled on a tiny budget and in a simple manner (hitchhiking, walking, camping, couch-surfing from time to time and often, volunteering too). They were also aided by their 'unofficial sponsors', people who got their handmade postcards in markets and online and sent them a gift or a loan, and the publications that gave them a chance to write. (Read the full interview here)

Thane cyclist embarked on 8-month cycling expedition to 11 countries for global warming
42-year-old cycling enthusiast Rajesh Khandekar, who runs a grocery store in Thane, covered a distance of 17,600 kms across 11 countries in eight months. Starting in December 2014, he took a train to Kolkata and then pedalled his way to Bangladesh before travelling across Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and finally entering Australia and New Zealand.

Rajesh Khandekar
Rajesh Khandekar

Khandekar feels it was all worth it to spread awareness about global warming. "The cleanest way to see the world without harming the environment is by cycling. I had planned the entire route in advance, and hence, didn't need to use GPS either." (Click here to read more)

When a couple from Mysore cycled across India for suicide prevention
After quitting their monotonous corporate jobs to teach professional ballroom dancing in schools and colleges, in and around Mysore, Santhosh MV (34) and his wife Akshatha (33), embarked on a nation-wide expedition on a tandem bicycle. Their mission: to spread the message of suicide prevention across the country.

Santhosh MV and Akshatha
Santhosh MV and Akshatha

During one of their sessions in a girl’s junior college in Kollegal, Karnataka, they met four girls who were contemplating suicide. Four other girls had previously committed suicide in the same college. One of the girls they met told the couple that she had changed her mind about suicide, after talking to them.

After this incident, determined to help others, Santhosh and Akshatha decided to cycle across the nation and spread the message of ‘you live only once’. Their journey began on August 11, 2013. (Click here to read more)

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