Time Traveller

How A BITS Pilani Engineer Became A Full-Time Traveller And Trekked Solo To Everest Base Camp

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We all want to do this – quit our jobs and travel full-time. It has been talked about so much it has almost become a cliché, and yet we still can’t bring ourselves to take the plunge. But every once in a while, we come across the story of a free spirit who manages to break the cycle and come out alive. There are people out there who have given up their cushy corporate jobs to travel the world and they haven’t looked back. 

One such person is Jatin Adlakha, a computer science engineer from BITS Pilani, who is now a full-time traveller. For the past 4 years, he has been travelling on his bike and has covered over 70,000 km. Last year, Jatin managed to trek solo to Mt. Everest Base Camp and the journey changed his life forever. 

© Jatin Adlakha

Like you and me, he worked a regular 9-to-6 job in a corporate company. And like most middle class Indian families, his childhood consisted of regular family trips on LTC, thanks to his banker dad. But the travel bug hit him hard when he got his first bike. Jatin set off to explore the country on the weekends he got off from work. The call of the road was strong and eventually, Jatin decided to quit his job to do what he loved most – travel to places unknown to him. 

One of the most difficult parts of quitting your job to follow our passion, besides the financial part, is convincing your parents. Like most Indian parents, they were apprehensive. Jatin says, “For them, it was a 3 years’ journey from saying, ‘No, it’s not going to happen’, ‘You’re going mad’, to ‘Okay, but not alone’, to ‘Take Care’ to finally, ‘Enjoy!’.” Sooner or later, parents do come around and give in to our decisions in life, don’t they? 

Engineer Who Quit His Job To Trek Solo To Everest Base Camp© Jatin Adlakha

The lure of the hills was enticing enough for Jatin to leave everything behind. He sold off his belongings, and set off for one of the most life-changing trips one can ever undertake in life – a solo trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp. For the uninitiated, the Everest Base Camp (EBC) is at 5346m above sea level and witnesses temperatures as low as -20 degree Celsius. The winds are so cold and harsh they can effectively tear your skin away. But for thrill-seekers and mountain-lovers, that is just something that makes the challenge sweeter. 

Talking about the trek, Jatin says, “A typical day on the trail looked like waking up around 5-530 in the morning to a day which already had opened up, freshening up maintaining a distant relationship with water, and starting the walk around 7-730am after a heavy breakfast.”

Engineer Who Quit His Job To Trek Solo To Everest Base Camp© Jatin Adlakha

When asked the most beautiful thing he learnt from his travels, Jatin reminisces fondly, 

“I found that love is everywhere. In newness, in strangers, and even in the wild. Here is a story: 

In my 2 days at Namche Bazaar (a mountain town on the Everest Base Camp trek), I stayed in a local Nepali house with Sherpas—I had befriended one of them while trekking up. I had shared my bed with 10 to 15 porters, it was a giant bed made out of keeping many cots together […] The love that I received there was exceptional. The day I was to pack up and leave for my trek ahead, there was a frenzied atmosphere in the room, everyone was making sure I had everything I needed. Picture your mom sending you off on the day of an exam making sure you got everything; it was like that, with 5-7 moms ( the caretaker of the house, others and the Sherpas)! Such love is highly impactful, it gave me a sense of responsibility to give back the love to society, to do many more random acts of kindness.

*A page from my Adventure Notebook* . . “To Travel is to find a new perspective.”, I was hearing Jason Silva say this just today. Yep, that’s about right. And To Adventure I must say is to discover your own potential, gauge just a little more from that unfathomable infinite pool we carry within. . . Well aware that I will get camps in Kheerganga, I had still carried my tent with me on the (~12 kms each side) trek to train myself for a tougher trek in near future. It had rained heavily that night, the heavy downpour sounded like music to my ears; and in that cold weather, I slept curled up in my blanket oblivious to the materialistic worries of the world. Come morning, some folks from nearby tents joined me for some chat bringing their chairs, and I sat on the boulder savouring the view; rejoiced. . . This was part of my solo Himalayan Odyssey on my bike and with my tent which lasted 81 days and 3,688.9 kms and recently concluded. Follow my feed as I bring to you many pictures and tales from the Himalayan land and other adventures of mine. Facebook: www.fb.com/wanderingjatin Instagram: @wanderingjatin YouTube: Wandering Jatin (username) . . Also check out my travel blog which is now live at www.wanderingjatin.in.

A post shared by Jatin Adlakha (@wanderingjatin) on Aug 23, 2017 at 6:11am PDT

Travelling full time is not easy, especially when it comes to managing finances. As a man in the Indian society, you are expected to keep food on the table at all times and depending on parents for money is not an option. Jatin managed to make his love of travel sustainable by opening his own travel company Wander Gupt in December 2017. “Gupt trips means the location and itinerary is kept secret, I declare roughly what is to be expected. I believe travel isn’t as much as about the destination as it is about the experiences themselves,” he quips. 

Engineer Who Quit His Job To Trek Solo To Everest Base Camp© Jatin Adlakha

Travelling alone and on the road can be a challenge. When I ask him about any bad experiences he faced while travelling, he says, “I tend to forget the negative experiences very naturally. On the road things happen on constant basis, good and bad, I learn from the bad but my body as if almost on auto mode doesn’t keep brooding over the bad experience.” Jatin is unfazed even as he recalls a bike accident he had while riding through Maharashtra. Perhaps that is one of the many things travel teaches you – to take everything in your stride, and let go of bad memories. 

Don’t Miss

Engineer Who Quit His Job To Trek Solo To Everest Base Camp© Jatin Adlakha

A journey like this cannot leave you untouched. You change a little with every trip undertaken. You are no longer the same person. For Jatin, the trek to the Everest Base Camp was a life-changing one. His humble confession about his trekking experience says it all: 

 “I interacted with Sherpas who had walked to EBC over forty times carrying weights over 80 kilos while my 8 kg bag seemed like a rock sometimes. I walked with an Everest Summiteer for almost 2 hours, who was returning from her successful summit to Mt Amadablan at 6800 m. I witnessed a girl breaking into laughter upon the falling of her artificial leg while trekking up Namche Bazaar, ‘Oh, it’s the sweat’, she said. I sat consumed in the games the mountains, clouds and the sun played. I gaped at those mountains of gigantic proportions and submitted. I returned with newer experiences and friendships, which I shall cherish forever with a smile.

Put in my place by those snow-clad huge mountains, maybe I gained nothing for a change. Or, probably gained a lot. But I do know that I lost my ‘self’ in those high passes.

You can read more about his journey on his blog Wandering Jatin

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