BENGALURU : Once you are bitten by the travel bug, there seems to be no cure for it. Short film director Santhosh Gopal seems like a victim of this bug, for he has travelled 3,800 km, by riding a bicycle and at times on barefoot, in just 38 days. Icing on the cake – he lost close to 15 kgs! Santhosh embarked on this journey in September 2016 and has chronicled it in his latest book Sanyasi on Bicycle. The book has details about the 38-day long journey, pit stops, food joints and details about the interesting people he met en route.
Santhosh says, “I was so occupied with films that one day I realised that I hadn't travelled for quiet sometime. One fine morning, I decided to embark on this journey for self discovery, told my parents and assured them that I will be back safe, and left the city.”All Santhosh knew was that he wanted to start the journey from Chikkamagaluru and had never really planned his journey. He took the coastal route, and headed towards north Karnataka, Hyderabad-Karnataka region, Central Karnataka and then to Nanjangud-Mysuru region and finally pedaled his way to Bengaluru on the 38th day.
From heavy rains in the coast to scorching sun in North Karnataka, Santhosh says his body accustomed to the weather by default. Santhosh claims he did not train particularly for this expedition. “Apart from my regular workouts in the gym, I did not take up any special training for this. Also, I decided to take up the trip spontaneously and there is no question of special training,” he adds. Asked about the drastic weight loss, he says, “I was around 87 kilos and when I returned I weighed around 72 kilos.”
He has spent approximately `10,000 in the entire journey, including for bicycle repair in Hubballi, on the 18th day of the trip. That was the only day I took a break, he says.Santhosh adds that writing a book was never on his mind. "I used to write about my travel in my blog mytraveltimes.in. But the bicycle expedition experience was so humongous that I knew I wanted more words. That’s when I came up with the idea of writing and publishing a book.”
The idea of the book is to inspire and motivate people to take up such expeditions, he adds.
Recalling the best moment from the trip, Santhosh says, “On the eighth day, I was hiking Kudremukh and then it started pouring. I kept alternating between walking (barefoot) and cycling braving rains for three hours. When the rains stopped, I looked around and the nature was intoxicating. I had this unexplainable feeling which just told me keep pushing harder. This was one of the best moments of the trip.”
Santhosh also added that the people he met throughout were kind, loving and most importantly, very helpful.
On an average he used to complete 100 kilometres each day. He slept in temples, sometimes in abandoned ones and ate whatever was available en route. On the last day, he cycled 200 kilometres, highest of all days, continuously for 12-and-a-half hours from Nanjangud to reach his house in Varthur, Bengaluru.
“I went home, took a proper shower and crashed into my bed and fell asleep within minutes. Probably, it was the best sleep in my life because that 38 days had given so much satisfaction that I was ecstatic for days,” he says.Santhosh’s latest short film Silk Board had created a huge buzz in short film circles.
What he had packed for the trip
3 pairs of shorts
2 pairs of dhoti, 2 shirts
Basic medical kit
Puncher kit and pump
Tent, Toiletries Money