CHENNAI: Have you heard of somebody who has been sponsored for his beard? A lone wanderer who has travelled across all the states and union territories alone? Meet Rohith Subramanian who has been travelling for the last 150 days all across the country on his bike, Sandra.
Born and raised in Chennai, Rohith moved to Bangalore to pursue his BBA and MBA. When he was 19, he started his own firm called Fund My Company. The young chap calls himself “a typical Chennai boy”!
As he delves into his past, he talks about the way his parents raised him. “My mom celebrated all my double zeros in school by taking me to my favourite restaurants. But dad did not even allow me to step inside the house when I got 40% mark because he believed I was capable of more! I suppose this reverse psychology worked with me,” he chuckles. Triggered to take up travelling by a 21-year-old foreigner who was a traveller with a bucket list, Rohith too decided to travel. “I looked at the mirror one day and asked myself if I had a story to say?” he says. That’s how he began travelling.
“While everyone wanted to become a pilot, doctor or an engineer, I wanted to be a farmer, a chaiwalla or a waiter,” he smiles. “I began travelling because I wanted to be free, like a flowing river, and change shape according to how I flow.” Rohith has travelled to all the states and union territories on his bike, Sandra.
What has he learned from his travels? “A very important thing I learned from travelling is that everything changes around us, but we do not change. We learn a lot and we unlearn a lot too. Everyone I see is my inspiration,” he explains.
A lone traveler who attempting to find himself through his travels…plus he’s charming too. Has anyone ever hit on him? “I learned that the combination of being a biker, beard man and a traveller can get a lot of attention,” he laughs. “So yeah, I’ve had a few people hitting on me, but I have cautiously stayed out of all that.” On a serious note, he adds that people are different in the country side. “Strangers treated me like family. I consider this a gift… a gift that not everyone gets. I sleep in police stations, bus stands, petrol bunks. There were many time people opened their homes to me as their guests. It was rather overwhelming,” he states.
Two things that Rohith feels need to be changed in India currently are poverty and the lack of education — both prevail everywhere.
Travelling thousands of kilometres every day, has Sandra ever given up? He laughs and answers just like a typical caretaker, “Yes she does, and she fixes it herself too!”
Rohith works 20 hours a day, and crashes for 4 hours. All he does in his day is meet people, meet his hosts for the day, tell them his travel stories, fill up his travel dairies, update his social media and then wander more.
“I travel nearly 300-400 km every day and in 150 days, I have travelled 32,000 km,” he says. “Travel is not like going on a vacation or a holiday, it is the effort made by one to reconnect with myself and learn the fundamentals of life.”
Rohith is sponsored for his beard by Ustraa, who are his beard oil-and-grooming partners. He is also sponsored by many others like Wicked Ride for fuel, Zeus motorcycle gear for riding gears and Wrangler for his apparels.
Rohith has now reached the end of his tour and has plans to travel more. Go to Europe and visit 30 countries, Southeast Asia to visit 10 countries and Australia.
“I am planning to take Sandra along with me to the South East Asian tour and Australia,” he adds.
Just let your kids to Explore
The 22-year-old traveller has only one thing to tell parents who don’t let their kids explore: “No point in being over-protective! Bad things can happen anywhere; if your kids are happy doing something, let them do it. My parents say we have not given you education, we have given you freedom,” he smiles, as he vrooms off to another destination.