On a bright sunny day in March 2016, Gautam finally decided to end his relationship with something which was holding him back for 21 years. Born in Jhansi, he had created an invisible fence around, resisting him from accepting anything beyond his convictions. He would unleash all his clout to defend his thoughts, engaging in high decibel conversations. But it all changed on that day!
Till then, Kanpur, where he went to college, was the only place outside Jhansi that he had been to. Compiling enough courage to step out of his comfort zone, he started to travel, rerouting his life forever.
“I was a completely combative person. A furious debater and my ego never let me say I don’t know”, he says. Then travelling happened! He discovered the gems of life and unearthed a new Gautam as he embarked on the journey to dissolve with the outside world.
His first harbour — Mumbai & Goa! An unplanned trip, first of many such, the 6-member team packed their bags and said, let’s go! Though he didn’t like the trip much, mostly due to the super-commercialized streets (Yes!), it was the road to Damascus moment for him.
“I was living in a shell, cut off from the outside world, not ready to accept another person’s viewpoint. But the second I stepped out of my skin and decided to embrace others, everything changed for good.”
A little later in the same year, he jaunted to Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Mussoorie. He fell in love with the Mountains and Rivers!
“Mountains & rivers drives you forward. Sea pushes you back” — he says, endorsing the alluring components of nature.
After college and a consultancy role with GOI, he landed an opportunity to work for TATA Trusts. The biggest dividend of the job? He needs to travel all of the North East!
“I was like wow! This is brilliant!” He relocated to Shillong and travelled extensively throughout North East for work doing surveys.
“Everyday I was exposed to different cultures and habits. Between the surveys for projects, I was also doing my surveys to find places to go for hiking or trekking over the weekend”, Gautam says.
After an engaging week of work, he regularly started doing solo trips on the weekends. For him, the Mondays after a trek over the weekend were the best.
The most memorable, in other words, the scariest and adventurous trip he ever went was the one to Nagaland in March 2018. Getting down at Dimapur, which is the entry to Nagaland, he was stuck in a no man’s land. He sneaked into a vegetable van and found a place in the cargo bed besides onions and tomatoes. After reaching Kohima and waving off his ‘fellow-passengers’, he started to trek towards Dzükou Valley, located in the borders of Nagaland and Manipur. The mountain is a thick forest. Mid-way through the trek, it turned dark, started raining and he lost the route. He shouted for help and people ahead of him acted as the GPS till he joined them.
“The blistering view I saw in the morning from the valley was worth all the adventure. It was magical. But, I would advise to go to places like these in groups and not alone. It can be a bit risky.”
Over the last five years, he has been to every Indian state, except two. “Travelling has opened up my perspective and groomed me to be what I’m today”, says Gautam.
An IIT Kanpur alumni, Gautam joined ShareChat in January 2019.
#ShareChatInsider is a segment where we intent to profile our associates on their passion, achievements and those little stories outside work.