An engineer by profession and a traveller and explorer by passion, Ramchandra Prabhu Salgaonkar, has to date travelled to 18 countries and aims to cover at least another 32 by 2021. In the next Planet J workshop, slated for Sunday, February 10, at Dempo House, Panaji, he will share his vast experience with youngsters on making travel cheaper, easier and more organised. NT KURIOCITY finds out more
Maria Fernandes | NT Kuriocity
While on a holiday, accommodation is one of the biggest costs that travellers have and reducing that cost can lead to big savings. “No matter what your accommodation tastes may be, one thing everyone has in common is that no one wants to pay a fortune for it. Since you have to stay somewhere every night, reducing this expense can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your trip. Next to finding a cheap flight, finding free or inexpensive lodging will have the biggest impact on your budget. Another trick to save money is walking rather than hiring cabs when travelling locally,” says Ramchandra whose love for travelling began when he was a child. His first international solo trip to Dubai whetted his appetite for more and seeing the world is now his dream.
Explaining the objective of the workshop, he says: “The aim of the workshop is to make the participants understand the need for travel and educate them on how to plan a budget around-the-world trip. There are three elements to travel – theme of the travel, planning phase and the actual trip. I will be highlighting the different means by which cost can be reduced without affecting the experience rather enhancing it. A detailed step wise plan will be discussed.”
Travelling has many benefits and as the younger generation is learning more about budget travelling, the number of Goans travelling around the country and abroad is steadily increasing. The fascinating stories these travellers tell on their return about the places they visited and people and adventures encountered, further fuels the interest of those keen on travelling. Expounding the benefits of travel, Ramchandra says: “It’s important the way we perceive travel. Travel is learning and it can only come, if one is involved in it. Travel is not just going to a place rather it is being connected to the place. Most of the Indians are just tourists, but when we become travellers we change as people. The changes come about through experiences we have while travelling. Social and communication skills along with decision making skills improve. We become more open to different cultures, people and even ideas. And the knowledge one gathers on these trips can only be termed as priceless.”
Travelling and exploring are very different from each other believes Ramchandra and explains: “When a traveller knows where he is going, what he will eat and the destinations he will visit, he is travelling. On the other hand, exploring is having no idea where you will stay, what you will eat or whom you will interact with. It is an adventure, one that will teach you different aspects of life, people and their ways. Travelling is planned while in exploring you can expect the unexpected. It calls for last minute decisions and thinking on your feet.”
In May-June 2017, Ramchandra undertook a trip to Europe wherein he visited seven countries, namely France, Germany, Vienna, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Belgium, all within 1000 Euros including air fare, visas, stay and food. During the visit he realised that, Indians travel very less. “I tried finding the key reasons and concluded that mainly there were 3 issues, money, food and uncertainty. Indians tend to save and invest for the future. If not that, we tend to spend on consumables and least on ‘experiences’. Ask your friends (and yourself) when was the last time they actually saved money for a family vacation. The answer you will get is far less positive than you would imagine. Vacations (travelling, sightseeing) are never really a goal in most Indian households. I know many who yearn to travel but put it off for the sake of some other commitment. Our upbringing and thought process is a huge setback when it comes to travel. I need to buy a house, or we just bought an apartment, I want to upgrade my car; my boss wouldn’t give me permission, etcetera are some of the valid reasons we give. I understand the gravity of these real commitments and don’t intend to say that these can be put off. All I want to emphasise is that you should add travel to that huge commitment/savings list and try to go on that vacation you and your family deserve.”
Food is another issue that prevents many Indians from venturing out. “We love our staple diet of roti, subzi, dal, rice, fish and the unavailability of these items the way we like it – ‘masaledar’, is an impediment for those who want to travel. Add to this, the fact that many Indians are vegetarian and getting food to their liking is not always easy,” he adds.
Most people according to him have the misconception that travelling is expensive. “I don’t believe that travelling costs the earth. Like everything else there is a cost involved. Most of us travel without doing proper research or with very limited information. If you ask some people the cost of a one-way ticket to Maldives, they would guess `20000 or so when actually the cost is about `5000 when the flight is from Kerala. If you want to cut down on fares, a little research, time and effort is required. If travelling as many believe is so expensive, how come the number of travellers the world over is increasing? It is something to consider,” he says.
He urges that people should travel solo at least once in their lifetime. “It is a way of exploring yourself. We perceive solo travelling as boring and dangerous, however the reality is different. When travelling solo you are not bound by the decisions of others and tend to experiment. Solo travel is safe as you tend to be more cautious. Also, make your own bucket list for travelling and focus on it and always keep a specific theme for travelling.”
(If you are between 16 and 25 years of age and would like to attend the talk, log on to navhindtimes.in/events and fill in the application form. Last date for applying is February 5.)