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RoadShaman

Travel | Motorcycles | India

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bikerlife

Never stop wondering, never stop wandering

Hi, my name is Tanveer Taj and travelling is my passion.
As clichéd & vague as that sounds, to really understand what led me to this & what truly drives it, we need to jump back a few steps.
Being brought up in Muscat, I always wanted to come back & explore my motherland.
Finally, in 2008 I moved to Pune for higher studies. I started exploring places around the city, but it wasn’t long before I realized I needed some wheels to get around. I picked up an old second hand Yamaha and after that there was no looking back. I found myself heading to the nearby hills & forest almost every weekend. It started with short trips outskirts of Pune, then extended to Kolhapur, Bhimashankar, Nashik, Mahabaleshwar and so on. I started loving the freedom that I experienced on the motorcycle and the peace of mind I had amidst nature. I knew I was addicted.

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In 2010, I bought a Royal Enfield & with an upgrade in motorcycle, came an upgrade in destinations. By 2012, I had started doing trips to Goa, Karnataka and other close by places. In 2014 I went on an epic motorcycle trip from Delhi to Chennai via the east coast of India covering 28 cities across 8 states in 34 days. I obviously couldn’t get leaves for such a long trip so I had to quit my job. It was a scary decision, but I took it anyway and it was for the best. I got back from the trip, started freelancing for a few months before joining another advertising agency. About a year later, I quit my job again and did a solo trip to the Himalayas. Why I did that, is a story for another day.

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Because I was travelling a lot, I started writing about my experiences & documenting my journeys on my GoPro. I started sharing them on social platforms and got fairly popular among my friends & fellow travellers. This is when I started my own website – http://www.roadshaman.com. I upload all my travel stories, pictures & videos here.

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So yeah, that was my story. Coming back to my passion; what really drives me to quit jobs, spend all my savings, fight with my parents/friends to go on these trips? The answer is simple –

1) The Zen: This is the obvious one. Almost all my life decisions have been taken while riding on an open road in the middle of nowhere. All my worries take a back seat & I am actually at peace with myself when I am on my motorcycle. The long rides give me ample time to think about everything that matters in a more relaxed state.

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2) The People: We live in a terrible world. You hear about people killing each other and destroying the planet on a daily basis. Traveling has put me in touch with the good side of humanity. I have been astounded by the friendliness and compassion shown to me by people who didn’t know me and had no reason to help me. I think one needs to experience this ‘niceness’ to stay positive & restore their faith in this mad world.

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3) The Culture: Travelling gives me a chance to experience various cultures which I never knew existed. It’s amazing how diverse everything in India is, be it people, culture, faiths, dialects, languages, food, weather, geography, EVERYTHING! You have to experience it to believe it. We live in such a beautiful country & I feel we should explore our own backyard before moving out.

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4) The Rush: Be it riding solo in the Himalayas with no one around for miles at end, or riding at night in the core Naxalite forest area in Jharkhand, or being stuck in a random town for 3 days because of storm warning, you know these situations can be fatal, but you experience a certain rush that keeps you going. And of course, you emerge out of it with one heck of a story!

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5) The dilly-dally: Quite opposite of the previous point, travel also has the power to slow time down. Every once in a while we need to step out of our air-conditioned cages and just breathe, take time to watch the sunset or just walk aimlessly in a forest to truly value the magical world we live in. We are caught up with so many things at once that we tend to ignore what’s around us.

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People often ask how travel has changed me. If I look back at who I was before I began travelling and compare that to who I am now, I would have to say that travel has made me a better and more well-rounded person. I think travel makes everybody a more awesome person.
I truly, honestly believe if everyone travelled more we’d be in a much better place. People would be happier, we’d understand each other better, we’d be less materialistic and we’d learn to simply enjoy life.
Love is contagious. I want to share my love & passion with everyone & hopefully inspire them to go out. Travel simply teaches you how to be happy and the world could use some happy people 🙂

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Putting Passion over Profession

Quitting a well paying, stable job to travel is considered to be a foolish move by many.

Do I regret it?

Not one bit. Yes, what I am slightly worried about is my changed perspective about life in general.

I just got back from a trip that involved covering 10000km across India on a motorcycle.  Needless to say, the trip was amazing! I met so many interesting people, tried food that I had never tasted, discovered places that I never knew existed! It was an experience of a lifetime.

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Off roading in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Angul (Orissa)
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Family away from home. Love this bunch 🙂 #EastSideEagles.

I had a close call on the trip which made me realize that life can be taken away in an instant and how we take it for granted. The long rides on this trip obviously gave me a lot of time to think and introspect about life and all the decisions that define it. It’s just so disturbing to realize that we are all caught up in a gridlock of social norms that tell us how we need to function.  A ridiculous predefined structure that tells us, right from the very beginning, to plan our future well in advance.

I am not against this idea, in fact it’s a good thing. There is nothing better than some amount of certainty of where one is heading. But don’t we all tend to take this a little too far? We are all so caught up in planning our future that we tend to ignore the present.  I know so many people who want to pursue their passion but are too afraid to face the consequences if things go wrong.

I know it’s tough, I’ve been there. The day I quit my job was probably the longest day of my life. I had everything planned, and it was going really well – the promotions, salary hikes and everything. I never thought I would be the one who would quit a job in a single day without any idea or plan about the future.

But I did it and I really don’t know why. After about 6 hours of freaking out about the crazy decision that I took, I was content with it, and I still am. It was for the best.

Again, I am not encouraging people to quit their jobs and I am definitely not claiming that I have figured everything out and that I now know the purpose of my existence.

All I am trying to say is that when you are about to die and your life flashes by you, do you want visuals of your work desk, board meetings and your colleagues? Or do you want vibrant visuals of beautiful places that you’ve been to and the quality time that you spent with people that you love?

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Vibrant skies en route Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
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Scenic dirt track, Vizag, AP
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Clear Sky, Horsely Hills

There is so much to see in this world, so many new things to experience, so many breath-taking places to discover, so many things to learn, but there is so little time.

So, live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don’t wait. Because right now is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll be ever again.

And in the end you will only regret the chances you didn’t take…

I don’t know if this careless attitude about life will get me anywhere. But for now, I am happy here 🙂

Meet Pegasus

She’s a firecracker. She’s an incorrigible teenager, but also has tendency to be a sassy old lady at times. An attention seeker, she is loud and demanding, determined and loyal, obstinate and argumentative. But most importantly she is adventurous and always up for the challenge.

With every mile under your wheel, the more close to you I feel.

50,000 km and still going strong. Here’s to many more to come 🙂

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Discovering freedom… everyday

There are only a few moments in my long boring day that I am truly free and it’s when I’m on my motorcycle. The machine speaks to me as I sit on it. It rids me of my worries, sorrows and pain. I’ve been conflicted and trapped within my mind. It beats and my heart reciprocates.

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Whether it be the cold of the night or the slur of the monsoon or the summer heat, it moves me.

I feel free with it and it frees me of all the unnecessary contemplation, shaking off those nagging, depressing and disturbing thoughts. What will become of my life? Am i doing the right thing? Are they worth it? All these fucking thoughts take a backseat when i ride my baby.

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I enjoy every moment of it, its just me and the road. Ode to thee my machine, upon you I find peace and with you I am free.

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