India planning

Big Trip Plans – India 2017

Looking to rediscover his mojo, Tom busies himself with planning a new big trip!

Big trips just need to come naturally. You know – the timing needs to be dead right.

For the last three years I’ve been living with my parents and squirrelling away money, waiting for that feeling to let me know it’s time to go. All that waiting – it’s kind of unhealthy. Transfixed on tomorrow. After Europe I promised I’d try to live in the moment a little more, but easier said than done.

A couple of months ago, in preparation to follow my girlfriend over to New Zealand, work granted me up to a years sabbatical. I was all set to road-trip again.

Only thing is, I hadn’t got a clue what I was actually going over there to do. Ski season maybe?

Then, only a couple of weeks ago, the real clincher. Sarah and I broke up.

The decision was right for both of us and, after five years, thankfully an amicable one, but that wasn’t enough to calm the wave of nausea that struck me in the days that followed. I’d been wilfully avoiding making any big decisions for a while, but now I was being handed the keys and told to take the wheel. If I’m not competent enough to exist with full support from another human being, I’m utterly fucked on my own. Or so I thought in the initial turbulence and tumult.

I had to admit that I was never that invested in New Zealand, but if not, what the hell am I interested in?? It was murky introspection sure, but one place kept coming to the surface – a place I’d forgotten I wanted to go to for a long while. India.

Where else can you be in the Himalayas and Hill Station’s one week, then riding across deserts and jungles the next? Animals, people, beaches, temples, street food – the wonderful colour of life all on display in India. I’ll admit, I’ve maybe had a little too long to romanticise about the adventure..

I’ve been toying with how to get there for a couple of weeks now – overland or fly in and buy a bike locally. I’d obviously love to make my own way to India, but a little bit of research started revealing some tricky logistics. Post after post on Horizons Unlimited describing how difficult or costly it is to ride through China (or freight right through). I could go through Iran and Pakistan but these seem to have a few red flags, and I’d rather take my time through those countries when the situation is a little calmer. Of course I could ride all the way to the East of Russia and freight around China, but that seems like a major ballache. Apparently, new laws in Thailand mean that if you arrive on a vehicle you’ll also need to be on an organised tour (£££).

Then the Carnet at around £2k (I haven’t sold a house, I still can’t afford to throw £2k into a paper booklet), and the need to get the bike back afterwards to claim the deposit back – again freight, or requiring multiple or long visas for the countries in between.

It is a total hassle – and the way my heart wasn’t in it said it all.

I just want to go to India, I don’t need to build it into any RTW trip. 

I’ll fly in and buy a bike when I’m there… and of course there is only one bike to buy.

Royal Enfield Bullet G5 Military EFI 12 1

Even with my counter culture streak, there are just some universal truths. One of them is riding a bullet through India. Though I have to admit, I’ve got a soft spot for the much less rugged or practical Continental GT. We’ll see what’s on sale when I get there!

It’s still early days and I’m busy fleshing out the bare bones of a plan – dates, flights, rough route, visas. There is one thing with my current timings though, and I’m kind of wearing it as a right of passage. That’s the monsoon. It’ll be in full force in July. Fuck yeah

It’s been a tough couple of months but the plan – this plan – is jump starting my mojo something fierce. So it is the jigsaw falls into place – Now the timing is right.

Been to India before? Live there? I’d love to know what you think! Where’s some cool biking experiences at? 




4 comments on “Big Trip Plans – India 2017

  1. Dave O'Leary

    Tom!! You’re ole buddy Irish Dave here.

    I don’t know if you remember but I did a 10 day trip in India. If you’re there, one of the most iconic trips is Manali to Leh. I did a variation of it, starting in Srinigar and going to Leh (Better Roads!!) I did a write up of it here

    One thing to note from your plan above………………non nationals aren’t allowed to own vehicles in India. I’m sure there are ways around it, but just something to be aware of before wandering out there to find you can’t even buy a banger!

    Royal Enfields are the absolute Bomb, and I’m fairly sure they could withstand one too. Not much power or speed, but sturdy and trust worthy.

    When are you going?? I’d almost be tempted to go back!


  2. Hey Dude! Of course I remember, those pictures were what I was thinking about when settling on taking a bullet North!

    Had a good scour on the subject of bike ownership. Apparently, checks only have to be made when buying/registering a new bike -and these can be circumvented by using the garage owners address if need be (probably for a teeny fee). I’d be looking at used bikes, in which case its normally just the possession of the logbook – although again, might need to be registered ‘legally’. There are ways and means, for sure!

    I was shocked when I found out the 500’s only knock out around 28hp. “How did they actually design horses out of that engine?” I thought to myself.

    Mid-July, but probably heading into the mountains August time. The invitation is certainly extended to you, should you want to head back over there! I’m planning on doing the rest of the country soon-after if you don’t want to retrace your steps?

    Thanks for comment dude!

    • Dave O'Leary

      Working all August unfortunately. And yeah with a few ruppees anything is possible!! Just remember that you’ll stand out as a foreigner and it’s not just the garage and registration where you might have an issue with bike ownership. Up in the mountains, locals insist (to the point where they set up and enforce their own checkpoints) that you rent a local bike as a foreigner.

      But thats all part of the adventure!!

      • Yeah, I’ve heard that part actually, with checkpoints for foreigners. Maybe I could out patience them you know? Just set up camp and wait a day or two :D.
        I’ll be there (India) longer than just a month pal if you change your mind. Would be out of Ladakh by then too, heading (most likely) down west coast through Mumbai and Goa. Have a think!

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