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Old 8th January 2007, 05:38   #1
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Post Is the spirit of adventure/travel missing in us indians?? Or is it only me ?

Firstly , I don't mean to slander ourselves but when I come here and see travellers / adventurers and hear their stories read their travelogues I am amazed at the risks they take.

Take backpacking for example , In so many countries abroad backpacking and travelling around for a couple of years after/before or during college is taken for granted, but back home even a 2 week trip by ourself is enough to raise eyebrows. My Mom would have had a heart attack if I said "I am taking a break from college and going to tour india for the next six months". My dad would have probably driven me out of the house.
Maybe I am from a very conservative Tamil bramhin family and so I had these sort of restrictions but I didn't see any of my friends from other religions / castes doing travel or some really adventurous stuff either.

Of course there are a few exceptions, now from the Net I do know a few indian guys doing some mind boggling stuff (really long distance inter state cycling , riding , mountaineering etc). But I feel in the average Indian, (my self included ) the fear factor is too high to venture into the unknown. All My parents and perhaps everyone else suggested was to study well get a good job and settle.

Travel meant Summer trips with the complete family on Indian railways (my dad was in railways, so free train passes, and stay in railway guesthouses ) or going back to native for a month in Tirunelveli-Tamilnadu.

Take for example this lady> Linda Bick, she is 61 years old (she says she feels like 16) and she is now riding on a Suzuki 650 for the past 2 years over 35,000 kilomoters from Spain on her way to Australia. Being young and healthy I still can't muster up courage to do something like that, even if I had the money .

Another thing perhaps is the Financial part, with the negative leverage of Indian Rupee, maybe most of us cannot afford to do something like this for purely financial reasons(atleast I could not). But I still think finance is not the only thing, is it something in the Indian Phsyce or the way our society is geared that encourages us to abhor adventure?

Starting this topic here hoping to get some opinions on this , what do you feel? do you feel the average indian is adventurous enough? What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

Maybe making enough for your bread and butter itself is an adventure out here, who needs anything else.
Atleast when I was there, Catching the 8:13 CST fast local before the 4th coach of the train enters the platform itself felt like an adventure of a lifetime.

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Old 8th January 2007, 09:01   #2
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Indian middle class is generally very risk averse, whether it is physical risk or financial risk or career risk or academic risk.

That's means the society around you (family & friends) willl discourage you from doing anything out of the ordinary. Checkout these examples:

1) My cousin & his wife took off on a 15 day bullet trip to himalayas (kardungla pass, etc) and not one person from my parents generation supported it. He had to fully ignore them. Only some of us cousins encouraged him.

2) When my wife & I took off to Sikkim for trekking (Few days close to Heaven: The Dzongri Trek) we had to completely hide that fact from my in-laws, only my parents and couple of cousins knew. My in-laws would have tried every trick in the book to stop us if they knew before hand. They found out only after we returned and showed the photographs.

3) Indian employers look down upon fresh graduates who have graduated late. Say you took off for couple of years backpacking during your student days. You are going to have a heck of time getting your first job. That gap will be big black spot on your resume. Most companies don't even let you write campus test if you are above certain age.

4) The Indian employers also look down upon people with gap in between jobs. May be you took a break to vacation around for 6 months or a year. Oops, one more black spot. The next potential employer will be very concerned at your lack of seriousness in your career.
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Old 8th January 2007, 13:52   #3
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Quote:

2) When my wife & I took off to Sikkim for trekking (Few days close to Heaven: The Dzongri Trek) we had to completely hide that fact from my in-laws, only my parents and couple of cousins knew. My in-laws would have tried every trick in the book to stop us if they knew before hand. They found out only after we returned and showed the photographs.
Hilarious !! Awesome !!!

And redbull, very nice topic you have started.

Another factor I would like to point out is the overall lack of value for life. I mean, our roads and highways are very dangerous places to drive on. People dont follow rules or laws and break them as they wish.

Some of them drive at high speed in the RIGHT lane of the wrong side !!

This is one major factor for parents and well wishers to discourage people from going on long ride as you mentioned.

I would love to do that. But the fact is, our country is very very unsafe.
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Old 8th January 2007, 14:01   #4
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Good topic that you have brought up!

I did my treks to Everest Base Camp, Gomukh and in Gadhwal Himalayas. My parents and friends were very supportive all the way. They now scold me for not doing those activities after getting married and having kids. I seriously should start them all again.

But I absolutely agree that we don't do all that wild stuff that typically Westeners do. Our family structure is too strong and also protective, which probably prohibits us from exploring new ways. Clearly one of the main reasons, why we (as society) lack entrepreneurship skills compared to West.
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Old 8th January 2007, 14:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Indian middle class is generally very risk averse, whether it is physical risk or financial risk or career risk or academic risk.


4) The Indian employers also look down upon people with gap in between jobs. May be you took a break to vacation around for 6 months or a year. Oops, one more black spot. The next potential employer will be very concerned at your lack of seriousness in your career.

Spot on. Risk aversion in our society is the sole reason our country remains a fav nature spot for foreigners mainly.

All aspects of our society are intermingled with this risk aversion too - else where else in the developed world would one find arranged marriages?!

Last edited by theMAG : 8th January 2007 at 14:23.
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Old 8th January 2007, 15:02   #6
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
1) My cousin & his wife took off on a 15 day bullet trip to himalayas (kardungla pass, etc) and not one person from my parents generation supported it.
2) When my wife & I took off to Sikkim for trekking (Few days close to Heaven: The Dzongri Trek) we had to completely hide that fact from my in-laws, only my parents and couple of cousins knew.
3) Indian employers look down upon fresh graduates who have graduated late. Say you took off for couple of years backpacking during your student days.
4) The Indian employers also look down upon people with gap in between jobs.
Right on all counts.

There is also the question of insecurity - I've seen many of my foreign colleagues taking a year off in between jobs to travel to various destinations (3 of them spent a year travelling through India). None of us would do it, because we cannot (I cannot, anyway) contemplate a year of spending without earning!!! If I had that much money *to spend on a holiday of a year), I'd probably INVEST that money somewhere and continue working.

I'm sure things will change as time goes by - we have inherited a lot of our frugal habits from our parents who were much more frugal and conservative than us. THe next generation is already a lot more liberal in their spending habits than we are and I'm sure my son's generation will be more liberal than that.

When we reach the point where we behave like the west is doing today, the west would be a lot more conservative than us. Then our future generations will STILL look westwards and say 'why cant we be more conservative like them?'
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Old 8th January 2007, 16:53   #7
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It's all down to our countries economy and our social structure.
Unlike average westerner, an average Indian can't afford to spend that much on adventures and traveling! The power of $ £ € is still much higher than Rs.
Many such western adventurers do break their arms and legs and then spend months in govt. cared hospitals. In India, imagine the cost of such medical care [even if you get insurance only few lucky people can get similar facility].
A disabled person in western world can lead a life of a normal people there. In India, if you become disabled by some accident, your life will be doomed. Our society/infrastructure is still not structured/engineered to help disabled a normal life.
Westerners don't care [there are exceptions though] about their children’s future [cost of education etc.] as much as we Indians do. So, they can spend so much money on themselves compared to us.
The same applies for our entrepreneurship capability. Westerners, if become bankrupt, can be on govt. dole and can still live a decent life. While, we on India, can't! So, we can't take risk.
For the same reasons, Indians - while abroad, become much more adventurous!
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Old 8th January 2007, 17:10   #8
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Default Yup I too feel the same

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
Firstly , I don't mean to slander ourselves but when I come here and see travellers / adventurers and hear their stories read their travelogues I am amazed at the risks they take.
...............
4 Wheels move my body, 2 Wheels move my soul.
I am in agreement with you. Here is what I think.

Generally we indians are risk averse and a little insecure financially. Things seem to be changing for better, not enuff numbers yet. Common man is still struggling to make both ends meet, travel and adventure is a huge thing from finance or hassles perspective. Added to this is poor infrastructure and limited resources to grow knowledgeable about new places.

I could do quite a few trips in US by finding out routes through yahoo, etc.. booking hotels online, knowing what to expect, .... I dont think I'd be comfortable doing the same thing in India because the infrastructure or law enforcement and other systems do not inspire confidence in me.

Another perspective is, generally common man tends to think of Tirupati or some other religious place for a trip which combines a pilgrimage with fun for children.
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Old 10th January 2007, 22:17   #9
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while single, we still enjoy these things (not to the extent of 6 months though). but once we cross 25-30 (eventually getting married) world suddenly seems to be a difficult and dangerous place (think about the gateway of india incident, of all places).

I can't think of backpacking with my wife and 10 month old anywhere in india.

But, it is very easy for me to arrange a trip to smoky mountains in US, because the system, and infrastructure, supported by the people, is alll set for it.

and yes, everything else mentioned on the thread is true.
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