The most important thing I learnt is to live in the present. I have read so many books that tell you to be in the moment, not to worry about the past or the future, but it is travelling that helped me do this.
Hitesh Bhatt, 28 years, Traveler and Cafe owner, Rishikesh
Interviewed by Saem Hashmi
Why did you decide to speak on travel?
I chose this topic because I think travelling is the best way to learn anything in life. It’s the best teacher ever. It is better than class-room or office-teaching, and life is about learning new things.
What has your experience been as a traveler?
The one thing I learnt about life from traveling for seven months non-stop is that people are really nice. People are not bad in this world. It depends on how you look at people, situations and how you look at life. The second thing is that when you are very humble and don’t have too much power in your hands, you become the best version of yourself. When you are travelling with very little money, like I was with 300 rupees a day, you need more people because you need to survive, and you become the best version of yourself. When you are the best version of yourself, everyone is nice. People are the same everywhere. If you slap someone, they feel pain, and if you kiss someone, they feel nice. Travel taught me the world has more good than evil, and that’s what keeps the world going.
Did you face any opposition from your family?
Initially they were very happy when they got to know my plans of travelling, but when they realized I was actually going to do it, they went “Really?!” I think I have a very cool family because they are ok with everything I do. There has never been any opposition in my life for anything.
What has been your most memorable part during your travel?
I don’t have favourites in my life. Like I don’t have a favourite food, or favourite destination or person. But if I am travelling anywhere in the world, I would love to travel more to the river side and mountains than the oceans. I like people in the mountains because they are struggling with their routine life. Every day, they think about where to get the water from…the water is 3 km away, the food is in the farm…they are dealing with the basic things, so when big problems come in their lives, they are ok with that as well. We, on the other hand, have water, electricity, we have everything. We don’t even know these things can ever be a problem, and anything that comes in our life is a big problem. The people in the mountains are rough and tough. The best part of my travel was to live in the mountains, live with the locals and talk to them.
Are you still travelling?
Right now I am hosting travelers from all over the world.
I have a Cafe called Moksh Cafe in Rishikesh, which I have been running since May. This cafe is in a place, which feels like a traveler’s house. It is a place where any traveler from any part of the world can come inside and it feels like home. They can get all the information they want about travelling in India, good food, and good conversations. I also organise musical events, and I also plan to organise travel talks, book reading, so many things… Right now I am not travelling, but I will always keep travelling once in 3-4 months. It won’t stop. My big plan is to run this cafe for a couple of years, buy a van and travel with my girlfriend around the world.
You have met a lot of people along your travels. What has been the most important thing you have learnt?
If you allow me to be a little philosophical here, the most important thing I learnt is to live in the present. I have read so many books that tell you to be in the moment, not to worry about the past or the future, but it is travelling that helped me do this. I know there is no future or past. Everything is made up of the present moment. I live in my present moment, and I love it. I deal with my problems as they come. I don’t deal them in advance.
Every day I think what if I die tomorrow, and then I just become crazy and do all the things I want to do.
Where have you traveled to in India?
In the North it was Uttarakhand, Himachal, Punjab, Delhi, Bihar and Varanasi. I also traveled to Nepal. In the South, I was cycling and hitch-hiking in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Take each day as it comes. If you know everything about life, then where is the fun? Then you are looking for fun in your beer and your alcohol. The fun lies in not knowing.
What does love mean to you?
Love is everywhere. Love is in everything. Love is within you. If you don’t love yourself everything is ruined. If you are talking about love in general then love is in you. If you love yourself everything is green, nice and happy.
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