On his own journey: See how a 21-year-old travelled to 40 countries in 4 years

An effective way to begin a dialog in Azerbaijan is by speaking concerning the TV serial Ramayan (1987); it’s nonetheless remembered there, for its opulent units and costumes. In distant japanese Russia, a simple icebreaker is the Bappi Lahiri track Jimmy Jimmy Aaja Aaja from the 1982 movie Disco Dancer.

In Mongolian, India continues to be Enetkheg (an historical time period for the land of the Indus). Make the connection by pulling up pictures of Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan. (*4*) says Shubham Yadav, 21.

Yadav aka Nomad Shubham has been travelling the world since August 2018, hitchhiking (largely) throughout 40 countries on a funds that averages out to about 500 a day. From strolling with nomads by way of a part of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia to taking a dip in the icy waters of Siberian Russia in a -30-degree-Celsius winter (a widespread Epiphany customized), it’s a wild experience that continues.

He’d at all times needed to journey, Yadav says, however money was a constraint. Then, at 16, whereas enrolled in an IIT-JEE prep course at Kota, the boy from Munger, Bihar, stumbled on a TEDx discuss by Croatian journey vlogger Tomislav Perko, explaining how hitchhiking modified his life. Yadav now knew what he needed, and it wasn’t an engineering diploma.

He began small, whereas nonetheless enrolled in Kota, taking weekend journeys round Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal (*40*) and Kashmir, at all times spending as little as doable. This meant sleeping in temples and monasteries, pitching a tent wherever he may, and consuming frugally. Six months of those weekends informed him the hitchhiker life was certainly doable, and he determined to stop IIT prep altogether.


His dad and mom, aghast at first, got here to a compromise. They would pay his airfare to Russia, if he promised to attempt to discover himself a college to research there. Yadav headed to Russia in 2018, travelled from there to Kazakhstan, and returned house with a confession: he needed to be a journey vlogger.

His dad and mom weren’t pleased, however they noticed that he was incomes his own approach now, as a tutor on an e-learning platform. The following year, Yadav set off on his first prolonged wander, decided to go so far as he may, for so long as he may. Over seven months, he made his approach by way of Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and again through Myanmar. He started recording movies of his travels. In late-2019, he returned house and, a few weeks later, headed out once more, this time on a month-long street journey to China through Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos, hitchhiking all the way in which.

He had learnt to use Google Translate to talk; to flip to ladies for assist. In China, the place hitchhikers are usually met with suspicion, it was native ladies who assist persuade truckers to take him onward.

He signed up on platforms comparable to Workaway and Worldpackers, which let him volunteer at hostels in trade for shelter. He generally couch-surfed, cooking for his hosts in trade for his or her hospitality (rajma-chawal and a fast hen curry made with domestically out there spices turned out to be the most well-liked dishes).

He’s by no means been robbed, mugged or swindled, he says. “People always help. Locals I befriend readily lend or give away heavy fur jackets and boots when they see that I live on a very strict budget.”

In mid-2019, Yadav started posting his movies, and by March 2020 he had about 30,000 subscribers on YouTube. He hit the street once more that year, this time making his approach by way of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Azerbaijan, which is the place he was when the pandemic border closures hit. He ended up staying in Azerbaijan for six months, however he was now incomes sufficient from his vlogs to assist an prolonged keep.

Today, his movies get hundreds of thousands of views. He’s incomes sufficient to journey extra comfortably, however he’s wedded to the concept of hitchhiking and dwelling as frugally as doable on the street. “I end up saving, and that’s some comfort to my parents, though they would still prefer it if I had a regular job,” he says.

The one factor that has posed a problem, he says, is uncommon meals. Since his rule with meals is to attempt something as soon as, he has eaten horse meat in Russia, tasted a snack made from chicken bones in Tanzania. But he had to politely refuse par-boiled buffalo meat in South Sudan. “It was boiled with the skin and hair and I could not bring myself to try it,” he says. But the entire level is to find out about customs and cultures first-hand, “so I push myself to part take in at least a few, to truly experience a country”.

During his 9 months in Africa final year, he mingled with the cattle-herding Mundari tribe in South Sudan, the body-painting Karo and Banna tribes and the lip-plate-wearing Mursi tribe in Ethiopia, visited Sudan, Uganda and Egypt. He is now on a 45-day journey by way of Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Sweden).

“Travel isn’t as easy as before, but since I have no plans or deadlines, I do things at my own pace,” he says. What does he not look ahead to whereas travelling? “Having to explain saas-bahu serials”, that are common throughout south-east Asia. “Or explaining the term ‘maanglik’ and why women marry trees.”

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