Meet GNV Satyanarayana from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, who likes to be known better by his Instagram id @mr_phenomenal_diaries.
In 2017 having got bored, he quit engineering and switched to journalism but bitten by the travel bug, in 2018 he left that too.
According to him, it was while preparing for civil services examinations; he felt like he should see all things that he should see all that he studied through his own eyes and so he decided to travel in 2018, although he had been traveling a bit since 2014. Kerala Travel Explorer caught up with this wanderer for a chat. Excerpts:
What influenced you to travel alone on a bike? which bike do you own?
I had been traveling since 2015, but in 2016 I got my motorcycle and my travel companion Royal Enfield Classic 350. From then things changed, I travelled everywhere on my motorcycle. I loved riding hundreds and thousands of kilometers and experiencing what world has to offer, travelling alone makes me think about various aspects of life, and I love to explore and enjoy on my own company.
How many states have you covered so far?
This is a tricky question and needs a little bit of explanation, as exploring just a city in a state doesn’t mean we covered the whole state. I explored various places in around 7 states since 2015. I properly completed 4 states.
In 2018 - Tamilnadu in 31 days exploring 140 destinations from 32 districts on-road which took me around 7000 km.
In 2019 - #Missionsouthindia
Tamil Nadu, I just explored for 4 days as only major destinations i loved which took me around 1800 km and 16 destinations.
Kerala in 22 days exploring 130 destinations from 14 districts on-road which took me around 3300 km.
Karnataka in 35 days exploring 175 destinations from 31 districts on-road which took me 6400 km
Goa in 6 days exploring 40 destinations from 2 districts road which took me 600 km.
#Missionsouthindia was planned for 110 days and exploring 6 states around 550 destinations and 25000 km but due to sudden death of my father, it ended up with me exploring 4 states in 67 days exploring around 360 destinations and it took me around 13000 km.
How many km on an average did you ride every day?
It depends up on the type of destination i am exploring and the destinations on the list for that day plan as everything is planned upfront, but on an average, I ride around 250- 300 km.
How was your experience in Kerala? When did you travel (which month)? Where all did you go? Which all places did you see?
Kerala is a wonderful place and if anybody wants to experience nature then Kerala is the best in south India. I travelled to Kerala in October 2019 right after the floods. In 22 days exploring 130 destinations from 14 districts on-road which took me around 3300 km.
Which place did you like the best?
Munnar, especially Kolukkumalai tea plantations, the life and people who work in tea plantations their stories and what sunrises and sunsets offers is phenomenal.
What did you find special about Kerala? Did you encounter any communication problems?
The thing about Kerala is at some places it’s not about destinations because some villages look like everything is a new experience, and I couldn’t be more amazed as a photographer with perspective. The only line I learnt in Malayalam is “enikku malayalam ariyilla”. I used sign language or showed photos and communicated to them with signs and key words. As such, it was not a big problem for me as everything was planned in advance and there were not many surprises.
Did you like the food?
I did enjoy some but not all, mainly because I am not a foodie. I don’t eat much; I carry dry fruits with me as I believe waiting and eating is not an efficient way of utilizing my time.
What do you have to say about the roads in Kerala?
They are narrow compared to the roads of other states I have visited. Also, a lot of roads are in bad condition which may be because, of rains or floods. I am not sure.
What are your most memorable experiences in Kerala?
Light houses at beaches changed the way I experienced beaches. Boating experience in Alapuzha and other islands made me see things with a different perspective. Kolukkumalai camping at the top of the tea plantations was wonderful. It was my first camping and riding through Wayanad, Thekkady, and Nelliampathy hills. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Will you come again?
How did you fund the trip? Did you have sponsors?
My mother and I completely funded the whole trip, and I was sponsored for motorcycle safety gear by Rynox Gears. I collaborated with some resorts also.
What advice do you have for solo travelers to Kerala?
Kerala is a state with 14 districts almost all of them have some new experience to offer. So plan your itinerary according to what you love instead of searching for best places in Kerala. Customize it to your taste and interact with locals, and if you have any doubts, they will guide you. You can also meet lots of other solo travelers like you and enjoy the experience!