From 15,000-foot drops to swimming with sharks, city-based adrenaline junkies share their favourite travel moments.
A friend of mine from the North once said how Chennai is a slow-paced city with successful people, where a cup of coffee and a newspaper are tools to unwind. The city, however, begs to differ. From a businessman who spent three-quarters of last year travelling the world to a school owner who is celebrating her 40s with monthly getaways, the city has been bitten by the travel bug. We speak to a few adventure enthusiasts about their craziest escapades and what’s next on their bucket list.
Gone with the wind
Arjun Motha enjoys his water sports. The founder of Aqua Outback, an adventure sports outfit based in Tuticorin, he is a national-level kitesurfer and conservationist. Thailand, Bhutan and other Asian spots are favourites for this man who travels to surf at least four times a year. The kitesurfing enthusiast says, “This is the closest you will get to walking on water. It is a big rush and I have been hooked for the last five years.” While the athlete names Philippines, Thailand and Egypt as perfect spots for the sport, he also points to Tuticorin and the Gulf of Mannar as preferred kiting destinations. “With close to 300 days of wind, why go anywhere else?” he asks. Motha hopes to try his hand at wingsuiting soon.
A looming 40th birthday hasn’t stopped Sujatha Vijay from pushing her limits and embarking on adventure trips twice a month. The founder of Bamboola Play School has tried her hand at most of the conventional options. But her favourite experience has been the offroad bike trip in Leh-Ladakh this August. Still an amateur, she rode to Pangong Tsu lake. “You can see mountains of different hues, the water changes colour through the day, and there are no people, which means gazing at the Milky Way at night,” she says. She will head to the Everest next year.
Travelling close to 270 days last year, adventure is probably Girish Ramdas’ middle name. The 41-year-old CEO of digital newsstand, Magzter, enjoys scuba diving, trekking, skydiving and white water rafting, besides high-octane trips with his family. The city-based businessman, however, had his heart in his mouth when his wife, Shakthi, was thrown off the boat while rafting in the Delaware River, near New York. “We were going in some class IV rapids when we hit a rock and she flew off. We were helpless,” he recalls. While she was rescued with no injuries, he says she hasn’t lost the zeal to have a go at it again. Ramdas insists on getting his facts right before embarking on an adventure and hopes to try out rafting in the Himalayan rivers soon. Also on his list is experiencing zero gravity.
Jaws of fun
When she’s not handling things at the Nathella enterprise or running behind her children, Pavithra Kishore loves packing her days with adventure sports. Currently training for scuba diving, the 42-year-old picks Sipadan in Malaysia (touted to be a diver’s paradise) as her favourite spot. “I’ve had close encounters with sharks and octopuses. How peacefully they move about in the water is so contrary to what many of us think of these creatures,” she says. Maldives and the Chennai coastline off Uthandi are other favourite places she loves diving at. “We have good visibility here and the marine life is incredible, with sharks, eels, et al,” adds the mother of two, who also enjoys skydiving and paragliding. She wishes to overcome her altitude sickness and her aversion to the cold by signing up for the Chadar Trek next year.
Path to light
Roshni Rao’s knack for finding budgeted travelling options found her packing her bags one morning and heading off to Bali for an impromptu adventure with her roommate. “We had $500 in hand. We went without a plan, having just read up the basics. It was amazing,” adds the city-based travel enthusiast. She urges that you try the Mount Batur trek, which starts at 2 am, when it’s pitch dark, and ends at 5.30 am at the peak, right on time for a beautiful view of the sun rising over the seven mountains and a dormant volcano. “Always have your basics packed and never rely on your ATM card,” quips Rao, who is also a certified scuba diver. She’s waiting to muster the courage to try bungee jumping and skydiving soon.
Besides a successful stint as a video jockey on SS Music and a busy shoot schedule, actress- model Pooja Gallyot is also an adrenaline junkie with a love for amusement park rides. Besides Six Flags in Washington DC and Stratosphere in LA, she recommends a trip to Clarke Quay in Singapore for their reverse bungees. “You’re falling heights of close to 200 ft. That feeling in your stomach is something to savour,” adds the 32-year-old. Cliff diving in Jamaica comes a close second.
Ace surfer Suhasini Damien recommends the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “For those who love trekking, there are beautiful forests. Little Andaman is my favourite surfing getaway ” says the 25-year old, who picks Basque country as her go-to international surfing spot.