This is Alex Strand who is based in San Francisco, California. He lost his job at GoPro in December when it shut its entertainment division down.
Unlike a lot of us, he didn’t sit down sulking in the aftermath of job-loss or overburdening himself with looking for another.
Instead, he came up with a rather innovative idea.
As he tells us through a video on his YouTube Channel, Strand “transferred an undisclosed, but modest, sum of money to a fiscally responsible friend” and asked some of his friends to plan a 10-day trip to “anywhere on planet earth” between 3rd and 20th January 2017.
Strand had also laid down certain rules which his friends were required to stick to while planning his trip “to nowhere.”
The rules included several conditions ranging from sending him to a place he hadn’t been to before, to not sending him anywhere “in the continent of United States.”
Well, they obliged and planned a 13-day trip for Strand to India and Nepal.
Fairly intrigued, Being Indian reached out to Strand. He tells us why exactly did his friends pick India:
They didn’t want me to have a relaxing trip, so they wanted to put me into a place where I would find fun challenges every day. They selected India for a few reasons, but mostly because none of us had been there. They wanted it to be unfamiliar, so a place we’ve never been was important. They wanted it to be challenging, so the language barrier was key. They wanted it to be exhausting, so the vastness of the country was vital.
Which Indian states/cities did he cover?
I was only able to spend 13 days in India & Nepal so I didn’t get to see as much as I would have liked, BUT I did try to make the most of my time and enjoyed the few places I was able to visit!” he stated, while listing down six Indian cities, including Delhi and Darjeeling, and two Nepalese cities that he visited.
So did he find India to be exactly as it’s been stereotyped (read: a colourful land of snake charmers)?
I found that India was “more real” than expected. I guess what I mean by that is yes, India was colorful and exciting, but I finally got the chance to meet Indian people and see how they lived – and that is the exciting part. So I spent my time trying to get off the beaten path and getting to know people who actually lived there rather than spending my time with other tourists. The most memorable time was getting to know all of the local people in Darjeeling. They were so spirited and it was such an awesome experience spending the day running the half-marathon with them.
Obviously, we were tempted to ask him what he liked and disliked the most about India and his answer is sure to put a smile on your face.
The best thing about India was getting immersed into a culture that’s totally unfamiliar to me. The food was incredible and endless. I didn’t have the time to eat all of the food I wanted! The people were also incredible. So welcoming and hospitable.
The worst thing? No matter how hard I tried, nobody would serve me spicy food!! I love spicy food, but nobody wanted to serve it to me. Perhaps, they didn’t believe I could handle it. Or perhaps, they thought I was requesting that the food was not spicy. Next time I visit, I will learn how to say “I like spicy food” in Hindi.
And what was the most remarkable thing that he experienced?
Obviously, the history throughout Delhi and the country is totally awesome – and something we don’t have in America, but what’s the most remarkable thing? The fact India’s traffic system works so well! It’s chaos and every time I got into a car, I was amazed that I got to where I wanted to go. On the surface, it looks and feels out of control. But if you really pay attention, you realize that Indians are some of the most skilled and aware drivers you’ve ever seen. Perhaps, you could do without honking your horns so much but hey, it works!
On the whole, was it rejuvenating or disappointing? Or perhaps a mix of both?
The trip was extremely rejuvenating. Whenever you let go of control and put your fate into someone else’s hands, it’s a liberating experience. We spend so much of our lives working for somebody else, so it was nice to spend time by myself – free of obligations. I also understand it’s a luxury and I’m grateful for the ability to do this.