By Mitch the Mechanic
I’ve never been too interested in India. I always figured it would be too chaotic, too annoying, too…. much. Too many people trying to rip you off and sell you junk, too many wannabe yogis and dreadlocked Europeans “finding themselves” by smoking pot and reading Shantaram. Too many people, too much crazy. I’ve lived in China for five years; all I need is more people and more crazy.
But along came the Rickshaw Run. When, last July, Aaron Pattillo – our captain, our lord, our liege – emailed me asking if I wanted to drive 4,000 kilometers across India in a moto-rickshaw, I didn’t hesitate. “I’m in,” I replied, casting aside all my misgivings about India. It was an idea just too crazy to pass up.
When I told my brother, who spent three months in India a few years ago, about our trip, he said, without hesitation: “I can almost guarantee this will be the worst experience of your life.” Exactly. The Rickshaw Run, it seemed to me, was a way to fully embrace the worst traveling experience of all time. To laugh in the face of stupidity. To embrace all the chaos India has to offer. In fact, the Rickshaw Run is a way to out-crazy the sub-continent, to out-fox the fox, if you will.
And so we became the Inevitables. Our team’s patron saint is Roald Amundsen, the mustachioed Norwegian explorer of polar regions, who once famously decaled, “adventure is just bad planning.” He meant that journeys must be rigorously planned, down to the last detail, in order to avoid catastrophe and doom.
We took it to mean the exact opposite, and in the spirit of the inevitable, we did virtually no planning whatsoever until only a few months before the trip. We didn’t even get our fifth team member until a few weeks ago, and, as of writing (with three weeks to go before we leave to India), we have only raised $100 of the $3,500 we need to fundraise for the charity Frank Water. (Donate here!) (Also in the spirit of bad planning, I am writing this article more than a month after I promised I would.)
During our first real planning session in January we talked about team names. We looked up synonyms for words like “adventure” and “spontaneous,” and eventually came across “inevitable.”
The Inevitables? It made so much sense.
We are… The Inevitables!
So, will this trip be the worst experience of our lives? Of course it will – we’re driving 4,000 km across India in a rickshaw! But, at the same time, will it also be the best experience of our lives?
Or at least it will make for a good story once we recover from our injuries and dysentery.