Oh yeah, so, in TWO WEEKS I’m driving a rickshaw through India

by Kim on December 16, 2012 · 40 comments

rickshawjam

The past month has been a complete whirlwind. We’ve had friends from home come to hike with us in Patagonia. We’ve been to Santiago, Mendoza, Buenos Aires and at least five smaller cities. We’ve been on three flights and just as many overnight busses. It’s been crazy and hectic and wonderful all at the same time. There are so many stories to tell.

At the forefront of our minds throughout our frenzied final weeks in South America has been this date: 12/22/12. It’s the day we must arrive at the airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to catch our flight to India. Because, oh yeah, we’re going to India and, oh yeah, I’m going to drive a motorized rickshaw down the whole subcontinent with two people I have technically never met before. Oh my God.

If this is news to you, you can read this post to learn more about the ridiculousness that is the Rickshaw Run.

The Rickshaw Run

RR

You guys, I am so completely unprepared. I don’t know a thing about India and I have stubbornly refused to find out. From time to time Brian will gingerly nudge the India Lonely Planet Guide in my direction and each and every time I nonchalantly push it back at him.

The Adventurists, the company that dreamed up and organizes the Rickshaw Run, sends me weekly e-newsletters that probably include very important information and I don’t read them. I don’t read them! I really cannot explain why I am acting this way. I simply cannot bring myself to open the emails.

I know that this is the equivalent of putting my hands over my ears and singing LA LA LA LA LA in a loud, obnoxious voice but I have a strong feeling that I should just show up in India and take whatever comes my way. There is a very good chance that this is the dumbest idea ever.

When I tell people that have been to India or actually are Indian about the Rickshaw Run the conversation inevitably goes this way:

Previous traveler to India (PTI): South America to India, that’s an odd route. Why are you going to India?

Me (muttering and staring at my shoes): Well, see, I’m doing this thing called the Rickshaw Run where I drive a motorized rickshaw from Jaisalmer in the north of India to Kochi in the south. It’s sort of like a race except no one wins. But it’s for a good cause. I have two teammates and we’re raising money for charity.

PTI: Wait. Hold up. YOU are driving a rickshaw through India? Like, you don’t have a driver? You’re driving yourself?

Me:  That is correct.

PTI: Whoa. I. Uhhh. Wow. Wow. I just don’t know what to say. (Long pause) Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself in to?

Me: No, no idea.

PTI: Well, it’s just… Man. There’s no place like India. You can’t imagine it. The roads, the pollution, the chaos. There are cows everywhere. They’re all over the streets. You have to look out for the cows!

Me: I like cows.

cows and rickshaw copy

At this point the conversation usually grinds to a halt and the person I’ve been talking with walks away shaking his or her head as if to say, that girl is completely off her rocker.

Every once in awhile, though, I find someone who is absolutely in love with India and so incredibly pumped for me that their enthusiasm fills me like a helium balloon. I walk away from those interactions excited. Those are the people that save me. I am scared out of my mind.

Follow Team Namaste Outta My Way 

The Rickshaw Run begins on January 1, 2013. My teammates, Hannah, Sarah, and I are going to try our best to write about the adventure in real-time on our blog The Rickshaw Run Diaries. If you’d like to follow along you can visit the site and sign up for email updates.

Our website: www.rickshawrundiaries.com

Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RickshawRunDiaries

On twitter: https://twitter.com/RRDiaries

We have no idea what our chances of finding good Internet access will be, but we are going to do everything we can to update our site at least once a day. I will also try to update So Many Places as often as possible.

Help us reach our fundraising goal. It’s for a good cause!

We’ve set a goal to raise 2,000 pounds ($3,200 dollars) for FRANK Water and we are soooo close. FRANK Water is a clean-water charity that sets up sustainable, community-owned clean water projects in some of the poorest communities in India. We’ve raised 82 percent of our goal so far. Will you help us reach 100%?

Any little bit helps. Please dig deep and donate here.

To those of you who have already donated THANK YOU. Your support and encouragement mean so much to us and we promise to bravely putter through India in honor of you.

Thank you to our sponsors

I’m excited to announce that Hostelbookers has signed on as an official sponsor of Team Namaste Outta My Way. Hostelbookers is the only independent hostel booking site that has no booking fees. With youth hostels and cheap hotels in over 3,500 destinations worldwide, Hostelbookers aim is to be the number one website for backpackers and student travel.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the wonderful companies that are sponsoring team Namaste Outta My Way and helping to make this wild adventure possible: Hostelbookers, WimduKEEN, Atlas Cruises and Tours and Sykes Cottages.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Hodson December 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

Very fun stuff and great company to work with — if you want a follow-up adventure in May, you can do the Ultimate Train Challenge with us then. Would love to have you in on it — shoot me an email if you want to discuss it.

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OurLifeExperiments December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

Ooohh Ultimate Train Challenge! That sounds fun, very Amazing Race-ish. I just realized you live in Fayetteville, Arkansas! That’s where we’re from. What a small world, to meet on a fellow traveler’s blog like this! :o)

Maria

P.S. Kim, you rock. I just felt like saying that.

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Marco Fiori December 16, 2012 at 9:03 am

Oh, incredible. Best of luck and try not to run over too many cows!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thanks Marco. We will try to avoid them!

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Michele C December 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

We are so excited for you and can’t wait to follow your progress! You’ll be in the company of amazing women. Trust your gut and have fun! I can’t wait to see what adventures unfold. :)

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

Thank you Michele! I am starting to get really excited. We will keep our guts finely tuned for sure :)

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Hannah December 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Don’t worry honey, I read the emails they send, and have a vague idea what we are letting ourselves in for, and let me tell you, we are going to have the time of our lives!!! I can’t wait to see you Kimbo, get ready for one hell of an adventure! Lots of love xxxxx

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

Yay. Thank God for you Hannah :)

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Sarah Somewhere December 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Kim! I felt similarly before I arrived in India. When we were in Mexico I almost put it out of my mind, and when I did think of it, I was numb. Now that I’m here, I am so goddamm excited that I could set off tomorrow quite happily! CAN’T WAIT for you guys to get here.

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

It makes me so happy to hear you say that Sarah. I just can’t wait to meet you girls in person.

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Tyrhone December 17, 2012 at 2:56 am

As a complete guess, and probably totally incorrect, I would say India is one of the only places in the world where people out number livestock. So no need to worry about cows, just pedestrians, and when I say pedestrians, I mean people who think the road is as good a place as any to walk :)

Seriously though, I think you guys are going to have one hell of an adventure, and that’s what travelling is about.

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

Yes, absolutely. It is what traveling is all about.

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Carmel December 17, 2012 at 8:07 am

At least Hannah and Sarah are familiar with India. You’ll be fine (I say this from my very non-adventurous high horse…)

Seriously though, read something about where you’re going. I’m sure you’ll like it. And give both of them hugs for me!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

I will give them both hugs for sure! As for the reading…

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Cam @ Traveling Canucks December 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

Sounds like an epic adventure! Have fun, and remember to breathe… India can be quite overwhelming at times, but the people mean well and it will likely be the highlight of your RTW adventure!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thanks guys. Will definitely be doing a lot of breathing to calm myself… we will survive. I think it will be a highlight too :)

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Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5 December 17, 2012 at 9:19 am

I think the adventure through India sounds wonderfully terrifying :)

You will all figure it out together and I am already anticipating the fabulous stories you will have to share!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:41 am

Thanks Caroline. “Wonderfully terrifying” are about the same words I’ve used. I can’t wait (or can I?)

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Kelly December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Kim are you guys going to decorate your rickshaw?

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Sarah Somewhere December 20, 2012 at 2:53 am

We sure are!!! Stand by for the video of that. We have submitted a design in team colours and have flower garlands at the ready!!! (Sorry Kim, just thought I’d jump in on that one!)

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

Yep, what Sarah said! We’ve got a beautiful design that Hannah made.

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Aurora December 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I agree with the comments above…. it’s not the cows to worry about….. it’s everything else in the road!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

Oh, I’m worried about it all!

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Rhonda December 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Great post Kim! Never fear, India may, in fact, be best just throwing yourself into the chaos! I just read Hannah and Sarah’s latest posts and am drooling with envy that you, too, will be in Goa soon!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

Brian and I have decided that you and Jim must come visit us in India! Also, I am sooooo excited for your adventure. I could spend years in South America. You guys are going to have the time of your life.

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Pamela December 18, 2012 at 5:35 am

It will be a great adventure! I can’t wait to read more about it!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

Thanks Pamela!

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

Do what we do: Feel the fear and do it anyway!!

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

I’m trying my best!

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Holly December 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm

my first thought was Kelly’s – how are you decorating your vehicle? Maybe as a cow, so you can blend in.

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

Oh, we’re decorating it! But it will look less like a cow and more like the logo on our blog. But we’ll pimp it out for sure. That will be a fun part :)

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Ben December 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Best of luck! I must have missed it, but is Brian going to India too? Does not sound like there is room for him in the ricksaw.

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

Yes, Brian is going to India too but he will have his own Indian adventure while I’m on the rickshaw :) I’m trying to convince him to write about it on the blog!

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Tom December 19, 2012 at 12:54 am

Wow! please do post lots of pics of the scenery! I’d def wanna do something like this if it has great views.

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Kim December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

We will definitely be posting lots of pics here and at our other blog: http://www.rickshawrundiaries.com.

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Yixin December 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi Kim,

Good luck on the rickshaw run! Just wanted to ask, did you get your Brazilian visa while traveling through South America or while you were in the US? In which country did you obtain the Brazilian visa? We are currently in Chile, and are currently toying with the idea of heading to Brazil. Have a great New Year!

Best,

Yixin

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Kim December 28, 2012 at 6:38 am

Hi Yikin,

We got our Brazilian visas in Argentina. We went to the office in Iguazu. We turned in paperwork on Monday and we picked our visas up the next day at 11 a.m. The process was very easy. Let me know if you have other questions.

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nomenclator February 27, 2013 at 9:07 am

You made an error in the link above, to “our website” and clicking on the link brings up an error message. Apparently you intended the address be http://rickshawrundiaries.com/, but you made a spelling error in the html markup for the address (you left out an “i”) and so people are sent to http://www.rickshawrundiares.com instead of to http://www.rickshawrundiaries.com

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Kim February 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Thank you, I fixed it!

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