Rohan Sadadekar worked in a well-paying corporate IT job for 6 years, but didn’t really love what he was doing there. His mind was wandering, and he wanted to travel – so he planned for few years, quit his job and took a year off with his girlfriend Sharayu to travel India. Though I have primarily spoken to Rohan about his journey and career transition, Sharayu is an important part of this journey and his life. I’ll elaborate that in the second part, but let me start at the beginning; as they say, a very good place to start…
The beaten track & off-roading
Rohan comes from a middle-class, relatively conservative Maharashtrian family. His father worked with an automobile company in PCMC area whereas his mother worked with a large FMCG electronics company. Rohan did his engineering in Information Technology (IT) on his father’s insistence, but he has always been interested in arts, travel, world cinema and so on. After his engineering, he decided to pursue his interest in film making and studied cinematics in Mumbai. After trying his hands at film editing and making few short films for some time there, he realized that it was not working out. He decided to come back to Pune to take up a regular Job.
Rohan began his corporate career with a job in call center in 2011, but he was soon tired of its monotony. He moved to another organization in 2012 where his role was more about understanding finance, and bringing value to the organization with his soft skills. He learnt about dealing with accounts receivable there and spent nearly three years in this organization. During this time he also started a small venture to print mugs and t-shirts, but given its small-scale and customization efforts – it wasn’t lucrative at that time. He decided to close that venture.
By the end of 2015, Rohan moved to one of the bigger corporates in Pune and was an expert in his field with his excellent negotiation skills, something that helps him immensely even today. Around 2015, Rohan also learnt photography formally from Devdatta Kashalikar, which has become his preferred way of expression now. He was also actively involved in his other pursuits, right from watching world cinema to trekking around Sahyadris and Himalayas. During one such trek, he met Sharayu, who became his best friend and later joined him for his year-long travel in late 2017. Sharayu worked as a software developer in a small Pune based organization.
Interestingly, as Rohan recalls, his aspirations initially revolved mostly around materialistic possessions, his goals included owning a Honda Civic and a trip to Australia (Yes, travel was always there). Things however changed gradually with time, his perceptions and aspirations changed as well. He mentions two influences – one is Walter Chang and his famous short video: We Call This Home – 3 Years Around the World Travel and the other is legendary The Motorcycle Diaries of Che Guevara. Rohan recalls one of the ideas he was fascinated with from Guevara‘s life –
I did not know where my next piece of bread would come from!
~ Attributed to: Che Guevara
Travel has always been close to Rohan’s heart, and he remains a true wanderer even today. By end of 2015, he was fascinated by the idea of taking a year off to travel the world. He started exploring his options and started planing accordingly. He also asked Sharayu if she would be willing to accompany him during his one-year travel, she was intrigued but since she hadn’t travelled much at that time, she was apprehensive.
Rohan’s parents had their own doubts and concerns about one such travel. Initially they didn’t take him seriously, but early 2017 Rohan started working out his travel plan meticulously and seeing his determination, his parents knew that they can’t hold him back. Sharayu’s parents however were reluctant and didn’t want to send her since their plan was way too adventurous (or dangerous?) for her traditional family and they both were not even married at that time. Rohan used all his negotiation skills to convince her parents and even had to get his own family talk to her family to convince. Finally, her parents agreed as well, though Rohan recalls that Sharayu’s mother was asking her to rethink as they were about to board their first train from Pune. 🙂
Rohan quit his job in Oct 2017 and their journey was supposed to begin on 5th Nov 2017. Sharayu also left her software job. Six months before their travel were frantic – they made their plans as per festivals around India in the respective states. They also wanted to promote Swachh Bharat (Clean India) mission in their travel, though Rohan & Sharayu both clarify that they didn’t want any political affiliation. They were both keen on clean and Eco-friendly living and wanted to carry that message throughout India.
Despite exploring travel possibilities in great details, most of their plans were flexible though – they had only booked few travels and had decided not use any hotels for their stay. They wanted to backpack around India and they decided to stay with the natives in their own homes. They had found some contacts through their friends and family, and for other stays they relied heavily on Couchsurfing Travel App – it has become Rohan’s favourite app while travelling. In fact he jokingly says that he should be made its brand ambassador given all the publicity he has done for them! 😛
By the way, do you know how much money they had planned to spend for the entire one-year long travel? One lac rupees each – yes that’s right. Just ₹ 100,000 each (under 1500 USD) and their travel was self-funded. This sounds incredible, but they have managed to complete their entire travel within that budget. Obviously, when accommodations are not planned during travel, one has to be prepared to adjust to any situation, and they did exactly that. It is incredulous what all they have managed to do in that one year. They started their journey on 5th Nov 2017 and completed it on 4th Nov 2018 – they referred to this journey as India 365. During this one year, they travelled 40,000 kilometers, 200 towns and three countries, including Nepal and Myanmar besides India.
Second part: The wanderers concludes this story.
The featured image:
The featured image shows Rohan Sadadekar in his photography exhibition in Pune, India. All the photographs in this article have been provided by Rohan himself.