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26-year-old biking solo across India to collect smiles

Published On : 05 Oct 2017   |  Reported By : Rons Bantwal

Mumbai, Oct .05: She left from her home in Koyambedu, Chennai, on April 9 on a motorbike, and aims to vroom her way through all states and capitals of India. 26-year-old Radhika Rao, a freelance photographer by profession, is riding solo in this trip, where she says she wants to collect as many pictures as she can of 'smiling people.'

"I've been wanting to take this trip since two years but people kept discouraging me. They said I'm too thin, or I'll not be able to do it. But six months back, I again decided that I want to capture the journey and the culture of different people through my camera. I call it 'Peace through smiles', and I mingle with people to photograph happiness. Maybe I'll hold an exhibition of these photos once I get back home," she says.

Rao plans to first make her way to the east before monsoon starts and then head north, followed by a trip to west of India and finally down south. Her bike, a Bajaj Avenger, has GPS and a charger installed, helping her select routes. She plans to bike every day for about 250 kms, from 6am to 6pm. "I am only carrying the essentials — four pair of clothes, air pump, medicines, etc" she says.

She has collected over 1000 photos till now, and admits that she is also eyeing to make a record for capturing maximum photos in a single journey. She has been documenting this trip on her Facebook page titled 'Carefree Vagabond', which has over 250 followers. When asked about her parents' reaction, she says, "My parents were excited when they heard about my plan. They saw the seriousness with which I was involved in this. My father works in IT, while my mother works with the central government. They know many people across India, so they were relatively assured. Moreover, I'm being supported by Bajaj Avengers Club, who has members spread all over, and have promised help in finding places to stay." Her budget for the trip is about 6 lakh, which she has raised with help from her family and friends.

Rao typically eats wherever she can find a decent place, parks her luggage at someone's home or in a hotel, and then goes around the place with her camera. She also practices yoga in order to keep her back healthy.

Rao has always been into sports and adventure, and has been featured in a show called 'Bicycle diaries' with her friends.


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