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Kochi man walks, hitchhikes, cycles and rides to lift consciousness and funds for health-related causes

Vaishak Seetharam Dattani will take classes on easy methods to construct a solar-powered e-scooter. He’ll trip all of it the way in which to France from Kochi in 2025 as a part of the fourth ‘version’ of his private undertaking — Shores to Pinnacle.

From September 27 to November 22, 2023,  he walked 1,600 kilometres and hitchhiked 12,751 kilometres, making his method from Singapore to Sikkim (not on this order) in model three of his private undertaking and initiative to create consciousness about and lift funds for health-related causes. 

The September solo expedition by Vaishak, Head of Service Excellence, Aster DM Healthcare, was to create consciousness about ventricular septal defect (VSD) which impacts youngsters. His intention was to supply free cardiology remedy to 100 youngsters from underprivileged households. He explains the way it works, “Aster Volunteers is the CSR wing of Aster via which I used to be in a position to join with healthcare professionals within the North-East. I linked with hitchhiking communities exterior India through Fb in Thailand and Laos, so I used to be in a position to unfold the phrase amongst them. As a part of Heart2Heart Cares, an initiative of Aster Volunteers, for each 10,000 steps achieved by these registered with the initiative, Aster Volunteers donates ₹100 to help crucial surgical procedures of fifty underprivileged youngsters at Aster Hospitals.”

While on the road

Whereas on the highway
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Vaishak, 34, began the hike from Singapore, heading to Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. Whereas in Cambodia, nevertheless, circumstances modified. 

The journey turned out to be extra of an journey that he bargained for when, 14 days into the journey, he misplaced his passport, different identification papers and cash at Phnom Penh. A few scooter-borne thieves snatched his bag leaving solely his telephone with him. “Now once I look again, it looks as if an amazing expertise, although it didn’t really feel like that on the time. Fortunately I had my telephone however I don’t need to have to do this once more,” Vaishak says. Dropping one’s passport abroad comes with an enormous set of issues, he recollects. He wanted an exit visa which might, actually, be his passport out of Cambodia. The plan was to move to Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar earlier than hitting the North-East.   

Altering plans

Since he needed to fly out of Cambodia and return to India, as a result of misplaced passport, he accomplished his journey within the States within the North-East. He then headed to Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. “Throughout these 55 days, the expertise of my passport getting robbed to getting caught in Dawki Valley forest [in Meghalaya] for an entire night time with out cell community, the curfew in Manipur and the unrest in Myanmar triggered plan A to offer technique to plans B, C, D and altered routes. This was difficult because it paved the way in which for me to see and expertise greater than what I had deliberate, and in addition do far more than what I assumed my potential was,” he says. 

Vaishak Seetharam Dattani at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge

Vaishak Seetharam Dattani on the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge
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Since he was backpacking, he discovered lodging via connections he made through couchsurfing.com and postcrossing.com. [sending and receiving postcards from people across the world] moreover railway stations, hostels, and terraces of buildings. Vaishak refers to himself as a traveller reasonably than a vacationer.

“A traveller explores the highway much less travelled, having fun with the journey, exploring the tradition of a spot reasonably than confining oneself to ‘sightseeing’,” he says. He ‘wore’ the names of town he was headed to — an A4 sheet on his backpack — as he walked. Amongst those that gave him a elevate had been two-wheeler riders, truckers and as soon as a driver of a Mercedes Benz automotive. “In India, ready at dhabas for lengthy distance buses helps. In case you tip the motive force an honest quantity, he would allow you to decide a vacant seat,” he says. On a median, he coated 200 kilometres day by day. 

For a trigger

Vaishak’s first Shores to Pinnacle expedition was in 2021, in Sri Lanka when he cycled 1,311 kilometres in 10 days to assist elevate funds for the Authorities Most cancers Hospital . The expedition was in affiliation with the Karapitiya Oncology Basis and Sheraton Resorts. “The endeavour was to get oncologists from different non-public hospitals to pledge a go to to the outpatient wing of the hospital sooner or later a month for a yr. I acquired 30 docs to commit.” The classic two-wheeler aficionado, who owns a number of scooters and motorbikes, cycled the space on an authentic, ‘made in Italy’ 1982 Peugeot bicycle.  

Shores to Pinnacle 2.0 got here after he returned to India. This time round it focussed on educating Marriott Lodge staff on easy methods to elevate funds for leprosy-affected youngsters on the Kanchipuram-based Rising Star Outreach of India, which works with individuals affected by leprosy. Over 50 days, Vaishak coated 22 States on a 1965 Jawa motorbike, which led him to the bold third expedition. 

Recalling his bodily preparations for his hitchhiking expedition, he says, “I walked for 3 hours day by day, from February to September and I had solely breakfast and lunch, no dinner.” He travelled mild, had a pay as you go telephone, and forex was US {dollars}, “I had allotted $100 for every nation.” Though he had ready route maps upfront he needed to reroute on account of unexpected circumstances just like the one at Phnom Penh.   

Constructing a motorbike

The fourth version will concentrate on creating consciousness about psychological wellness, says the Kannur-born Lodge Administration graduate. Of calling his expeditions ‘shore to pinnacle’ he says, “The route map for my ‘journey for a trigger’ sequence has to this point began from the south of a rustic, ending within the north; secondly, the intention is to carry people to the head of their lives by serving to present them with what they want by way of higher well being and lives.”

For now he’s focussed on his subsequent journey. After he completes his on-line classes with TUV SUD, a certification, testing, auditing, inspection and coaching firm, Vaishak intends to intern on the diyguru.org, a Pune-based firm which can finetune the design and construct the scooter. “It ought to journey 120-odd kilometres a day and ought to be ‘pedal-able’,” he says. 

However isn’t it simpler to buy one? “No! If I construct it, I can restore it as effectively in case one thing malfunctions in the course of nowhere!”  

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