mixigo’s 3rd edition saw a number of backpacking enthusiasts and backpacking gurus getting together under the dense tree grove of Roots Cafe and swapping one fascinating and hair-raising tale after another. With its niche focus on Backpacking across India, the idea behind this particular meetup was to get the backpacking fundamentals right from the best possible person this side of the urban jungle, Akshay Chhugani- a dyed-in-the-wool backpacker who also runs his own backpacking company, the Indian Backpacker, that guides others, especially expats, on the fine essentials on backpacking in India.
Set in Leisure Valley park, Gurgaon, there couldn’t have been a better venue to discuss adventure, swap travel stories and make travel plans (yes, 2 voyages were planned right there) than the dense thicket of Roots Cafe’s grove area. With plenty of tangy nimbu panni to beat the afternoon heat, the meet was set off with Akshay talking about how backpacking is different from traveling and vacationing in general. What sets it apart is essentially its budgeted nature and the determination to explore & experience the destination rather than on superficial sightseeing.
Things like what to pack and what not to in the backpack, how to optimize your backpack’s volume capacity and even then leave enough space to put in stuff you acquire along your journey were emphasized on. Portable water filters, whistles and dynamo (small) torches make the essentials tool kit of a backpacker along with disinfectants and sanitizers.
Akshay stressed on the fact that not only one needs to be clear about what backpacking entails, but also be clear about one’s own intentions behind backpacking. Backpacking is all about being open to experiences and that includes staying in hostels, taking the budgeted class in Indian railways, sharing rooms and toilets and at the same time being careful and vigilant about one’s safety.
What followed was an engaging discussion on the varied experiences people have had whilst backpacking that eventually spilled over to the delicious buffet spread of poha, upma, vada and kheer, Roots Cafe had laid out.