Why are we living, and what are we living for? “Because we cannot die,” says 25-year-old Hyderabadi Abhitej Boda, who travelled all over India, in search of life, without a single penny.
With a few basic things such as clothes, sleeping bag and toiletry in his backpack, the young traveller travelled for 522 days with a number of random conversations. Being a graduate in photography from JNAFAU, Abhitej terms his travel as creative travelling. He travelled across the 29 States, and says, “It was more like experimenting a new dimension of life through life to life.”
A creative person not just with his selection of subjects in graduation, but also in life, Abhitej seeks answers. He started his journey to find the meaning of life. “We are social animals who take birth, live, reproduce and die; we forget to live,” says the young freelance photographer.
Like every parent, Abhitej’s parents didn’t approve of his idea. “It took more than two months to convince my parents. Meanwhile, I experimented in the outskirts of the city if I could live without money. However, it failed since I was with my friends, and nobody was willing to stop for a bunch of people,” says the man who began his journey at the age of 22.
“I first reached Delhi, and stayed with my friend. He gave me a metro card so that I could return home everyday wherever I was. I continued this journey for a while; every day I used to visit new places without using any money or keeping in contact with anybody. Once I was sure of travelling cashless, I began my journey from Sikkim, where my friends dropped me,” recalls Abhitej whose sole purpose of travelling cashless was to explore himself, and “not believe in money which came into existence only 400 years ago”.
He enjoyed talking to strangers, making new friends, and what impressed him the most is people with whom he spent time with provided shelter and food for him. “My only goal during the travel was to survive. I met people from all age groups. Though most of them welcomed me home, there were still times when I slept on roads, footpaths, railway stations, bus stands, beside security guards at ATM centres, and everywhere, while food was another challenge,” says Abhitej who travelled airways from Vizag to Bengaluru on 521st day when one of his stranger friends from Sikkim booked him a ticket.
Despite these challenges, Abhitej never lost his hope, without a smartphone and camera, he still managed to click wonderful pictures wherever he travelled. “Gaining trust is what matters here. People in north are friendly, and, if they are travellers, it is even easier. I used to handover all my belongings and asked them for their phone.
From there, I captured whatever I wanted and copied them to my memory cards which I carried along with USBs,” says the guy who was even gifted a keypad phone by a policeman, which he lost in his journey.
Covering all the corners of the country, Abhitej came back and started posting pictures with the hashtag #missioncashlesstravel. He also started documenting stories which he wrote during his travel, and plans to bring out a book, and also exhibit his travel diaries through photos, things and experiences. When asked about his future travel plans, he signs off with, “One down, 194 more.”He further says, “Despite being the second most dynamic State of our country, Telangana lacks tourism culture. We should have a travel hub.”
- 43,000 km
- 522 days
- 4,000 km by foot
- Hitchhiked 1,500 different vehicles
- Stayed in around 150 homes
- 7 months in Himalayan range
- 125 days in Northeast