Rhyme of an ancient mariner – Neeraj Gwalani – Solo Traveler

Tell us something about yourself and your background

A Merchant Navy Officer by profession and an explorer by passion, I was born and brought up in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan where I finished my schooling and then headed to Indore for College. After 4 years of studies I got placed in a commercial vehicle manufacturing company Eicher Motors where I worked for 3 years. I used to travel a bit for work in the country, visiting suppliers and other vendors but always looked for something else in life. Meanwhile, I saw an opening in a local Radio Channel where I applied for an RJ. After a couple of auditions, I was given a show for movie reviews and I was happy to do something new in life. By mid 2009, I decided to quit everything and prepare to join Merchant Navy, was lucky to get selected and a new chapter of my life started. Today, I am a 2nd Mate on foreign going ships and travel around the globe to cater needs of different countries’ cargo requirements. From steel slabs to cars, barley hops to beers, crude oil to jet fuel everything is transported thru sea. Travelling is my Bread and Butter now.

How many countries and Indian states have you travelled?
27 countries and 11 Indian states

Any interesting travel moment or incidence:

Solo bike ride for ‘ROAD SAFETY’ from Chittorgarh –Indore- Shirdi- Mumbai- Pune – Nasik – Chittorgarh.(Published in Rajasthan Patrika)
Solo bike ride for ‘Cashless India’ from Chittorgarh – Pushkar- Bikaner- Jaisalmer- Longewala – Jodhpur- Nathdwara- Chittorgarh.
During the cashless India ride to Jaisalmer, in a village named Sam, no body would accept card and I had to pawn down my watch at a fuel station to get petrol so I could ride to next village Ramgarh, where they had an ATM.

Tell us about your fears and anxieties when traversing solo. How you keep them at bay?
I prefer riding during the day light. Riding solo in the night is ok but it scares me to have a flat tyre at 2 am in the forests of Gir.
Nothing else scares me, until I have my phone charged.

What’s your favourite travel quote?
Where do we go now ??!!

What’s the strangest thing you tried on your travelling days?
Skydiving in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Any travel tips for the readers?
Read for scams in __________(name of the place) before you visit it.
Keep your phone/ power bank charged at all times.
Do not accept drinks from strangers. Haha ! they might be spiked.
Stay calm, even in worst of situations. Cheers!!