Cherishing every mile

Cherishing every mile

It is said that the more you work, the more luck you will have. Motorbike rider Candida Louis vouches for this.

After quitting a full-time MNC job, Candida embarked on a journey to pursue her passion.
She won a number of online competitions soon and now has the distinction of having ridden through ten countries in five continents so far.

"I was riding in South Africa with friends when I won a competition in the US. While there, I was also selected for 'The Change Your World Fund', organised by ConserVentures and the family of Alistair Farland, a young rider who died while he was doing a world trip on a motorbike. This fund selects four young travellers from different parts of the world and funds a trip for them every alternate year. As part of that, I will be doing a big trip next year - maybe riding from India to Australia," she says.

"While in the US, I also won a competition by Xbhp to ride in Australia, a competition that was held online. The US one was a photo competition while for the Australia ride, one had to answer a simple question like 'A ride that has got you out of your comfort zone and made you #loveToCruise'?

Candida is currently in Cambodia as part of the 'Do Good As You Go' initiative. "Instead of just riding, this organisation wants us to help the society in our own way, while doing what we love".

As part of this, I will be riding with a team for 3 weeks through remote villages in Cambodia, distributing laptops to the children there and teaching them how to use them."

When asked how it all started, the gutsy lady replies, "I have been riding for 11 years now. I got into riding because of my dad and my friends. He would take me to different places on the bike. I started as a pillion rider but I always knew I wanted to be on the front seat. He gave me a bike on one of my birthdays and from then onwards, its been great."

"One good thing is that my parents have always been very supportive. In the beginning, they tried to tell me that I had a good job and I should not quit it to become a full-time
rider but once I actually proved to them that I could do something in the biking field, they encouraged me to pursue this," she recollects.

Her first solo bike ride was from Hubli to Bengaluru, when she was shifting to the city. Her biggest solo ride spanned a period of seven months, in which she covered 32,000 km and 22 states of India. "In 2015, I took a sabbatical of three months and completed part of the ride. After I got a taste of the freedom and independence that being on a bike offered me, I knew I could never go back to a desk job. I came back, resigned, served the notice period and then went back on the road for four months."

Candida now works at 'Byond Travel' and leads bike tours to different parts of the world.

Isn't safety a concern though? "I have ridden all over India and nothing untoward has happened. People are curious and want to know what exactly you are doing and will go on staring. But other than this, everyone was very helpful. I did not face any difficulties," she avers.

When asked about her favourite city to ride through, she laughs. "I don't have any favourites because I loved every place that I went to during those seven months. Every place had a story to tell. If I liked a place during my ride, I would just stay on and spend 6-7 days there. Places like Gurez, Varkala, Udaipur and Spiti Valley remain etched in my memory."

Contrary to what most people say, Candida says that her rides, both domestic and international, helped her realize how small the world was.

"At random places, I would meet someone who would be connected to me in some way. They would know someone whom I know, or they would be from my city etc. When I was in a remote village, I met this guy at a small tea shop who asked me why I was riding alone and so far away from home. When I told him I was doing a pan-India trip, he asked me if I would be willing to talk to someone over the phone. The person in question was an Army officer who loved biking too."

"I agreed. The person called the Army officer and said there is someone who wants to talk to you. He handed the phone to me and I introduced myself and told him what I was doing. Then he asked me to repeat my name and asked me if I was the same Candida who wrote blogs. I said yes I was. The man got quite excited and told me he and his son used to read my blogs and that they were very inspired by what I wrote. It made me realize that human beings were much more connected than they imagined."

Now doing what she loves every single second of the day, Candida says she feels quite grateful for having made it so far.

"From my rides, I have learned to cherish every single moment. Like they say, life is too short and you should do what you love. I want to add to this and say that you should also work hard to be able to do what you love."

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