It’s a New Year resolution with a difference.
Sachin Bhandary, a 32-year-old public relations executive from Mumbai, has quit his job and launched a crowdfunding initiative that will take him to 12 countries, where he will confront 12 of his fears, one each at each destination every month over the coming year.
Bhandary calls it ‘The 12 Project’ and his aim — aside from breaking free of the rut he was in and challenging himself — is to inspire others to follow his motto: Travel is the best teacher.
On Monday, Bhandary launched a crowdfunding initiative through his website theoddtraveller.in, to raise funds for his journeys. His target is Rs12 lakh or $20,000, and he has already collected $1,025 from donors that include friends, relatives and strangers. He plans to end the crowdfunding campaign on January 3.
As for the journey itself, Bhandary will start off by facing a domestic fear and journeying on Indian long-distance trains.
He will then search for stories of Tamil-Sinhala friendship in Sri Lanka; go rock-climbing in Thailand; overcome his fear of the sea by learning how to surf in Chile; and his fear of diving by exploring the underwater world in Costa Rica
He will also train in salsa in Cuba and overcome his resistance to cooking by learning how to make Mexican food. He also plans to walk through mountains for a month with a French friend in Peru and conduct research on the drug trade in Colombia.
“Everyone tells me it’s dangerous, but I am fascinated by these things,” he said.
The last leg of the journey will involve cycling from New Orleans to New York, where Bhandary will try his hand at stand-up comedy.
A number of companies have come forward, too, to help Bhandary in kind. Toastmasters International, a global non-profit leadership organisation, is helping Bhandary find accommodation with its members. Digital agency Flarepath is managing Bhandary’s campaign free of cost.
“Things built out of passion are the only ones that are successful,” says Flarepath founder Saurabh Kanwar, 40. “Bhandary’s campaign is creating a community of passionate travellers, with a message to explore the world without packaged tours and guides. That’s a good message to spread.”
His donors are hoping to live his experiences vicariously, as he posts in real time on his website and on social networking sites.
“I donated because it will give me the feeling of travelling with him,” says Amit Kumar, 38, a public-speaking coach who found out about the campaign through Facebook. “It was my way of encouraging somebody who had the guts to do what so many of us want to — leave our jobs and travel the world with a mission.”
You can contribute too on the website theoddtraveller.in. “All expenditure on the project will be transparent and updated on the website on a monthly basis for all to see,” Bhandary said.