Why I Drove Across India in a Glorified Lawnmower — —

Along with rethinking business strategies to assist your organization thrive, the brand new yr is a perfect time to evaluate your private journey and resolve which bucket-list gadgets to pursue.

When you’re the adventurous kind (we see you, EOers!), take inspiration from Matt Haney of EO Minnesota. In 2022, Matt and his Discussion board-mate, Riley Harlan, accomplished a Rickshaw Run throughout India. We requested Matt all about it. Right here’s what he shared:

What’s the Rickshaw Run?

The Adventurists website describes the Rickshaw Run like this: “Think about your self and a few mates squashed right into a 1 donkey-power rolling cake tin tackling hundreds of miles of old-school journey. There’s no set route, no backup, and no method of understanding should you’re going to make it. The one certainty is that you just will get misplaced, you will get caught and also you will break down.”

Matt: The glorified lawnmower we drove throughout India was an auto rickshaw (or “tuk-tuk” or “auto” as they’re typically known as). It’s an open-air car with three wheels, a 7-horsepower engine and high speeds of around 35mph (perhaps quicker when going downhill).

The Rickshaw Run is a loosely organized journey by which groups of two or three individuals tackle the two-week problem of navigating a tuk-tuk from one finish of India to the opposite, with no set route, counting on the kindness of strangers alongside the best way.

That’s the journey we signed up for, and we loved (nearly) each minute of it.

What impressed your current Rickshaw Run?

Matt: I found the Rickshaw Run throughout a random YouTube rabbit gap, perhaps 10 years in the past. And it drove me to obsession! Covid and shedding family members throughout the pandemic impressed me to get busy dwelling. Fortunately, Riley Harlan (fellow Discussion board mate) was prepared to affix me on the journey.

Riley: It began out as a method for me to check the enterprise I constructed to see if it might handle with out me for 3 weeks, whereas having fun with an superior journey. As soon as I used to be there, nonetheless, we kicked off the journey by assembly some nice EO Kerala members, who have been extremely welcoming. Over the course of the journey, we met many fantastic locals who have been extremely beneficiant, in addition to different adventurers from all over the world who have been additionally collaborating within the Run. 

Please share the small print of the Rickshaw Run.

We began in Fort Kochi, Kerala and completed in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan—that’s greater than 4,000 kilometers (nearly 2,500 miles). There have been no guidelines, simply a place to begin and a end line. It was 100% as much as the individuals to search out the best way from begin to end.

We got a rudimentary instrument equipment and fundamental upkeep directions on the rickshaw that required screenshots for future reference. Points with the tuk-tuk have been frequent, however we solely had one major breakdown: a blown head gasket that sidelined us for the higher a part of a day. We additionally skilled constant, persistent points reminiscent of clogged gasoline filters and a clogged carburetor. 

Highlights of our two-week journey throughout India:

  • Discovering ourselves on their lonesome on the yet-to-be-opened Mumbai Expressway. We drove two hours on a six-lane superhighway with zero site visitors!
  • Driving 4,000+ kilometers and solely six site visitors lights.
  • A harrowing descent right into a forest with a whole bunch of monkeys crowding our rickshaw, quietly watching us, attempting to pressure us to cease as we slowly and eerily drove by!

The Rickshaw Run is an endurance check—the one winners are the finishers.  There’s a Survivors’ Celebration on the end line. However the journey alongside the best way is the large win. 

Did you select the colour and design of your rickshaw?

The Rickshaw Run permits every group to pimp their rickshaw by submitting a design that’s painted onto it. Since Riley and I are in the identical Discussion board, we thought it could be enjoyable to incorporate the EO Minnesota emblem.

The design was a blast to determine. We chose colors that have been an homage to Prince, as was the Prince guitar on the entrance. Festina Lente is the identify of our Discussion board, which aptly interprets to “Make haste, slowly”. The turtle with the sail is the visible illustration of Festina Lente.

My favourite half was the identify we got here up with for our rickshaw: Rocinante—the identify of Don Quixote’s horse. Wikipedia describes him finest: In some ways, Rocinante is just not solely Don Quixote’s horse, but in addition his double; like Don Quixote, he’s awkward, previous his prime, and engaged in a activity past his capacities.

Is the Rickshaw Run a fundraiser?

The Rickshaw Run requires that every group have a charity. We raised US$5,200 for native Minneapolis small companies alongside Lake Avenue by way of the Lake Street Business Council. We wished to create consciousness and present solidarity with the Minneapolis entrepreneurial neighborhood, which was devastated by each Covid and the 2020 civil unrest.

What stunned you most about your complete expertise?

The individuals! The native individuals we met alongside the best way have been completely superb. Each single day, individuals would ask us to drag over for a selfie, invite us for a chai, and even to cease for lunch. Each single day, and a number of instances per day! It was unbelievably fantastic. 

We additionally related with EO Kerala members, who got here out to help and encourage us, which was implausible. On the evening earlier than we began in Kochi, we met Rohan Mammen, Rajeev Tharian, Mathew Mazhuvanchery, Issac Alexander and Sonu Vaidyan from EO Kerala South. Then, after the primary day of driving, we have been excited to satisfy new pals from EO Kerala North in Calicut: Vineeth Abraham, Zinekhar Ahmed, Nasly Mohamed, Varghese Alukka, Reshma Varghese, Ashique Tahir, and Vinay Kynadi from EO Kerala North. Our EO connection made the journey extra significant.

Alongside our route, we took benefit of Taj Inns being an EO sponsor and received a 15% low cost in any respect Taj properties, which coincidentally resulted in September 2022 on the finish of our Run.  In order that labored out.  We stayed at many Taj properties, most notably the Taj Palace Udaipur.

Did you achieve any entrepreneurial insights from this journey?

Matt: Sure! I discovered that I will be away from my enterprise for 3 weeks and that all the pieces was high quality, if not higher, with out my presence or interplay

Riley: There was no choice whereas driving to be something however centered on the journey, one thing we hardly ever do. The evenings have been crammed with exhaustion, but in addition nice alternatives to get to know individuals from everywhere in the world.

Would you do it once more?

Matt: Sure, please!!! How typically in life do you get to shed your calendar, depend on the kindness of strangers, and troubleshoot within the second—all whereas open-air careening down roads that have been fully unknown to us for 14 straight days? It was superb! And it makes all different modes of journey appear boring.  

Riley: I sit up for doing it once more—and hopefully involving extra EOers by way of a MyEO Group I plan to determine.

Matt Haney, an EO Minnesota member, is founder and CEO of Universal Network Solutions, which offers Cybersecurity managed companies. To listen to extra in regards to the Rickshaw Run journey, view Matt’s appearance on Rudy Maxa’s World and take a look at the Festina Lente Rickshaw Run Instagram account.

Riley Harlan, an EO Minnesota member, is the CEO of Symtec, an engineering agency that designs and manufactures specialised merchandise and elements for the marine, powersports, E-bike, agriculture, medical and E-vehicle industries.

For extra insights and inspiration from right this moment’s main entrepreneurs, take a look at EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO blog

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