Exploring The Unexplored
Unconventional is Tejaswini Gopalaswamy’s middle name. From her unconventional business model that she successfully runs with former school mate and friend Gurdeep Ramakrishna, to her unconventional and largely self-sustained lifestyle, to her penchant for doing things on her own, this young go-getter, co-founder and partner in Unventured Expeditions is one of the new breed of entrepreneurs who has chosen to break away from the safe zone of a nine to five job and venture out on her own.
RITZ meets the spirited young lady who has chosen to promote fitness, eco-travel and love for nature through amazing cycling adventures
Unventured Expeditions was an idea that germinated when Tejaswini Gopalaswamy’s friend and partner Gurdeep Ramakrishna did a 550 km cycle trek from Manali to Leh. A marketer who worked in corporate America, Gurudeep had returned to India around 2009 and was passionate about pursuing his hobby of cycling and exploring different parts of India. “As an idea, our business was active for around four years before we finally took the plunge and floated the company in 2014,” tells Tejaswini, co-founder of Unventured Expeditions.
Along with her partners, the third of who is Jayanth, they have this far managed to get more than 220 travellers to tour various parts of the country with them on cycles. “I was enamoured by solo travel and have travelled to China, South Africa, Bhutan and Leh on my own. Cycling was not something I every planned to indulge in, nor was I a happy camper when I was coerced into it post a school reunion where I reconnected with Gurdeep,” tells Tejaswini. “He managed to drag me, kicking and screaming, all the way to Nandi Hills and I never imagined that post that, I too would do the 550 kms long trek between Manali and Leh in a saddle,” she adds with a laugh.
“We wanted to change the way people travelled, people should travel at a slower pace and assimilate as much of a place as possible. Monuments and sights are not the only things one must see when travelling. There are so many varied facets to experience – local culture, food, ambiance and experiences. They all make travel that much more enriching and exhilarating,” she says.
Through their cycling expeditions, Unventured Expeditions takes enthusiastic groups out on city tours, heritage tours in and around Bengaluru, longer expeditions out to Bhutan, Sikkim and Leh, island hopping in Goa, alongside the backwater rides in Aleppo and Kumarakom, a trip though the Western Ghats and a Spice Trail though Kerala and coastal Karnataka.
“We want to make people experience each place differently,” explains Tejaswini. The company has tied up with local partners in destinations where they take travellers on long haul tours. “If you’re doing Sikkim on saddle with us, we would fly into the local airport and then pick up our bicycles there. We don’t compel you to ride a fixed number of hours each day. If you want to sit out one day then you’re welcome to load your bike on the truck and ride along with the support vehicle and staff that accompanies us on every tour. It’s just that when you explore a new destination on a cycle, you tend to view the entire experience in new light,” explains Tejaswini.
Though the business is not one that’s making instant millionaires out of Gurudeep and Tejaswini, the duo are happy with the nominal amounts they earn and take more pleasure in the new experiences they are able to offer enthusiastic travellers. “For us it’s all about meeting new people, connecting with them, exploring new destinations, imparting a bit of learning on preserving the environment and surrounding ecology and advocating a new and more adventurous way of travel,” she says.“The profits and amount of money we make are not and never have been our primary focus.”
“It’s the thrill of cycling through the hills and valleys of Bhutan and exploring the pristine beaches of Andaman on a cycle that give us the adrenaline rush. It’s not the dollar signs ringing in the bank that do it for us,” she says, signing off.