Yeh Meri Family

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One of my aunts flew to India yesterday. She lives in the US. Last night, she asked me about my upcoming Kenya trip. I excitedly told her about going to the Masai Mara, and hopefully witnessing the Wildebeest Migration. She casually remarked that I should head from Kenya to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, after my trip.

Me: What’s that?
Aunt: “Oh it’s the largest inactive, unbroken volcanic caldera in the world. About 30,000 animals live inside and none of them can come out of it. It has its own eco system.
Me: Sounds fantastic! You been there?
Aunt: Aah yes, we …

I’m amazed at her stories. She is 71 years old. She has gone on multiple treks (carrying her own backpack), does deep sea dives, has done cave diving in the dark. No, she isn’t an adventurer by profession. She is a very decorated doctor. Once she was showing me pictures and videos of Antarctica with penguins walking all over her feet!!

On weekends or holidays, she and her husband pick up a tents, put it in their van, and go camping in the woods. Even at 70, she is talking of trekking in Nepal, Peru and more.

One of my closest cousins, Bhavna, is a wild life conservationalist. Right after college, she joined this Wildlife NGO, who’s aim is to protect tigers. When we meet, she shares casual stories of living in the forest of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh with tribal for months in summer, spotting tigers and leopards every other day, falling off an elephant’s back while leading an expedition, and more.

Another cousin, Naveen, is the most non chalant person in the world. He went up Stok Kangri (a 20,000 feet plus mountain) as if it was a stroll, bicycles 10-15 kms to office every day in Bangalore and then bicycled all across Bhutan, has been to 50-60 countries and says it as if it was a walk to the Kirana store.

None of them spend time on social media. When they do, they hardly mention, leave alone glamourise, any of these stories.

I am used to people telling me they love listening to my adventures. Truth be told, I am not even the coolest, second coolest or even third coolest traveller in my family.

I guess I don’t even need to look outside my fam to get inspired 🙂

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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