Why I Drove Throughout 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 determine which bucket-list objects to pursue.

For those who’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 1000’s of miles of old-school journey. There’s no set route, no backup, and no method of realizing if you happen to’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 usually known as). It’s an open-air car with three wheels, a 7-horsepower engine and prime speeds of around 35mph (perhaps quicker when going downhill).

The Rickshaw Run is a loosely organized journey by which groups of two or three folks 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 way in which.

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 dropping family members in the course of the pandemic impressed me to get busy dwelling. Fortunately, Riley Harlan (fellow Discussion board mate) was prepared to hitch me on the journey.

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

Please share the main points 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 contributors to seek out the way in which from begin to end.

We got a rudimentary software equipment and primary upkeep directions on the rickshaw that required screenshots for future reference. Points with the tuk-tuk had been widespread, 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 similar to 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 visitors!
  • Driving 4,000+ kilometers and solely six visitors lights.
  • A harrowing descent right into a forest with a whole bunch of monkeys crowding our rickshaw, quietly gazing us, attempting to power us to cease as we slowly and eerily drove by!

The Rickshaw Run is an endurance take a look at—the one winners are the finishers.  There’s a Survivors’ Social gathering on the end line. However the journey alongside the way in which is the massive win. 

Did you select the colour and design of your rickshaw?

The Rickshaw Run permits every crew 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 will be enjoyable to incorporate the EO Minnesota emblem.

The design was a blast to determine. We chose colors that had 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 will not be solely Don Quixote’s horse, but in addition his double; like Don Quixote, he’s awkward, previous his prime, and engaged in a process past his capacities.

Is the Rickshaw Run a fundraiser?

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

What stunned you most about the complete expertise?

The folks! The native folks we met alongside the way in which had been completely wonderful. Each single day, folks would ask us to tug 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 great. 

We additionally related with EO Kerala members, who got here out to assist and encourage us, which was improbable. On the night time 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 had been excited to satisfy new associates 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 Lodges being an EO sponsor and bought 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 realized that I could be away from my enterprise for 3 weeks and that every little thing was nice, 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 not often do. The evenings had been full of exhaustion, but in addition nice alternatives to get to know folks from all around the world.

Would you do it once more?

Matt: Sure, please!!! How usually 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 had been totally unknown to us for 14 straight days? It was wonderful! And it makes all different modes of journey appear boring.  

Riley: I stay up for doing it once more—and hopefully involving extra EOers through a MyEO Group I plan to ascertain.

Matt Haney, an EO Minnesota member, is founder and CEO of Universal Network Solutions, which supplies Cybersecurity managed providers. 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 at this time’s main entrepreneurs, try EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO weblog