It is finally happening!
For the past few years I have been feeling increasingly guilty about not traveling closer to home. About not taking the time to experience the rich heritage of my home state, Tamil Nadu and her sister states Kerala and Karnataka.
Every year, I plan to do a trip around South India and every year I end up going to the Himalayas instead. It is cleaner, cooler, cheaper and more importantly l feel at home and at ease among the simple people who live there. Frankly, who wouldn't? Once you have gotten a taste of the mountains it is very hard to resist their lure.
But this year, due to a medical incident in the family, I have decided to spend more time close to home. And do the trip that I have been putting off for years. A time-lapse tour around Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has a lot of interesting subjects for my time-lapse videos. First there are the temples. Hundreds, even thousands of them. Temples in the cities, temples along the sea, on hill tops, in villages, mountains, forests etc. I could do a trip around the temples alone, but there is a lot more to the state than the temples.
Tamil Nadu has one of the longest coast lines (over 900km) in India, so it should have some pretty interesting beaches. I just have to find them. And then there is the Western Ghats. With the beautiful mountains and hills from my childhood like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Valparai and Palani. It is going to be great to go back to those places just for the nostalgic value alone.
The petrol bill alone would exceed my budget for the mountains. I will be driving approximately 3500 kilometres. At an average cost of 5Rs per km (my 15 year old car gives a mileage of 15km per litre), the fuel bill itself would be 17,500Rs. Not to mention any additional repair and maintenance costs.
I cannot avoid the fuel expense. But I can try to minimise my other expenses. Mostly food and accommodation. Food should be cheap if I eat in the road side stalls. Finding cheap accommodation would be a challenge though. I plan to avoid staying in hotels as much as possible by sleeping in my car and generally relying on the kindness of strangers along the way. Couch surfing is another option.
Even with all the cost cutting, I expect the trip to cost atleast 40,000Rs or more. I could easily spend 4 months in the mountains with that kind of money. So I'am really hoping that the footage I get on the trip would justify the expense and land me a few new assignments. After all the key thing for me right now is to build the India in Motion brand by releasing fresh time-lapse videos regularly and attract different types of audiences.
I can always write off this amount as a business expense. So it is not all that bad.
I expect some trouble shooting my time-lapse videos in the temple premises. I have heard first hand accounts from my friends about authorities and priests who object to tripods inside temples. If they object to tripods then I wonder what they would think about my sliders and other time-lapse equipment.
I guess it is more of a mental block that I need to overcome.
But for a long time I have had this feeling that the people in the plains are not as nice nor as trust worthy as those in the mountains. I do not know where this bias came from as I have had pleasant experiences everywhere I traveled. Both in the mountains and the plains. And I hope that this trip would be without any unpleasant experience as well. But I do plan on keeping a low profile of myself and avoid any undue attention towards my camera equipment.
Well thats about it. I wonder sometimes if people actually read my long winded posts. If any of you has made it down till here then please leave me a comment below about what you think of my plans. And especially if you have any tips for me about the locations to cover or on how to save money on the trip.
I would appreciate it a lot.