I recently reviewed the adventure travel documentary Hit The Road: India which follows Ric Gazarian and Keith King as they take part in a 2000km rickshaw race from Mumbai to Chennai.
Ric has traveled to all 7 continents visiting over 85 countries. I am grateful that he took the time to answer a few of my questions.
Hi Ric, could you introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi. Originally from Boston. And then moved to Chicago. Left the corporate world in 2009. And have been traveling about 8 months a year since then. My home base is in Bangkok where I live for about a half of the year.
What are some of your first memories of travel?
I remember going on a cruise with my parents as a 10 year old to the Caribbean. I recall being blown away with the non-stop buffets and being able to watch movies on the ship and eating popcorn.
How did you find out about the Mumbai Xpress and what made you want to take part?
I actually participated in a rally in 2010, called the Caucasian Challenge in 2010. I drove with 2 friends from Budapest to Yerevan. 17 days, 7000km 11 countries. Incredible experience. At that time I learned about all these incredible rallies from around the world. And at the end of the rally in Yerevan I decided to go to India and drive a tuktuk.
Had you driven a Tuk Tuk before?
Before the Rickshaw Challenge I had driven a tuk tuk for about 2 minutes. I was in Sri Lanka and a tuk tuk taxi driver had me jump in the driver’s seat for a couple of minutes.
How did you meet Keith?
We had only met a couple months before. We met in Phuket at a Muay Thai gym and struck a quick friendship. He quickly signed up when I told him about the adventure.
What preparation did you do?
Not really too much. I think my advantage is I had been to India before. So the culture shock was limited. India is a special country. Incredible highs and incredible lows. Can’t wait to go back again.
Your trip is plagued with mechanical problems what inspired you want to keep going?
We did have quite a few problems. The tuk tuks are not built for cross country travel. I don’t think we had any other option but to finish. It was simply drive, sleep, and do it again. One day at a time and enjoy the experience.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to do the Mumbai Xpress?
Open mind. Just get ready for an incredible experience. Nothing is easy in India, so just be prepared with an open attitude.
How many cameras did you use to film the documentary?
We used 2 GoPros. Both strapped to the tuk tuk. One pointing forward, the other looking at Keith and me. The film crew used a Cannon 60D. There was a separate “chase” car with a driver and the 2 members of the film crew.
I’ve started reading your book 7000km to go which chronicles another adventure of yours which takes you form Budapest, Hungary to Yerevan, Armenia. Do you have any other similar trip planned?
We are working on another project for 2015. Hopefully, racing again and filming another documentary.
You’ve traveled to 80 countries. Could you name your top 3?
Always a tough one. Armenia is a special country to me. My first overseas extended stay as well as volunteering. Thailand, now my second home. The country offers everything..beach, mountain, city. So much to see and explore. Third? Always the next country I am going to visit.
Too many to list … one of my favorites is (Saving) Private Ryan.
Of course, Hit The Road India.
Mountains or beaches?
Both. But I will say beach. Just went to Surin Island for the first time. Perfection.
Did you ever find your flip flop?
RIP. It has never been seen again!
You can connect with Ric via
The documentary and book of Hit The Road: India can be purchased here along with the book 7000km To Go.