Meet Udit (40) and Umang (35) Bothra, the Co-Founders of WonderPath who have recently started their entrepreneurial journey to help you explore the world in a whole new light. If you think they’re just another travel company, just too bad, you’ll miss out on their upcoming India-Myanmar-Thailand trip starting on 4th May 2020.
The Lifestyle Portal in conversation with the co-founders on their love for road trips and motorcycle riding and are now taking people along in their maiden venture – WonderPath, that was officially launched on 29th January 2020 in Kolkata. It’s quite intriguing to see a new breed of entrepreneurs who after having worked in the Telecom, IT, BPO & KPO industries, finally stepping out of their comfort zones. They’re now listening to the little voice inside them to savour life, pursue their passion and follow their calling.
During his career, Udit had managed various small/ big, single and multi-location and multi-mode customer service delivery units including inbound and outbound call centres, retention centres, doc processing operations, upselling units and experience outlets. He has been extensively involved in training, coaching and mentoring various teams towards effective servce delivery.
Umang is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and has over 12 years of experience in BPOs & KPOs, Sales & Marketing, Digital Marketing, Business Management Services and Strategic Planning.
How did it all begin?
Armed with almost 18 years of corporate experience in the Telecom and BPO industries, Udit who hails from a business family in Kolkata, always wanted to do his own thing. He shares, “I never wanted to take the family business route, and in fact, I was the first one in my whole family to take up a job! At various points in time, I felt like quitting and jumping onto the entrepreneur wagon but family commitments or various situations in life kept me away from it.”
Since both Udit and Umang always wanted to start a venture together, finally, after almost two decades in corporate life, Udit felt a calling to EXPERIENCE life and not just drift through it.
He adds, “This was also because I had come to a stage where I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing and I believe that when you enjoy your work, you really LIVE it. That’s when I knew that becoming an entrepreneur was the only way to go and one fine day I quit from my my comfortable and stable job at Airtel.
Overcoming an entrepreneurial roadblock & a blessing in disguise
It wasn’t their first attempt at entrepreneurship. As Udit recalls, “Food has always been a fun thing for me and I believe that when people eat together, and if the food is healthy and the experiences are engaging, it forges happy memories and an everlasting bond!” Based on this thought Udit and his wife Manjira, an ethical vegan and Umang, envisaged opening a vegan cafe in Kolkata. Even though the trio had a great plan and was able to arrange a part of the fund that they needed, their project got derailed as one of the investors backed out citing Vegan as the reason. In fact, in retrospect, had the vegan restaurant had taken off, maybe, WonderPath wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
Riding through the country
“Riding a motorcycle makes me happy, it makes me feel ‘alive’”, smiles Udit with a twinkle in his eyes. As he felt he needed some time for himself, he set off on yet another long distance ride; this time a 5,000 km cross country solo ride to Goa (from Kolkata) and back. Upon his return, he was sharing his varied experiences of the ride and that’s when Umang came up with the idea of venturing into the adventure travel space. Umang is already a successful entrepreneur and has dabbled in into segments like BPO/KPO, Digital Marketing & Fashion & Lifestyle and is already running a Travel & Tour company. “Since we share the passion for wheels and the love to travel, give a wheel in his hand and four on the road and you have made him a happy man!” laughs Udit.
Umang shares, “Bhaiya makes such meticulous plans of his rides with all aspects taken care of and after every ride, he usually says “It was one hell of a ride!”; I am sure if he can do it for himself, he can do it for others too and with the right kind of marketing and reach, we can make this a successful venture. I talked to Bhaiya about it and it made perfect sense to him and that’s how we ventured on this WonderPath!”
They admit that one of the biggest challenges is working out the logistics, for both inland and overland trips and experiences. The duo is dealing with different sets of laws, cultures and ethos in every experience that they are curating. Working out the minute details while keeping the needs of their patrons in mind, it is definitely very daunting, but they absolutely love doing this.
Udit further adds, “The other would be the cost of such tours, these are tours where you come in immense contact with the environment, the culture, the people and the laws of the particular place you are going by and going to! This isn’t about hopping on an aeroplane and bang, landing at your destination – the logistic and regulatory requirements of road trips and guided ones at that are very different. We take care of all probable aspects, for example, our road trips have a back-up vehicle equipped with radio comms units (in case we lose cellular network), medipacks, basic spares, mechanic (where necessary), you are always safe; we take care of all the permits, visa etc both for you as well as your vehicle. And hence there is a cost to it; the idea here is to provide a profound experience not limited by the cost of it.”
Products and services at WonderPath
At WonderPath, the idea is to combine the pure joy of travel with the child-like wonder that we miss in our lives. WonderPath’s passion is to curate inland and overland travel experiences where the journey becomes the destination.
“We handpick locales that will fascinate you and the process of reaching there will give wings to your adventure bug! We will ensure that you reconnect with the elements of nature on the way and come back with a soul weathered by the sun, the wind and the earth – a soul reawakened, and senses wondered,” smiles Udit.
Areas that WonderPath venture into include Rides, Drives, Camping, Hiking, Trails, Experience Tours & Curated Tours. As part of the first two experiences Udit and Umang are embarking on an All Women’s Motorcycle Expedition to Gurudongmar Lake (Sikkim) in April ‘20 and then an India – Myanmar – Thailand Drive (& Ride) in May 2020. **
** Should you travel now?
With the recent Corona Virus (Covid-19) scare, it is but natural that we all would like to stay safe and healthy and avoid any unnecessary travel to affected areas. As we all hope that things gradually settle down and you would like to resume travelling all over again, it would be good to plan your trips wisely. It is advisable that you get a health check up done before you plan any trip. Please consult your doctor or local health care centre before planning a trip. You wouldn’t want the virus to travel with you and affect the others too!
While Udit and Umang are taking all the necessary precautions before the trip and have tie-ups with the concerned authorities, should you have any concerns and queries, feel free to contact them on the following: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Mobile: +91-9831049060 / 91-9007000606. For more details on Covid-19, please feel free to visit the official World Health Organization website for accurate data and information.
How WonderPath will rekindle the adventurer in you
Gurudongmar Lake is situated at the height of 5,425 m (17,800 ft) and is one of the highest lakes in the world. If you haven’t been there yet, or already have, how about a ride leading up to this place surrounded by snow-capped mountains that are only going to leave you truly awestruck. Significantly higher than the other popular lakes in India, this is a hidden unexplored gem that is going to push your adrenaline meter to an ultimate high!
Umang adds, “Other locations that we will cover in this expedition include Zero Point, Yumthang Valley (15,300 ft.); Nathula at 14,410 ft. one of the highest motorable roads in the world and a glacial lake Changu or Tsomgo, meaning the ‘source of water’. Located at an altitude of 12,310 ft! Each of these places will refresh your senses and leave you feeling ecstatic. The steep roads and the twists on them leading up to all these spots will be nothing short of adrenaline rush as you unleash the inner adventurer in you!” Read more details about the trip.
Why you should sign up for the India-Myanmar-Thailand bike/ car road trip?
Udit explains, “On the India-Myanmar-Thailand trip, you should come for the miles and smiles, for this road trip you will remember for times to come. You live the thrill of crossing two international borders and zipping through the landmark AH1 on your own wheels, immerse yourself in the shades of thousands of pagodas, soak in the natural beauty of a pristine lake nestled in a valley between two mountain ranges; feast your eyes on stunning countrysides, breeze through open roads and arrive in a city once described as the prime diamond on the crown of the land. Find your way through the mountain roads to experience a city that is an amazing blend of the traditional and the modern and pulsates with a unique energy. Expansive landscapes, ancient to ultra-modern architecture, laid back to bustling vibes, dusty roads to slick highway, this one has it all! Read more details about the trip.
What makes WonderPath so unique?
The best part being, WonderPath takes care of all the requirements in terms of permits, routes, visas and vehicle permits (overland tours), stay, guides, escort vehicles etc. so that you can completely immerse yourself in the journey and the destination.
As Udit explains, “What’s going to make us stand out eventually are the locations and experiences we offer. There are quite many people and organizations doing similar work, but in due time you would always find a newer destination or a more unique experience with WonderPath.
For WonderPath, road trips are about the sheer contact you experience when you take a road and come in contact with people, their culture, nature, the wind, the heat, the cold, the smell, the sheer visuals that your eyes can see! Besides, the fun part about a road trip is that you stop when you want to stop, now try doing that when in a train or an aeroplane! 😉
With the current state of environmental degradation, it is imperative that we travel in the most conscious, sustainable and responsible manner. Sharing our thoughts on the same, Udit adds, “Oh absolutely! We believe in responsible tourism and in respecting the law of the land and its culture. In all our trips emphasis will be on promoting and following the same. As far as experiencing and getting acquainted with is concerned, it is a very individual as well as an internal thing, all I can say is we promise to create trips which have very opportune conditions to be able to do so.”
Udit seriously feels that one has to be responsible and have basic respect for co-passengers and co-travellers irrespective of the mode of transport one is taking. One very important aspect here that most people tend to overlook is respect for other peoples’ private space, this manifests everywhere, it is not uncommon in our country for people to push you in queues or poke you with their elbows in a flight or even occupy your seat and neither is it uncommon for drivers and riders to always wanting to go ahead of everyone by whatever means! The thing with driving or riding is when you do that, you are not only putting yourself at risk but others too which I feel we have no right to. So yes, when on roads you must respect the law, the environment and other people who use it.
Vision for WonderPath
“We have just started and have announced the first two experiences. The journey so far has been amazing, we are very passionate about this and are hooked on the idea of making this one hell of a lifelong ride! All the people who we have spoken to or associated with so far have been very encouraging and helping in whichever way they can, and we hope to create some amazing #wonderpaths and spread the #wonderofwandering,” shares Udit.
WonderPath would like to evolve into an organization that not only caters to Indians for inland and overland experiences but to the global community as well to make them experience what our beautiful country has to offer.
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