It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.-Anthony Bourdain

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to conceal it from the world. It exudes from your very being, infiltrates your daily conversations, and refuses to be sidelined. This week’s episode of our Passion and Beyond series features our very own Akshay Rajendra and Apoorva Rangaraj who recognized a similar passion in each other. Deployed on the same team for a project with a large UK-based telco, Akshay and Apoorva met each other and bonded over a shared passion for traveling. Since then, their story of friendship and camaraderie has spanned several countries in seven years.

“Traveling has been with us since day one. It had already been a part of both our lives before, and it’s what brought us together.”, Apoorva reminisces fondly as she looks back at the road traveled. Traveling has been a common theme throughout their relationship – they set out with the initial goal of exploring their city and state. Slowly, they graduated from local trips to cross-country and international overlanding trips. Till now, Apoorva and Akshay have taken two overlanding trips in India – from Mysore to Kashmir and from Mysore to Spiti Valley. Outside of these two, they have also planned eight international road trips covering Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Sri Lanka, and more.

When we asked them which part of their travel plans excited them the most, both Apoorva and Akshay answered, “The journey,” almost in unison. Getting to experience a different culture, blindly putting their trust in other people, and witnessing a unique way of life are some of the most exhilarating aspects of these trips.

However, as you can imagine, journeys like these come with their own set of challenges. “Planning is one of the most challenging parts of any overlanding or international trip,” recounts Apoorva. For the journey to be memorable, the groundwork for it must be solid. Every country has its own set of rules and regulations, unique terrains, languages, and traditions. “We have spent hours doing our homework and preparing for eventualities to ensure smooth progression once we begin our travel.

However, it’s still not possible to plan for every possibility, and despite our best efforts, things have gone wrong at times. But we have stuck together and overcome any and all challenges every time,” says Akshay confidently.

Traveling is not just about visiting unfamiliar places or learning new cultures. It’s also about discovering your own self – discovering there are parts of you that you didn’t even know existed. For Apoorva, traveling has also played a significant role in her development as a driver. With Akshay’s help, she went from being a complete newbie to single-handedly driving across the perilous ghat roads from Shimla to Narkanda. On the other hand, traveling helped Akshay unlock an assertive and essential part of himself that thrives on challenges, can make split-second decisions under pressure, and survive adversity. One such incident involved Akshay and Apoorva getting stuck overnight in Chandra Taal Lake in Himachal Pradesh, at an elevation of approximately 14,000 ft above sea level. They were able to survive in the subzero temperature because of their quick thinking and meticulous preparations taken beforehand – using an overhead tent and heat from the car to power through the night.

A shared love for the open road and thrill of the unknown has made road trips the preferred mode of travel among their merry gang of four. The fiery pursuit of their passion has helped them make new friends, build relationships, and push beyond the limits of their own selves. Even now, with Akshay in the United Kingdom and Apoorva in Bangalore, India, they are looking to capitulate on this opportunity to explore parts of Great Britain. However, sheer passion alone is never enough to transform our dreams into reality. And in this, both Apoorva and Akshay agree that Torry Harris has played an enormous role in their journey as well, albeit a more passive one. “Torry Harris has been extremely supportive through all of our travels, especially our managers,” recounts Akshay. “It’s crucial to know our friends, colleagues, and mentors have our back at the onset of any travel plans.”

Our professional and personal lives do not exist in a vacuum; maybe in a perfect world, it would be possible to separate these aspects of our lives. However, we are humans after all – it’s natural for the professional to spill into our personal and vice versa at times. In these circumstances, our passions become the catalyst for maintaining a proper work-life balance in our lives. Apoorva and Akshay’s determined pursuit of their passion to connect with people across national boundaries strongly resonates with our core directive here at Torry Harris – to connect the world. From time to time, we all need to take some time off to discover what truly excites us, pursue our passions, and come back better versions of ourselves.