AcuteBear & ObtuseLlama
Meet the Traveller Duo with an uncanny, unique and interesting social media name. The joy of exploration led them to roam around the country and the word to understand life from a brighter side. With an aim to storytell with pictures, their beautiful journey is indeed a memoir.
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Wow! Such a unique handle name! Tell us something about yourself
AB&OL: We are a traveler duo who love to travel and document our journeys whenever we take breaks from our studies. Academically, we are NIT Rourkela grads. Since graduating, we have spent a little time in the usual corporate job sector but found that not to our liking, and quit to head out towards a different goal. While we are at it, we often travel together and bring about stories from our travel, mainly as a memoir for ourselves and also for the whole world to see, in the form of photos and videos. And the name, yes, we wanted it to be unique and close to nature!
When did you start travelling seriously (as a traveler)?
AB&OL: We have been lucky enough to have parents who like to travel as well, so we have been introduced to travel at quite a young age. But as far as traveling seriously on our own is concerned, 2017 is the year.
What was the trigger which inclined you towards travelling?
AB&OL: Full disclosure – we are not professional travelers. Actually, we have a very interesting story behind how our love for traveling came about.
A very good friend of ours asked us to join him on a trek – the Chandrasheela/Tungnath trek. We rode from Rishikesh to Sari and camped at Deoriatal overnight. We had no idea how the place looked like as it was already dark by the time we reached. It was only when we woke up the next morning that we saw the beautiful Chaukhamba peak kissing the skies and right beside us there was this gorgeous lake Deoriatal. Right then and there, we realized that we wanted to do this more often and that’s we have been trying to do since then.
Where have you travelled in India and abroad?
AB&OL: Loosely speaking, we have been to most states except a few like Mizoram, Arunachal, Chhatisgarh, Lakshwadeep.
But since we have started traveling consciously, we have touched Goa, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Odisha, Pondicherry, Meghalaya and Andaman Islands.
As of international travel, we haven’t been to that many countries, mainly due to paucity of time and also because international travel is so expensive. Some countries that we have been to like Russia, UAE, Malaysia, Singapore, Bhutan, Azerbaijan etc. have been really nice experiences and hopefully we can have more such global trips in the future.
How do you plan for your travels?
AB&OL: We are compulsively impulsive and usually follow our hunches in choosing our destination. We start our planning weeks earlier, everything starts with Google and YouTube of course. We chart down the most mainstream of itineraries in our first draft. Then we keep on adding whatever off beat places we can accommodate in our time frame and simultaneously deleting some of the mainstream places that we think we can skip so that by the time we reach the final draft, our itinerary has around 70% off beat places and 30% mainstream spots. We then reach out to homestays as we are more of “local” kind of people – we go for those which will inherently expose us most to the local culture while simultaneously being in line with our itinerary. And then, as we mostly prefer biking, our last phase of planning also involves finding a trustworthy bike rental.
Any particular place in India that you would strongly recommend for the readers, and why?
AB&OL: We would strongly recommend the North East. We ourselves have a lot of North East to cover. It’s a different world out there and as mainstream as it has gotten in the last few decades, there are still new unexplored regions that are popping up every year as tourist hotspots. One such example is the Marwyngkhang trek in Meghalaya, its called the scariest trek in India and is a must-do.
However, with our recommendation to visit North East also comes a request to respect local culture, people and their traditions and customs. ZERO FOOTPRINT TOURISM is what we would request visitors to adhere to as strongly as we do – meaning leave the area as you found it when you first went, leave no footprints.
What are the next destinations in your travel bucket?
AB&OL: The list is endless, we really need a very big bucket. But our next 3 destinations might be Mongolia, Arunachal and New Zealand. We have to wait and see how the easing of COVID travel restrictions pans out.
What are the essentials that you carry along?
AB&OL: We make sure we pack very light (sometimes we fail). We carry one backpack each which holds our clothes, a suitable pair of shoes, cap and goggles (if the destination is snowy or hot), and thin jacket that keeps us warm, a basic first aid kit is a must. We always download offline maps before we leave our houses. We keep some dry fruits with us as well. And of course, our camera kit also comes with us.
Apart from this, there will be some specific items that you would want on a particular trip, for example, we had raincoats on us the whole time during our recent trip to Meghalaya.
Do you have any website/blog/Youtube channel?
AB&OL: Yes, we do have a travel account on Instagram – acutebear_obtusellama. And also a YouTube channel of the same name – Acute Bear & Obtuse Llama, which is still in its infancy.
Any particular incident that you want to share with the readers?
AB&OL: There have been many – both good and not so good. But today, we would like to share a particularly good one with the viewers that happened to us on our recent trip to Meghalaya. We were on our way back from the Double Decker Root Bridge trek, we had already climbed up and down 6000 stairs. Our legs were wobbly and our lungs were drained of oxygen. We were just mechanically walking by the virtue of our walking sticks. Suddenly, we heard the voices of two sweet little girls, “Hello, pineapple?” Oh, we couldn’t deny them and had the pineapples. We had taken electrolytes, had Frootis and cold water too on our way back, but my God the pineapples recharged us so much !!! We sat down a bit, talked with the little girls for a while and let them know of our gratitude towards them.
We shared this particular incident in order to let people know that there is goodness out there, and if you are good enough it finds you. Just keep traveling.
Any advice to budding travelers?
Dalai Lama says – “Once a year, go some place you have never been before”.
We follow him and you should too !