‘The best road trips are unplanned’ says actor Sumeet Vyas

Actor Sumeet Vyas has taken the web series world by storm with his roles in TVF’s Permanent Roommates and Tripling. Playing a character who takes a road trip with his siblings in Tripling, Sumeet tells us about his passion of exploring places by road.

Do you enjoy road trips?

I love hitting the road because it is the only trip on which unexpected things can happen. If you’re on a flight or in a train you know you’re going to reach your destination in a very predictable fashion, but a road trip can be so varied – you can eat at a new place, witness something unusual, meet new people and find different ways to reach that destination.

Do you plan a road trip well in advance?

The best holidays are undoubtedly road trips, but the best ones are unplanned. When I head out, I know my destination and I have a rough idea of what the route is so I just travel in that direction and let it happen. For example if I’m in Mumbai and I have to go to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan I don’t want to plan it to the T. If I stop in Surat, I choose my hotel when I reach or if I halt at Ahmedabad, I eat at a restaurant that strikes my fancy. I don’t draw out the complete route in advance because that will just kill it for me.

What’s been your most memorable road trip so far?

I can never forget the trip from Mumbai to Vidarbha, a small village ahead of Nagpur. Even though I love hitting the road, ironically I suck at geography. A friend of mine who was assisting me, suggested that we should take a bike. We thought “how far can it be, after all it is within Maharashtra.”

When we were packed and ready to move, we opened Google maps and to our surprise it said 900km. We contemplated for a bit but decided to go ahead with it. We set off and by the time we reached Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai, it started pouring. That put us in two minds, but we decided to go ahead and ended up riding the bike for some 700 kilometres.

It actually was the worst trip because the road was in such bad condition that it completely destroyed our bike, our backs and at that time our ambition to do more road trips. Finally we stopped by at one lodge with a room so small it could barely fit in the two of us – almost 7 feet by 3 feet and there was no food so we just had biscuits. When we woke up in the morning we realised it was some red light area so we just ran away.

We got onto to the Aurangabad highway that connects Nagpur and it was such a dramatic change. We never expected that something so pretty and so well done could exist in India, it was such a great highway and it felt as if we were in Europe. We were glad that we didn’t cross that stretch in the night because the light was perfect and the weather was great. When we reached Vidarbha, the villagers were singing a folk song which the farmers generally sing to welcome the rain, so our entry to the village happened on a happy musical note. That memory has always stuck with me.

 

Ever done a road trip in the mountains?

Once when I travelled with a theatre group, I went all across Punjab – Patiala, Ludhiana and we were on a bus so we went from Chandigarh to Shimla. Then another time we went to Sona Pani in Uttarakhand. I keep going there often.

Do you prefer the beaches or mountains?

I’m a Bombay boy so I’d be lying if I said I don’t like the beach but if I had to choose between the two I would probably choose the mountains. I genuinely love the hills.

Have you ever done a solo trip?

I recently took a solo trip to Kasol in Himachal Pradesh as I hadn’t taken a break for nearly two years. I went to a resort called Himalayan Village and booked a machaan for myself. The guy who got me to the room was really taken aback when he saw I was alone because it was a huge room, the kind that people hire on their honeymoon. I was like, yes “I need huge rooms.” So for those few days I just did pretty much nothing – woke up when I wanted, went out, read books that I always wanted to read. I then moved onto Bir Billing where I did paragliding. This is the first time I dabbled in this adventure sport and now I want to do more of it.

An interesting overseas trip.

During the one month I spent in New York when we were shooting for the film English Vinglish, I walked the length and breadth of the city. I didn’t have too much money at that time, so everyday I would just pack a bag and whenever I had time off from the shoot I would just walk and explore different places in Manhattan. There is so much to do there – so many museums and shows that you want to watch.

What’s your dream destination?

I want to travel all of Europe. I want to hire a Harley Davidson and ride through the French Riviera.

Do you enjoy local food while travelling?

Yes I love eating. I have no fixed preferences, no favourite dishes or cuisine. Just food is my favourite. But once in Bangkok I was freaked out when I was served some sort of a reptile at a fancy restaurant. It was a delicacy but I just couldn’t eat it.

Do you travel light?

I travel very light. If I had my way, I would just carry one change and buy the rest of it when I reach that place.

AUTHOR'S BIO: A traveller and foodie at heart, Pallavi Pasricha has explored many destinations across the world. But that never seems to be enough and she’s always ready to hit the road again. Her obsession for travel is combined with a love for photography. She is working as the Digital and Community Editor at Lonely Planet India.

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