I’m traveling through India via rickshaw, driving 1,000 km over 10 days. Why? To explore a country I’ve never been to before, find coworking spaces along the way, but more importantly to raise money for the European Coworking Assembly’s #loveMatija Emergency Relief Fund. Learn more here.

Welcome to India

I’ve been up since an hour or so before landing into Mumbai on UA 48 EWR-BOM at 9:45pm local time. It’s now 4:15am and I’m in the lobby of the Courtyard Mumbai Airport with a brown bag sandwich, Diet Pepsi and a car waiting for me to head back to the airport to catch a flight to Chennai. This will be my 92nd and final flight for 2018. It’s a shame I couldn’t spend more time at this property, as it’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at any Marriott property in the world.

There is a line to get onto another line just to get into the terminal. It’s times like this that the crazy world of airline status pays off. I walk right by the 250+ people in line to check bags and I step up to the counter. Thanks Star Alliance Gold. 

I’m flying from Mumbai to Chennai on Air India 570. $8k United MileagePlus miles covered a non stop ticket for a 2 hr or so flight. $40 for a first class upgrade? Yes please. I had the cabin to myself. #truestory

I land, can’t find an iced coffee to save my life and settle for an Americano. After haggling with a taxi driver to pay 750 INR (an Ola, India’s version of Uber would have been only 300), I’m on my way to the Rickshaw Challenge Orientation. My bags aren’t out of the car and he’s trying to get more money out of me. I politely remind him what we agreed to and that I could have paid less than half on Ola. Trying to keep my bags hostage, the hotel staff steps in to help out. Welcome to India.

Organized Chaos

Once there, it’s a flurry of activity. It’s organized chaos. I start getting stuff: The road bag with first aid kit and repair tool kit (ummm…this is getting serious). There’s a manual with a photo directory, list of teams, info, etc. An actual….Face….Book. Team t-shirts made for us, safari shirts, hats, daily check in folder. We’ve even been given cell phones and are informed that our rickshaws each have mobile WiFi hotspots built in – hot dang!

People are friendly but still reserved. I think we’re all still just wrapping our heads around the fact that we’re driving 1,000 km over 10 days through India. We take taxis to the rickshaw pick up location. There we learn basic mechanical info: how to mix the petrol with oil (more on that later); how to go reverse; issues with shifting or clutching

Here’s our Instagram Story Day 1 Recap!

All in all, pretty simple. Driving on a test track versus real roads however? Another story. After an hour + in Chennai traffic all to go but 10 km, we’re back at the hotel, have a beer in hand and eagerly (anxiously) await tomorrow.

The post India Rickshaw Challenge Day One: Welcome to India was first published on Coworkaholic.