Adventure travelling for a life changing experience

Updated: Mar 16 2007, 05:55am hrs
Motto magazine has named Relief Riders International founder Alexander Souri as an Eco-Chic guru in its recent issue. Relief Riders is an adventure travel company that organises horseback journeys thrice a year in Rajasthan. While its for-profit division organises the trip, the non-profit division does fund-raising for the relief mission.

US-based Souri features alongside Simply Green book series author Danny Seo, Nike's footwear sustainability manager Shelley Zimmer, waste recycling company Terra-Cycles co-founder Tom Szaky, eco-designer Linda Loudermilk, and TOMS designer Blake Mycoskie (known for donating a pair of shoes for each pair sold) for setting up a profitable company and also retaining high social values

Relief Riders has been covered by National Geographic, Forbes and a host of other publications, too. Relief Riders also made it under Best Trips of 2005 in Outside magazine

The last trip to Naguar, Rajasthan, came to an end on March 7, 2007. Sourie and 14 other fellow adventure travellers, mostly women from the US, France and Ireland, experienced the thrill of adventure in a different world.

They rode Marwari horses to deliver medical care to villagers, books to school children and livestock in rural areas. It was a life-changing experience for all of us. It changes the whole worldview, says Sourie, who is proud of his Indian roots. His father was an Indian.

Souries view is endorsed by the website testimonials of previous riders. Says Shirley Cambell, Riding through the unspoiled countryside of fields and small villages, through narrow streets and into the forts and merchant villas, made for an unforgettable experience.

Adds Barbara Jenkel, For me, the relief programme was a spiritual experience! Edward Goldberg sums up, Be prepared to return home a changed person.

Each expedition enrolls a maximum of 15 guests and is spread over 15 days, 16 nights. The caravan is accompanied by nearly 25 support staff and a vehicle carrying a doctor and two paramedics.

They ride for three to five hours to cover up to 25 miles a day. Even untrained riders are accepted. The journey includes a nights stay in a star-hotel in Delhi, a few nights in forts and havelis, and remaining nights in tented accommodation.

Depending upon the experience of travellers, they are encouraged at the beginning of the trip to take up jobs like organising the caravan, supporting the medical team, and distributing the supplies.

The next trip is to Pushkar on October 22, 2007. The ticket: $ 6,300 (ex-New Delhi). It may be a good time to start planning now for those who are interested. Its really intense, says Sourie.