Ghumakkar – Conversation with Patrick Jasper

Vibha in a conversation with Patrick Jasper.

Section 1 – About Patrick

[Vibha] We know you by two names “The Other Patrick” and “Patrick Jasper.” Tell us more about the person behind these names.
[Patrick Jasper] Ha Ha. Yes, thats right. When I started writing and more specifically commenting on stories at Ghumakkar, I would sign them off by saying ‘The Other Patrick’, because Patrick Jones was already there and it would have been confusing to have two Patricks. :-).

Talking about the real Patrick, I am a Tamilian who belongs to Kanyakumari and have stayed most of my life there. I am a banker by profession and that is my trigger for being at various places. I am currently at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and before that I worked at Mumbai, Maharashtra. My banking profession gives me opportunities to be at various places and I could not have asked for more.
I am married and my 6 year old son, Jonathan, keeps me on my toes for travel and everything else. That is what ‘the other Patrick’ is all about.

[Vibha] You have been traveling for quite some time now. When did it become more than a hobby for you?
[Patrick Jasper] I think I got introduced to travel during my college days. Every couple of months, we would take off and go for a mini trek. I believe the change-over from casual traveling to serious traveling happened after I purchased my car, a fiat Palio. That gave me enough mobility to explore and to be more independent and I utilized every bit of that new found independence.

[Vibha] Recently you completed a trek to Sar-pass. How did you motivate yourself to come out of an urban lifestyle and move into this kind of strenuous stuff?
[Patrick Jasper] I would give the credit to my college days for this. As I was telling you that we used to do these short duration treks, mostly 2 to 3 days, or hikes. I was an active member of ‘College Trekking Club’ and we would do these in the areas of Kodaikanal, Mysore etc.
After college, I got into a job and then later got married and my parenthood kept me away from these sojourns, but that desire was quietly sitting there.

Recently when I heard about YHAI, it got me excited. I found out more about it and the fact that there would be a whole group and its more structured and a guided trek, I thought, Why not. One major difference was that it was a much longer trek than what I have ever done but I knew that I can pull this off if I put enough hard work. And that sort of helped me to give a good start.

[Vibha] Tell us more about your experience at Sar Pass. You must have had some expectations from the journey and the destination. Was it all that you expected it to be?
[Patrick Jasper] Absolutely! It was in fact overwhelming, beyond what I expected.
It was a different experience, completely outdoor-ish stuff. I was beginning to get to mature side of thirties but when I looked at a 60 year young person alongside you stop thinking about age and start moving again. A lot of it was very challenging. You need to pitch tents and be on your own amid elements. At times you sort of start realizing that life has so much to offer to us if we pick new challenges. For me, I would say that it was a life-defining experience.

My only little grudge is that we didn’t get to experience the ‘Snow fall’ though we were in knee thick snow a lot of times. I am looking forward to next year for that. 🙂

Section 2 – Association with Ghumakkar

[Vibha] You started writing on Ghumakkar nearly two years back. How did you stumble across the web site?
[Patrick Jasper] I was looking for some road directions and reached this great piece of writing, Delhi – Kanpur – Lucknow. Not only the main story but the comments which were done by readers were equally interesting and enriching. The details on how to take the right road when you reach Kanpur was what got me hooked. When I noticed the rich conversation, I read more stories and then read more and liked it.

I quickly registered and later wrote my first story on Corbett. There were some stories on Delhi-Corbett but I guess mine was the first one from Lucknow-Corbett and I believe I am the earliest Ghumakkar from Lucknow here.

[Vibha] Two years and 15 stories later, how would you like to summarize your experience at Ghumakkar?
[Patrick Jasper] Oh, it has been wonderful. You read about travel stories, get to interact with travel enthusiasts from across Geos, read interesting things. New set of information around places, roads, new things which you learn as you read more. It has been fabulous.

[Vibha] Ghumakkar readers have loved your stories and probably a lot have benefitted from them. Has Ghumakkar community changed you or your travel life in any way?
[Patrick Jasper] I would look at from two angles. The first is that you are contributing towards a generic good, hoping that it might help someone who plans to do same/similar trip. That satisfaction is really the driving force. It sort of gives you a feeling of being responsible.

The second and probably more important thing is that reading other’s stories gives you a lot of confidence. When you read a specific personal story of doing something, it sort of gives you enough comfort in making the decision of doing it yourself. I drive a Palio and everyone would always tell me that you cannot do Leh-Laddakh in a Palio. When I read about Shalini’s trip to Leh, which she did in a Maruti Alto, I know now that Palio would be equally good if not better.
I think that is what Ghumakkar is all about. Inspiring travel experiences which make everyone pack their bags and try new things.

[Vibha] When you think back about your various travel experiences, is there some specific incident that comes to your mind and would you like to share it with your fellow ghumakkars?
[Patrick Jasper] It would have to be my hike to Sar Pass. It was a tough terrain, a real tough one. You climb 5 KMs a day and gain as much as 2000 feet every day. More often you walk on all four, reach your day’s destination, pitch your tent and get yourself ready for next day. Age has no role and it all comes to mind-n-body balance. You keep your focus and keep doing it. Can’t explain in words. It has been a life defining experience.

[Ghumakkar] Thank you, Patrick for taking time and talking to Ghumakkar. We wish you luck and many more summits.

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