Vincent, he is the founder of Offbeat Roads India. It is a Mumbai based startup which focuses on planning the trips in the lap of Nature.
In Offbeat Roads India we focus on two major activities, one is called ‘Undefined trip’ – This is a surprise trip, says Vincent.
We at Bangalore Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Vincent, the founder of Offbeat Roads India and to know more about the startup, read his inspiring story.
Give a brief info about your startup?
To being with Offbeat Roads India is born out of my passion to experience world and live a healthy life. It is about exploring the undefined and re-joining with nature. In Offbeat Roads India we focus on two major activities, one is called ‘Undefined trip’ – This is a surprise trip. Whenever someone wants to travel all we ask are the dates, budgets and a few questions about their life, passion, etc. Then we plan a trip for them, which they have no clue about. We ask them to show up at a particular place, with the essentials required depending upon the place and that’s it. They are in for a surprise like never before. The whole idea is we need to surprise ourselves once in a while and see how beautiful the unexpected can be.
The other one is ‘Reconnect with Nature’ – This is a 12-week program designed for the corporate person. Our belief is that people get stress, hypertension, blood pressure, diabetes and whole lot of life style disease and other problems like lack of sleep, relationship issues, etc., because there is no proper balance of nature within them. It is a scientifically proven fact that we have all the elements within us that is available in nature. So if we spend sufficient time in nature we will be far healthier and happier in life.
In our 12-week program we have 6 Super Weekends where we actually get you out in nature where you will know how to push your boundaries, connect with nature and have a physical, mental and emotional transformation. In this program we ensure you get in touch with all the elements, we take you trekking, do yoga in the mountains, rafting, kayaking, organic farming, we have sessions on foods depending on your blood type, meditation in the forest, star gazing and many more. The best part is in these 12 weeks you will continue to do your daily jobs and chores with minor changes, which doesn’t even take much time and yet you will be completely refreshed and changed personality.
What made you start your start-up and what problem does it solve?
I was in corporate life for a long time, worked with top agencies & corporates with some of the best minds & brands in the industry. Frankly I was very happy doing the job. I some how never had issues like no sleep, stress, mind you there was lot of work. In advertising and marketing you don’t get time to sleep. It is that busy life. My colleagues and my friends would always complaint that they felt like they are burnt out, the don’t get proper sleep, in the morning they find lazy to get out of bed, they are always stressed, frustrated, they have become short tempered or someone who cannot listen to people patiently. And all this is impacting their relationships at home, with wife, kids; they are not able to give them time. As soon as they reach home they are tired and just wants to eat and sleep. Which is harming the personal life very badly. They were gaining weight, no time to exercise or eat the right type of food. Life overall looked so pointless. On weekends they go out and drink with friends but that is a temporary relief for that 2 or 4 hours of drinking after that Saturday is spent hung-over and Sunday just disappears and you are back to this mundane life. When they do their medical test they realise that their BP, Sugar, Hypertension, etc. is high. At young age people are getting glasses. This is a scary situation.
I would see all of them around me going through this but somehow I was not going through the same problems. I mean I was working equally hard, I was putting in long hours, I had girlfriends who were very demanding, so had to manage them and their tantrums, then I had to take care of parents, brothers, I had to eat right, workout, etc. Everything even I had to do, so how come I was not going through the same problem. But for the longest time I couldn’t figure out that why the same problems were not affecting me that all had, while we had similar conditions.
I always pondered but never managed to get an answer. It was later when I went to Auroville. I was there for one month, during my visit I met lot of interesting people. I mean the kind of stuff they did will blow your mind away and at the same time they were very humble and down to earth. They were making actual difference to the society and world through their craft and skills but they never boasted about it. It was pretty normal. They all respected each other and life was fine. So there I met this guy who was a Naturopath, trekker, philosopher. We got chatting and I asked him the question about why people in corporate world are facing so many stress and other problems, whereas even I do the same job but somehow I am ok with it. That’s when he asked me what do I do that is different from others.
Then the revelation happened, that I spend time in nature a lot. On weekends I would take out time to go for a trek, or do organic farming, or go swim in the river, or rafting, I would ensure that I eat simple local food, which is made in the villages that is grown there. I would go out drinking but I would drink in limits. I would prefer not bitching but playing board games, or jiving, or having mock comedy sessions within friends.
That’s when he said that, the biggest problem the corporate world is facing is that of people not being part of nature. We are meant to live in nature and be surrounded by it. Nature has all the solutions for our problems, but we have to sync with it. Our body is made up of all the elements from this earth, so we have to go out of the cement jungle and aligned with nature.
When I understood this problem I wanted more and more people to re-connect with nature and lead a healthy and happy life. All our trips are also planned in a way that people get to experience more of nature along with exposure to the unexplored, which actually makes your mind think differently. Eg. We had planned trip to a place called Majuli, It is the biggest River Island in the world. There our guest not only experienced nature but they also stayed and ate with local tribe, they understood their point of view about life. Such experiences are rare and it is our endeavour to make it happen. This is the major reason for starting Offbeat Roads India.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I was completely into theatre when I was just out of college, did that at a professional level for sometime then realised we need money to survive. Because in this country making a living out of theatre is a bit challenging. Since I had interest in brand building and marketing I joined advertising and had a wonderful time learning & working with some great minds of advertising along with some top brands of the country. Later I joined marketing, launched brands from scratch in the country and I loved everything about it. I continue to consult people on branding and marketing.
I am a firm believer of doing new things in life. I feel that adds dimensions to your life, it makes you unlearn your current set of beliefs and look at life with new perspectives. I have this policy of doing 5 new things every year, this I have been doing for the last 15 years. By now I have tried 75 new things in my life, which is totally different.
I consciously make an effort, it doesn’t matter how big or small they are but what matters is I do something new and have fun. Things like learning to be a bartender and making cocktails, writing short stories, making candles, baking cakes, rock climbing, rifle shooting, painting bottles, learning how to surf on the waves, meditation, taking lectures, attempting poems, teaching dancing, the list goes on. I intend to continue doing this till I die. I feel that each activity adds something new to my life, it could be creativity in some case, and some helps me discover myself.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Mumbai, but frankly in today’s connected world it actually doesn’t matter where you are based out of. If I have to reach out to a client in Delhi or Bangalore I can do a video call and explain them the entire program, it is that simple. We had a family based out of Chennai who wanted a surprise trip for 14 days, the entire trip was closed over a video call. We never felt that we were miles apart.
As a start-up founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
For me it is a big learning phase, everyday there is some new challenge. We are curating some amazing concepts that people love, but what keeps me awake these days is the fact that we are not able to grow fast. We have some amazing concepts and ideas but there is a challenge of investment in marketing and PR in order to generate demand and brand awareness. We are going through a phase where we know exactly what needs to be done but not able to due to lack of investments.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
In a way all the wellness and outdoor company would be our competitor. However we offer unique programs that are not there in the market as of now. So that makes us different.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a start-up founder and how do you manage it?
For me work life balance is much better because I am living my Passion. I actually look forward to wake up early and start. I personally feel there is lot more energy when you work for yourself. There are times when I get hit by a new concept or idea then I keep working till I get it right and in the bargain won’t even realize how time flew. At times I have realised I started on a concept at 7pm and by the time I finish its already 2am. Since I am living my passion I don’t feel much difference between my work and life. Work itself is fun so I guess life is fun too. Just imagine I get to go out almost every weekend with friends and family, and during the weekdays also I get to meet some awesome people as part of my work. For me it’s a win-win situation. I would encourage more people to go out and live their Passion. In fact I have finished a book on ‘discovering your passion and making money out of it.’ It will be out very soon.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
As of now we have not reached out for funding because we wanted to check if our concept works in the real world. We wanted to have a working model and some profits before we go out and look for funding. Now we have enough proof that it works and we are open for investors because the money will be very helpful for us to grow the business at a good pace.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
This is a funny one, almost all of them feel that I smoke or smoke-up. But the fact is I don’t do any of that. I think they feel that because of my advertising background or the kind of lifestyle I lead.
What gets you excited about this company?
The most exciting part is that there is no mundane moment. Your brain is challenged constantly, there is so much to do and you always feel time is less. The excitement is also about bringing about a shift in the thinking, looking at a situation completely different from a lens that I never thought I had. Then there is the sheer joy of doing what I love.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My typical day begins at 5:45 am with some meditation followed by workout or run. Later head to office, some client meetings, writing blogs, curating surprise trips, chalking out business and marketing plans, literally for every activity we need this separately. Later in the evening I try to catch-up with friends or read a book or watch some documentary / play. Have some simple dinner and head to bed by reflecting on the day with gratitude.
On weekends I am mostly out either trekking, rappleing, rock climbing, rafting, or just camping by some lake or in the jungle. When I am out there I love to do bonfire along with some barbeque. Always a wonderful way to spend a weekend.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Shashi Parvat is my other business partner; we started this together because we both have similar passion. We compliment each other very well in various functions of the business. We know each other for the past 5 years or so. It has been a good combination.
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