From sleeping in railway stations to pioneering adventure tourism in India. The inspiring story of Prateek Deo Gupta.

(This is a mesmerising journey of a person who dared to dream, went against the norm and turned his passion into a lucrative profession. Taking the interview of this very inspiring entrepreneur was an absolute delight).

It was late evening. The station felt damp and was almost empty. The bulb in the public phone booth was flickering. A son called up his father and finally confessed that to save money, while travelling, he had been sleeping in shabby railway stations and at times had to take in more water than food to kill his hunger. His father worriedly asked him what exactly he was doing with his life. Couldn’t he just go back to his cushy corporate job?

He could have. Easily. But he did not want to. Because although it was one helluva bumpy road, strangely, he started enjoying the struggle. Immensely.

“The water filters and the benches in the railway stations became my friends. I really started enjoying the struggle. I was happy. I did not care anymore. I was living my life and had the belief that all this would lead to something”.

I know it was not at all easy because in the early 2000s, owing to India’s economic liberalisation, multinationals and private companies were mushrooming all over the place and every other middle class person wanted to join them for better salaries and a better life. The whole country was going with that flow. A few of them, like this guy, dared to go against it.

Probably, this is what successful entrepreneurs are made of. When adventure holidays were almost unheard of, the internet was still a baby and the start-up culture and infrastructure was literally non-existent, a young Creative Director in the IT industry left his well-paid corporate job and followed his dreams to become a traveller and adventurer. Felicitated by the country’s Prime Minister, Prateek Deo Gupta is known as one of the pioneers of adventure holiday in India.

For the last 20 years, Prateek’s company Life Away From Life has been educating and taking individuals and corporate clients on adventure holidays and treks on motorbikes, cycles and foot to exotic locations like Ladakh, Meghalaya, Kerala, Coorg, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Antarctica, Mount Kilimanjaro, Turkey etc. just to name a few.

Whenever I see his LinkedIn updates of the beautiful pictures of the valleys, mountains, villages, the local food, people and culture, it completely stimulates me and fills me up with a desire to fly away to those places.

prateek deo

prateek deo

Ladakh Staying with the Locals

Why are you in the pictures of every trip?

One thing that the pictures struck me was that in almost every trip Prateek would be there. It made me realize that Prateek probably has not built his company in a way where he could be this CEO doing all the strategic stuffs while leaving the field trips to his employees.

I asked him the question. He answered. And I absolutely loved it.

Although Prateek has built this lucrative company where revenues have been growing year on year, his first love is still being with nature and meeting new people. He has been successful in finding that envious sweet spot where he is still living his passion hands-on and his passion is making money for him. He loves to travel. The only difference is that now he travels with a bunch of other people who pays him for taking them along with him.

It has actually turned out to be an excellent strategy. People and companies go to Prateek for this very personal touch.

“Balance sheets and Profit and Loss Accounts do not give me the kick. What gives me the ultimate kick is when customers thank me for giving them one of their best lifetime experiences. And that takes care of the balance sheets as well”. – Prateek

It gives Prateek a tremendous sense of satisfaction, purpose and happiness when his clients confess that the trips have had life-changing impacts on them. Some of them rediscovered themselves and some of them overcame their fears, phobias and illnesses.

The sense of purpose reached its peak when one of Prateek’s customers invited him to her wedding and told him that going on the trip to the hills and meeting new people completely changed something in her from the inside. In fact, if it was not for the trip, she would not have been probably standing there. Because before the trip, the girl was contemplating suicide.

The big question: how did you make it?

When I was talking with Prateek, I got the unmissable impression that this guy is like a free bird. Just carry on in the journey singing and playing, enjoy whatever life offers you and do what makes you happy without a care in the world.

However, behind this care-free impression is a thinking mind. Prateek left the IT world and joined an adventure travel company as a Coordinator for a year. In his effort to learn about the business he did all sorts of work including the menial ones like picking up customers’ luggage etc.

“If you want to learn about a business, you have to start from the very grass root level. You have to learn the basics. That’s where you understand what the customer likes or does not like.” – Prateek

Thereafter, he left his job and went on to travel all across the country over the next few years. This was year 2000 and he was about 28 years old.

“If I had to take people to these places, I myself needed to know these places first.” – Prateek

Those days, the internet being at its nascency, data was not available like how it is today. Prateek displayed tremendous foresightedness in collecting data manually. During his travels, with a pencil and a notebook, he took notes of each and every minute details. For example, on a particular route where could one find hot drinks or snacks to eat etc. (remember, these are remote locations and there were no smartphone those days). This manual database turned out to be the key in building his business and delighting his customers.

In 2001, he did his first trip with clients to Ladakh in a no profit/no loss basis to test his idea. However, it would not be until 2007 when Life Away From Life started seeing revenues skyrocketing, ending Prateek’s immense struggle of 6 years.

What struggle did you face? How did you manage your financial needs?

Adventure holiday was very new and majority of the Indians did not quite relate to it. A massive challenge was to educate people on adventure tourism. This made business sluggish. It led to the bigger challenge of dwindling finances. Prateek’s savings were almost exhausted and he was struggling with money to continue the business. The start-up infrastructure being non-existent, he did not have any access to investments.

To manage his financial needs, Prateek played in a rock band, freelanced as a tourist guide for other companies, sang in restaurants, wrote for magazines and also sold his travel data to international travel magazines. He did all of this so that Life Away From Life could continue to keep its head above water. In 2007, thanks to the increase in internet usage in India, his business boomed, and revenues increased by 1500%.

“The key to success is the combo of being happy and working hard. If you really enjoy the struggle, the process and the journey and work hard, the universe would conspire to give you what you want.” – Prateek

I asked how did he handle the pressure of not having money on one hand and on the other hand, seeing his friends buy cars and houses? How did he remain so laser-focussed?

Apart from his passion, self-belief and the fact that he started enjoying the struggles, there was something else that helped him. A marvellous lesson got opened before me.

Prateek had taken a course in mountaineering.

“In mountaineering, the thing that was drilled into my head was that when I had to go from Point A to Point B, my focus had to be zeroed in on only that part of the journey and not beyond. That conditioned me tremendously to be in the moment”.

Prateek’s career high came when he was felicitated by the country’s most ever loved and respected Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, while doing a cycle trip of 2500 kilometers from Mumbai to Haridwar (picture below – second from left in black).

prime minister felicitation

 

Finally, what made you go for adventure tourism?

A picture!

Prateek, in his younger days, came across a picture cut out of a magazine. It always took him back to his childhood when his father, who was a painter, often used to take Prateek and his family to the hills so that his father could paint. This instilled a very strong affinity in Prateek towards nature.

Although Prateek was doing well in his corporate job, he was not happy from within. The thing that invaded his mind again and again almost every night was the picture. Of a man holding a cup of hot coffee in his hand while standing near a tent in a serene hill overseeing a beautiful landscape. Like a free bird discovering “life” to the fullest.

Prateek wanted to be that man in the picture for the rest of his life. And he became.

He starved, bled, toiled, cried, laughed, got dusted and dirty. But he finally became.

———————————————————————————————————-

Note: Prateek Deo Gupta lives in Mumbai and is a father of twins – one boy and one girl.

 

Written by :

aninda baruaAninda Baruah

Product Management/AgileEnthusiast/Blogger/Author
Aninda’s Linkedin Profile
Email

  1. Mentok Kangri Expedition – Ladakh
Mentok Kangri Expedition 2016

Mentok is the Tibetan name of a wild flower growing in the Ladakh region during the summer season. Mentok Kangri, located in the Rupshu plateau in Eastern Ladakh, lies south of the village of Korzok and is at 6250 metres. The peak offers some breath-taking and stunning views of the landscapes of Tso Kar and Tso Moriri lakes.
read more…

2) Kang Yatse2 peak expedition – Ladakh

Kang Yatse-II

Kang yatse 2 ( shoulder) is one of the famous spot for mountaineers and the adventure seekers, and though there are many options for this summit, the best way is to combine with the Markha Valley.
Read more…

3) Mt. Elburus expedition – Russia

Mount Elbrus expedition

Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Russia and in Europe, and the tenth most prominent peak in the world. A dormant volcano, Elbrus forms part of the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia.
Read more…

Life Away From Life organises 3 exciting motorcycle trips around India for the year 2019.

  1. Myanmar Motorcycle trip

This unique trip will cover Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Myanmar over a period of 9 days. This trip will start from Guwahati and end at Guwahati.
Read more…

2) Ride on the Moon

An Experiential motorcycle trip within Ladakh. You would be riding, in and around Leh, between beautiful valleys and besides stunning lakes.
Read more …

3) Kumaon Motorcycle Trip

It’s  a 7-day expedition on motorcycles to explore remote places in the Kumaon Hills , Uttarakhand, India.
Read more…

The wait is over, here comes

The most scenic routes, the quietest roads, remains of the ancients, the coast and the mountains ..

Our route takes in Freshwater Lakes, Sulphur Springs, visit to Turtle Sanctuary, Coastal Lagoons, Mountain Villages, a private boat trip across the bay of Göcek to Fethiye, lunch at a village home, Turkey’s longest Canyon, Hilltop Ancient Cities, Alpine-like mountain ascents, Village Homestay, UNESCO sites, sunset on a totally undeveloped 18 km Beach, visit the site of Patara, Roman capital of Lycia, ride the spectacular coast road to Kaş, the pearl of the Turquoise coast. This bike tour visits Dalyan, Koycegiz, Sultaniye, Göcek,Fethiye, Minare, Saklikent, Tlos, Sutlegen, Patara, Kalkan and Kas.

turkey cycling

– comfortable hotels, Village home-stay, all meals.
– Tour is fully supported with guide/mechanic, support vehicle.
– Total of 325 Km of riding over 6 days. Terrain is a good mix of flat, undulating and some days mountainous riding. Rides are do-able by any fit person of most ages.

Date : October 2019
Batch size : 10 people.
for more details & costing : Whats app +91 7718058351
email : lifeawayfromlife2019@gmail.com

A Life Away From Life trip
#lifeawayfromlife #TurkeyCycling #cyclinglife

Turkey Cycling

Festive Discounts offer

We offer some exciting festive discounts on trips  for the Festive season.

Here are few festive discounts trips :

1: Winter Snow Trek in Rumbak valley in Ladakh :

INR 25000/-  INR 15000/-

snow trekking in ladakh

Winter snow trek in the Rumbak valley is an out-of-the-world and once in a life time experience.If you desire to do trekking in snow , then winters is the best time to trek in the Ladakh region of India.

We plan for an exciting winter snow trek in the Rumbak valley in Ladakh, during Jan/Feb/March 2019.

Date : 8th Feb 2019

read more http://bit.ly/RumbakSnowTrek

 

2: Singalila ridge trek , Darjeeling

INR 17800/-  INR 15000/-

Sandakphu Trek

Trek along with Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse and a grand Himalayan panorama of more than 20 other peaks. Swing along the border trails between India and Nepal. Walk through the clouds and rhododendron forest, in the Singalila National Park, to climb Sandakphu, the highest peak of West Bengal.

Date : 30th Oct 2018

Read more http://bit.ly/SandakphuTrek

3: Great Rann of Kutch experience , Gujarat

 

INR 20000/-  INR 17000/-

Great Rann of Kutch

 

A full moon experience on the Great Rann of Kutch is a lifetime experience.
Life Away From Life plans an exclusive trip for photographers, adventure lovers, curious travelers.

Date : 21st Dec 2018

Read more : http://bit.ly/GreatRann

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL OFFERS END ON 18TH OCT 2018

for further inquiries call us on +91 7718058351 ( whats app also) or write to lifeawayfromlife2018@gmail.com

3 most exciting cycling trips to end the year 2018.

by Life Away From Life

 

1: Coastal Cycling trip near Mumbai

– 3 days 2 nights : October

Maharashtra Coastal Cycling

The Maharashtra Coastal Cycling route is considered to be one of the best cycling routes in India. Dotted with golden beaches, picturesque creeks, solitary lighthouses, ancient forts, stunning cliffs and charming fishing hamlets, many of them still remain the way nature sculpted them.

read more : http://bit.ly/CoastalCycling

 

2: Rajasthan Rural cycling trip   : Bikaner to Jodhpur

–6 days 5 nights : November / December

rajasthan cycling

If you are looking cycling on the roads along the desert , visiting the rural desert villages , meeting their people, eating their cuisine, stay in tents on the dunes, then this Rajasthan cycling tour from Bikaner to Jodhpur is a perfect ultimate trip.

read more : http://bit.ly/BikanerCycling

 

3: Vietnam to Cambodia cycling trip

– 12 days 11 nights : 23rd Nov 2018.

vietnam cycling

Experience the freedom of cycling, as we make our way through two of Southeast Asia’s most diverse and fascinating countries, and the famous temples of Angkor.

read more:  http://bit.ly/CambodiaCycling

 

 

 

for further inquiries u can contact :

Life Away From Life : +91 7718058351 ( whats app also)

or write to lifeawayfromlife2018@gmail.com

 

 

Get High With Treks

heres a doze of treks  to get you high

#1: Markha Valley Trek – Ladakh

markha valley trek

 

#2: Sandhakphu- Phalut  Trek – Darjeeling / Nepal

The Sandakphu Phalut trek

 

#3: Druk Path trek – Bhutan

Life Away from Life - Adventure travel

 

#4: Goechala Trek – Sikkim

goechala trek

 

#5: Valley of Flowers trek – Uttarakhand

 

#6: Coorg Trek – Karnataka

Coorg Trek

 

#7: Desert Trek – Rajashthan

Desert Trek

 

#8: Monsoon Treks in Maharashtra

monsoon trek

 

a Life Away From Life initiative.

TOP 10Trekking Trips

by Life Away From Life

#1) Markha Valley trek – Ladakh

One of the most beautiful treks in the world and one in a life time experience.
A benchmark trek of Life Away From Life.

markha valley trek

read more

#2 Ladakh backpacking trek

At a height of 9000 feet and spread across the Himalayas, Ladakh has the essence of backpacking flowing through the city. Your first look at the city and you will all in love with vast stretches of mountains, sneak-peaks of snow, the sound of water passing by and the hospitality of the people. With Ladakh’s mysterious way of life and its humble people, a backpacking trek to Ladakh is a lifetime experience, something every backpacker is looking for.

read more

 

#3 Druk Path Trek – Bhutan

This Trek is one of the most popular treks in Bhutan and it passes through a gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, while at the same time offering the opportunity to visit some ancient temples, dzongs and villages.

Date: 14th October 2018

Life Away from Life - Adventure travel

#4 Goechala pass trek – Sikkim

The Goechala trek is one of the most beautiful trails in the world, located in the Sikkim Himalayas of India. Some brilliant views of the massive Mt. Khangchendzonga, world’s 3rd highest mountain and other high peaks in the region, are highlights of this trek.

goechala trek

#5 Valley of flowers trek backpacking- Uttarakhand

Hold your hearts, for the most beautiful trek in the world.
Valley of flowers is located at an altitude of 3800 metres and is covered under snow for most of the year except for a short time from the month ofJuly to September when the entire place spurts in to an explosion oflimitless colorful flowers.

The entirety of valley floor is overrun by flowers of millions of species andfrom a view far-off, it just looks like a huge colorful carpet.

read more

 

#6) Snow Leopard Sighting Wildlife trek – Ladakh

The  Snow Leopard sighting wildlife trek  is a rare opportunity to spot elusive Snow Leopards in the wild. The majority of this trip is based deep in Hemis National Park in Ladakh, with one of the world’s highest concentration of snow leopards.

This snow leopard sighting wildlife trek offers you the chance to track these ‘ghosts of the mountains’ and their prey through the snow, with the ability to witness these sadly diminishing but stunning creatures in their natural environment – and to capture all this through your camera lens.

snow leopard trek

read more

 

#7 Sandhakphu Trek – Darjeeling

Done with tea plantations and Heritage railway of Darjeeling?  Then come with us to experience the breath taking views of Snow capped Mountains, battalions of colorful wild flowers & views of Worlds highest peaks like Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse all appear at the horizon and would baffle your eyes.
Of course you will have to make an effort and trek uphill to experience this ‘top of the world’ feeling but we assure you it is definitely worth all the effort.

The Sandakphu Phalut trek

read more 

 

#8 Great Indian Desert Trek – Bikaner, Rajasthan

The desert, and the act of moving through it, is a wonderful place for cleaning the mind of all our daily thoughts and worries. The desert and its dunes stretch for miles and miles. Then a few more miles before the evening meal, a roaring fire, music, singing and a night under the stars as you have never before seen them.
You will return from the desert feeling mentally clean and rested.

read more

 

#9) Tadiyendamol trek – Coorg, Karnataka

Imagine yourself walking across teak forest, coffee plantations and green fields ..
One of the most amazing & beautiful short weekend treks near Bengaluru.

Coorg Trek

#10) Monsoon Treks near Mumbai – Maharashtra

Come explore one-day monsoon treks on the Western Ghats of Maharahtra, with Life Away From Life. Its an amazing experience  trekking in monsoons, bathing in waterfalls and everything around you  turns lush green.

monsoon trek

read more

 

 

#DrukPathTrek #BhutanTrek #trekking #lifeawayfromlife

 

TOP 3
Trekking trips in Ladakh
for 2018

We are glad to announce the three amazing trekking programs for the months of July and August in Ladakh.

 

1: Ladakh Backpacking Trek

Ladakh Backpacking trek

At a height of 9000 feet and spread across the Himalayas, Ladakh has the essence of backpacking flowing through the city. Your first look at the city and you will all in love with vast stretches of mountains, sneak-peaks of snow, the sound of water passing by and the hospitality of the people. With Ladakh’s mysterious way of life and its humble people, a backpacking trek to Ladakh is a lifetime experience, something every backpacker is looking for.

  • 5 days 4 nights
  • Ex Leh
  • 7th July 2018
  • Cost : INR 10,000
  • read more …

2: Markha Valley trek  – 7 days 6 nights Ex Leh

Markha Valley Trekking

One of the world’s most beautiful trek in the Markha Valley in Ladakh. Nomadic families herd their yaks in this valley. Many small monasteries exist, of which Tache gompa is the most important Buddhist monastery in the valley.

now at DISCOUNTED price

A one in a life time experience.

#MarkhaValleyTrek #lifeawayfromlife

 

3: Mentok Kangri expedition

mentok kangri expedition

Mentok Kangri, located in the Rupshu plateau in Eastern Ladakh, lies south of the village of Korzok and the highest peak of the range is at 6250 metres. It consists of 3 peaks – Menthok 1, Menthok 2 and Menthok 3, which offer some breath-taking and stunning views of the landscapes of Tso Kar and Tso Moriri.

  • 8 days 7 nights
  • Ex Leh
  • 25th August 2018
  • Cost : INR 33,908 ( for indians)

more details …

TOP 5 ‘Must-Do’ summer treks by Life Away From Life

We suggest 5 MUST DO treks  this summer.

#1 Markha Valley Trek – Ladakh, India.

markha valley trek

Markha Valley trek has been, one of the most sought after holiday trek among whole range of trekkers from expert to naive, partly because it lies adjacent to the most favorite Valley of Ladakh and partly because at the culmination point where the valley ends lies the famous and the massive mountain Kangyatse with snow-capped  peak touching the sky with glory.

read more…http://bit.ly/MarkhaTrek

#2 Mt Elbrus expedition – Russia

Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Russia and in Europe, and the tenth most prominent peak in the world. A dormant volcano, Elbrus forms part of the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia.

reda more…http://bit.ly/ElbrusExpedition

#3 Mt Kilimanjaro expedition – Tanzania

Kilimanjaro expedition

After a successful summit in 2015, we are happy to announce the most excited trip of this year. An exciting expedition to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in the months of July, August & September 2016

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent and the tallest free standing mountain in the world. It rises in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland with an elevation ranging from around 900 metres to an imperious 5,895 meters (19,336ft).

Our 9 days 8 nights trip to Tanzania, to climb Mt Kilimanjaro will fascinate you at every level.
Join us for this unique trek.

read more…Kilimanjaro Expedition

#4 Druk Path trek – Bhutan

Life Away from Life - Adventure travel

Discover Bhutan with one of the finest short treks in Bhutan, the Druk Path, leading from Paro to Thimphu and following the traditional high route between these towns.

read more …http://bit.ly/DrukPathTrek

#5 Mentok Kangri expedition – Ladakh, India

mentok kangri expedition

Mentok is the Tibetan name of a wild flower growing in the Ladakh region during the summer season. Mentok Kangri, located in the Rupshu plateau in Eastern Ladakh, lies south of the village of Korzok and the highest peak of the range is at 6250 metres.

Read more…http://bit.ly/MentokKangri