“Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time and leave nothing but footprints,” is Indranil Chowdhuri’s motto. No wonder then that the 56-year-old has travelled to 107 countries so far, among them Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, Iceland, Czech Republic and Iran.
After being bitten by the travel bug in the early 1990s, he plans to explore 150 countries in all. “My initial target was to visit 100 countries, but now that I have completed 107, I want to reach 150 countries before I get sick or bedridden,” says Indranil. Naturally, he has had many exhilarating experiences, including bumping into the former President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev! Indranil says that he had to explain to the security that he was just a tourist before he could be arrested. Another time, when he was in Kosovo, the security did not understand why an Indian would want to come there for a holiday and it took him a lot of explaining to convince them otherwise.
The Hyderabad-based traveller’s latest trip was to Mongolia. “I have been in the field of export, so that’s how I got interested in travelling. I go on five personal trips and at least three business trips every year. I have covered all the countries in Europe, most countries in Southeast Asia, entire East Africa and all of the Caribbean and Central America. I am also a sports enthusiast, and have been to global events like the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Football World Cup and the US Open among other tournaments,” says Indranil, who is also an avid souvenir collector. “My shot glass collection (3,000 glasses) can easily qualify for the Limca Book of Records. The Guinness World Record is set at approximately 5,000 glasses. Apart from that, I also collect swords from different parts of the world,” he adds.
Indranil, who currently works as the head of the international marketing division at Al Jazeera in Oman, thanks his wife for all her support. “I spend all my money in travelling. I am not overtly concerned about my professional life and the endless rat race. I don’t wish to be the CEO or MD of a huge company, travelling is what keeps me happy. My wife also funds my travels sometimes. She has travelled 30 countries with me, but travelling together doubles our expenses. We are trying to travel together more often,” says Indranil, adding that getting a passport to some countries is a bigger challenge than his financial woes.
Ask him about his favourite countries among the ones he has been to and he immediately quips, “Brazil, without a doubt. Brazilians enjoy their lives and their spirit is exciting. The Brazilian Carnival is something that I enjoyed the most.” To those who wish to see the world like him, Indranil has a word of advice. “Every place I travel, I learn something new. I realise how little I know. If you are passionate about travelling, go for it. Have no regrets,” he says as he signs off.