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Kerala Clerk Takes Unpaid Leave To Cycle Across Europe

Arun Thadhaagath, a senior clerk at the District Collectorate in Ernakulam, Kerala, has chosen a path less traveled in pursuit of his passion for cycling and adventure. Despite 20 years of government service, the 45-year-old bachelor from Ambalamedu prioritized global travel over career advancement, remaining in his current role while taking extensive unpaid leave totaling […]

Kerala Clerk Takes Unpaid Leave To Cycle Across Europe
Kerala Clerk Takes Unpaid Leave To Cycle Across Europe

Arun Thadhaagath, a senior clerk at the District Collectorate in Ernakulam, Kerala, has chosen a path less traveled in pursuit of his passion for cycling and adventure. Despite 20 years of government service, the 45-year-old bachelor from Ambalamedu prioritized global travel over career advancement, remaining in his current role while taking extensive unpaid leave totaling over five-and-a-half years.

Mr. Thadhaagath, undeterred by conventional career paths, has embarked on multiple expeditions, including a recent journey across India as a backpacker. His latest venture is set to commence with a two-year cycling expedition across Europe, starting from the site of the Paris Olympics on July 26, 2024. Supported by a two-year visa from the European Union, with the requirement to exit and re-enter every three months, he plans to cover nearly 4,000 kilometers through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Turkey in the initial leg of his journey.

Choosing Europe due to its extensive cycle tracks and the allure of spontaneous encounters along the way, Mr. Thadhaagath expressed his preference for enriching experiences over a predictable routine.

“My goal is to invest in life’s experiences and memories rather than leading a mundane existence,” he stated.

Following his European leg, he intends to cycle through Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in West Asia before venturing into Eastern Europe, including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Subsequent phases of his journey will take him through Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, before returning to Europe via Copenhagen to explore Portugal and Spain.

Mr. Thadhaagath also plans a detour to North Africa, cycling through countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt before concluding his journey back in Europe, covering destinations such as Switzerland and Italy.

Reflecting on his past adventures, including a cross-country biking expedition across Southeast Asia in 2019-2020, Mr. Thadhaagath recounted staying in Buddhist temples and local homes until the pandemic confined him to hotels in Laos.

Financially committed to his passion, he financed his previous trip with a bank loan of ₹2.5 lakh, repaid earlier this year, and has secured a ₹6 lakh loan for his upcoming European tour. Despite the scale of this endeavor, he remains optimistic about managing the financial burden, seeking potential sponsors while keeping a fallback option of ₹10 lakh from his brother if necessary.

Mr. Thadhaagath’s ambition and dedication underscore his determination to explore the world on two wheels, balancing his love for adventure with responsibilities back home in Kerala.

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BICYCLEEuropeanKeralaTDGThe Daily Guardian