For young creative expressionists, the lack of a team and the means to express their creative work is too common a reality. And for young filmmakers, the need to travel and scout for a story is even stronger, but often remains unrealised. But here’s a project that is all about getting the brightest creative minds together on a trip all the way across the North East of India in a bid to create unparalleled work. Yes, after last year’s successful trip around Spiti Valley, The RoadTrip Experience (RTX) Project is back as it searches for some thoughtful minds to come together in a great creative symbiosis as they go around the pristine North East of India.

We spoke to the RoadTrip Experience Project’s Jaytirth Ahya, who gave us a lowdown on this mind-blowing travel project.

(Credit: Bhaskara Tejaswi)

(Credit: Bhaskara Tejaswi)

Where did the idea for The RoadTrip Experience come about?

In the summer of 2014 at a creative conference in New Delhi called Coalition, I met few people that changed how I looked at the creative scene in India. These people were not only doing amazing things but were hardcore creators – for example, I came across Spandan, an ex-pilot who has founded Tatva Board where he designs and builds handcrafted wooden surf-boards, an illustrator Sirawon Khating from a cute illustration startup called Biscoot, who was then working to raise awareness around social issues with the government in North East, a marketing exec from Google who was pondering over starting up something and then went on to creating a brand called The Bohri Kitchen.

I was spell-bound. With so much of creative energy around me, I couldn’t help but plan a road trip, while at the conference, with some of the attendees. After the conference, everyone else moved on with their lives, except me. It was only when I met the founder of Campus Diaries, a few weeks later at a networking event, that the real kick came in. While bouncing ideas with him, I mentioned about a road trip I wanted to go on with amazing creators around me. I don’t remember his thoughts about the road trip, but what he said next changed everything. He said, “Sounds good, let me introduce you to a photographer from Pakistan who is into backpacking and capturing positive travel experiences in Pakistan.”

In my head, I was delighted for 2 reasons – 1. He would introduce me to this cool and amazing guy that is doing something so amazing and 2. Him introducing me to an international photographer in his network meant that he bought the idea of a trip that would bring creators together and it might just happen. That was Idea Validation. Bang! Roadtrip Experience Project was born with an aim to create a platform for creators to connect, collaborate and create while traveling on an experiential road trip.

Is it a sponsored trip?

Yes and No. RTX works on a hybrid model where we extend full-sponsorship and half-sponsorship to the ones that deserve it the most and bring amazing skill-sets to the table. Interested applicants need to fill a quick form about themselves on our website and from there on we shortlist a bunch of travelers to do a form 2, which is usually followed by a call to close the loop.

What creative expressionists are you looking to collaborate with, as part of the programme?

Predominantly filmmakers, cinematographers, musicians, designers, makers, adventure junkies & artists. However creators today lie outside the scope of any one art form. At RTX we call these creators as Free-Thinkers, the ones that don’t follow herd and craft their own niche, the ones that are interested in music, design, art, tech; sometimes all at once. The story-tellers, the dreamers and the doers.

(Credit: Bhaskara Tejaswi)

(Credit: Bhaskara Tejaswi)

What was the creative output of the 2014 RoadTrip Experience? What kind of movies were part of the collaborations?

The RoadTrip saw the initiation of 3 projects designed by RTX team.

1. The Film Project –

A collaborative approach by 5 filmmakers, who were strangers before they met on the road trip, to create a movie about the culture, people and experiences in Lahaul & Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Output – 40+ hours of content, one 30-min documentary and 3 promo videos.

2. The Music Project –

This was a collaboration between a band called Himalayan Roots in Shimla & musicians on RTX. Experiences included Jam Sessions, Exchange of Ideas & exploring local instruments.

3. The Photo Project –

What’s better than a group of enthusiastic young creators indulging in storytelling through their pictures. The photo series on RTX was a 500 picture large photo album shot throughout the journey. The project was led by Kunal Kelkar & Vicky Roy and saw contributions from most of the travelers. The moments captured were – Adventure, Portraits, Roads, Cars & Landscapes.

This year we are inviting ideas from creators through our applications, so if you have one crazy collaborative project idea that you would like to do at RTX, we are happy to invite you and support you to make it happen.

Are these films then sent for film festivals or shown to professionals from the travel industries?

No, but that’s a great idea. Thanks, we should be doing that this year.

What are the collaborative projects that will be created as part of the 2015 programme?

Over the course of the 12-day RoadTrip through the North East of India, 20 hand-picked designers, filmmakers, musicians, photographers & other creative individuals, selected from all over India and other parts of the world, will collaborate on Storytelling sessions, Music Projects, “Brain-tsunamis”, Free-styling projects, while exploring and experiencing the culture & music of North East.

What does the RoadTrip Experience have in store for amateur filmmakers?

A chance to collaborate and work with someone who has been in the filmmaking field and carve a niche for himself or herself while traveling with other talented individuals that can add value to his or her thought process.


What will it take for the applicants to make the cut?

An interesting life story, an open attitude to collaborate & creative projects they have worked on before.

(Credit: Nityakiran)

(Credit: Nityakiran)

If a Pandolin reader, who wants to make movies, gets selected as part of your project, what can he/she expect?

The ultimate RoadTrip experience – with curated travelers, handcrafted experiences, opportunities to create with other filmmakers like them and of course inspiration to get out there and make shit happen. For the ones, that have not explored North-East, they can expect to be mind-blown.

Our biggest takeaway from RTX last year was, that when people travel and create together, they bond at a different level. So expect post-trip collaborations and friends in different creative fields.


Apart from collaborative ventures, are artists allowed to explore their work individually?

Absolutely, but think about this – how often do you make a plan to travel with a bunch of coolest strangers. If you can get more people involved in your project idea and co-create with them, opportunities multiply. After all you can always travel alone; traveling with artists, musicians, designers and creators happens just once a year at RTX. So collaborate!

If you had to give 5 tips to anyone to ready them for the ultimate RoadTrip Experience, what would they be?

  • Be Open – Be open to ideas, don’t ever ever make a map, however carry one – a physical map if you can, gets the real road trip vibe!
  • Losing your way – Getting Lost is not always bad.
  • Own the Design – Design your own Travel. Asking friends just makes you live their design.
  • Right Travelers – Have few crazy free-thinkers join you, send an invite to those ones that you don’t meet through your work or in your daily life. Traveling with them will help you learn a new thing or two and learning is always fun.
  • The World is your playground – Create something while you are on the RoadTrip. Be the story-teller of your RoadTrip – create music with locals, follow a local for a day and document him, get a guided tour from the kids – get in touch with your inner creator. Creating with others helps you to bond with strangers and eventually you will be a better version of yourself.

Become part of the RoadTrip Experience: