Published: 23rd September 2020
How Praburam Srinivasan trekked his way to Instagram glory - and inspired hundreds of others to discover that joy
We speak with Praburam Srinivasan who has hosted over 400 people in trips and treks all over the country through his travel blog Navigoto
Travelling has always been a part of Praburam Srinivasan's life. Moving from one place to another with his banker father meant that he lived through seven different homes in seven different cities throughout his childhood. And everytime he would visit a new city, he would also explore the places around it. That's how the travel bug bit him. And he hasn't stopped since. Not has he let anything else stop him. Today, he runs a travel blog on Instagram, Navigoto, where he posts about his travel conquests - climbing mountains, trekking, hiking and everything that gets the adrenaline pumping.
But Praburam underwent several challenges before he could go for his first Himalayan trek. "I was discouraged by almost everyone I knew. I weighed over a hundred kilos and everyone thought that I would be unable to complete a trek. They were worried about my safety but I realised that there was a certain amount of mental fitness that is required to complete a trek more than physical fitness," says Praburam, who decided to go on that first trek alone. "But while I took much longer to trek through the mountain and reach the top than someone who physically fitter than me, I did manage to climb it in the end. I took around 12 hours to trek to the top while the others could do it in much less time. But I did reach my destination," says a smiling Praburam. And that is the message Praburam aims to propagate. "Don't listen to what others say about you. If you want to do something, if you think you can do it then there's no stopping you," he quips.
Praburam hosting a trip to Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh | Picture credit: Praburam Srinivasan
Praburam's posts on Instagram attracted several of his friends, who contacted him with requests to go on trips that he went on. "That's when I started hosting trips and treks. Initially, a group of 10 people who were strangers to each other went with me to Vagamon in Kerala. They enjoyed the trip so much that they recommended it to other friends," says Praburam. Positive word of mouth went a long way to popularise Navigoto among the younger populace of south India. "Till date, I've hosted over 400 people in 40 trips. These include trekking expeditions in the Himalayas," says Praburam. He particularly enjoys trekking to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand and makes it a point to revisit every year. "While I had been keeping the tradition up for the last three years, I was unable to visit the valley this year due to COVID," rues Praburam.
A full-time SaaS marketer, travelling has now become more than a mere hobby for Praburam. You can find him trekking almost every weekend. Indeed, it was quite difficult for this reporter to get in touch with him over the weekend. He had visited a hill station in Tamil Nadu and had poor network connection. After a long wait, when we finally caught up, Praburam also told us about his favourite places in the south. "I love Vagamon and everything else in Idukki, Kerala. There are so many unexplored places and peaks there. In Tamil Nadu, I love the Nilgiris and the hills in Kodaikanal," he says.
However, Praburam doesn't wish to convert this into a full-time career. "I love my job and it gives me a good salary," he laughingly says, adding, "All I want is to offer a memorable travel and trekking experience to anyone who approaches me. There are several professional companies and trekking groups who do this professionally. But I don't want to blatantly commercialise Navigoto."
Edex and The New Indian Express have been curating the 40 Under Forty list since 2017. We featured collections of impactful grassroots teachers in 2017, innovative start-ups in 2018 and environmental impact-makers in 2019. All the people selected have been chosen after a careful process of editorial selection and nomination. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org