Published: 11th December 2019
Nystagmus aside, will adventure-prone youngster Jayaraj Gedela make it to the North Pole?
Jayaraj Gedela, who hails from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, chatted with Nico Gentry on Facebook to better understand how he can deal with nystagmus — and make the most of life
For someone who stepped out of their hometown for the first time only after class X, travelling can be that passion they never knew they had in them. And that's how it went down for Jayaraj Gedela. It was important for him, travelling, because he was an introvert who forever had his nose in books and was bullied for it too. He was also that nerdy kid who had nystagmus (an involuntary eye movement that might cause vision to blur) but he conquered and reduced it to 15 per cent through eye exercises and meditation. Despite all of this, today, the world is his oyster.
Visakhapatnam to Kerala was his most challenging trip because he travelled on a budget of Rs 3,500. It was one of his most budget-friendly trips
After travelling with his friends, Jayaraj's first solo trip was a budget one - from his hometown of Visakhapatnam to Pune in 2014. In many ways, this was the beginning of the transformation of Jayaraj. "I am now am ambivert and I am also the occasional motivational speaker," says the 23-year-old. He also travelled to Varanasi and hitchhiked all around Tamil Nadu in 2017. "That trip was important because I was travelling for a good cause. I was spreading awareness about the importance of wearing a helmet," says the youngster. He travelled 4,500 km for seven days and visited all the districts of the state to spread his message.
Jayaraj with his bike | (Pic: Jayaraj Gedela)
Usually, people say that one needs a lot of money to travel, but Jayaraj doesn't believe so. He believes one needs only two things — a commitment to go forward with the plan and that bite by the travel bug. "Forget all those comfortable hotels," he urges, "The interaction one has with the locals and their hospitality is unmatched. One must behave like a traveller, not a tourist to truly experience this," says the third-year student of Anil Neerukonda Institute of Dental Sciences.
Jayaraj also indulges in sports like archery and rifle-shooting
So, what else has Jayaraj been up to — besides becoming an ace traveller - since he decided not to be that mousy guy he was back in school? Remember the 'Save Nallamala' protest? He was one of the core team members who was responsible for the online traction it got. He even visited the forest and spoke to the tribal community that lived there. He is currently participating in a online competition conducted by Fjällräven Polar, a company that chooses two contestants from every region to travel across the icy mountains of Norway, close to the North Pole. He has the second-highest votes in his region — a staggering 1,37,560 — supported by a few video bytes from former Additional DGP VV Lakshminarayana.
Jayaraj is also a free climber | (Pic: Jayaraj Gedela)
"Whatever gives me that adrenaline rush, I usually go for it," describes this free climber of Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh. After finishing his studies, he hopes to trek and participate in more events that will get his adrenalin pumping.
For more on him, click on instagram.com/jayarajgedela