Published: 15th December 2018
Meet this doctor-turned-farmer who is all set to take part in a polar adventure
Babu Sager's application in the Fjällräven Polar has the maximum number of votes until now. We catch up with this traveller
How about a 300 km-long adventurous journey through the Arctic wilderness? Imagine trekking through the snow and trying to survive in the spine-chilling cold. There are days when you’ve even got to sleep outside the tent, embracing the ice-cold wind. This might sound scary to most of us, but once you’re bitten by the travel bug, all you would care about is acing it and showing the world that you’re a superhero of the wilderness.
As the world is gearing up for the next edition of the Fjällräven Polar, one of the most adventurous arctic expeditions, we caught up with Babu Sager, a travel enthusiast who is in the running for the trip and is currently leading with the maximum number of votes in the world. Now, this doctor-turned-farmer has a particular set of superpowers. He has a lot of interesting travel stories to share, right from riding his bike to Ladakh back in the 90s to quitting his job as a doctor in Kerala to settling down in a farm in Manali. So, we thought we must definitely lend an ear. Excerpts from the conversation:
Fjällräven Polar is one of the most difficult expeditions in the world. What prompted you to apply for it?
Last year, my friend Niyog Krishna took part in this expedition. He was the one who insisted that I apply for it. I met him last year when he stayed at my farm during his India trip. He assured that I can survive this and that I can get enough votes to get selected for the journey. Now, I’m a seeker of new experiences and I have always wanted to go to new places. I’ve never been to the polar region before, even though I’ve stayed in extremely cold places in Russia close to that area. So, I thought I’d give it a shot.
Our religion, society and family have set a lot of norms for a common man to follow. But I want to travel through a new path
Babu Sager, Traveller
Tell us a little about your very first trip.
That was in 1996. I was a Bachelor of Microbiology student in Bengaluru. I happened to read an article about Ladakh in a magazine and thought that I should go there. So, I took my RX 100 and began my journey. Your Google Maps didn’t exist back then. I travelled from dhaba to dhaba and the entire trip was done in a span of two months. I stopped by Manali on the way and instantly fell in love with the place. Fast forward 22 years, I’m living in that beautiful place.
You would have had to face a lot of repercussions.
Definitely. My father was irritated and he sent me to Russia to study Medicine. I come from a family of doctors and my family expected me to follow the same path. But every year, I visited Manali in the pretense of going to Europe for a vacation. I love this place. Good water, air and people. That’s what Manali gives you.
How was it to settle down in Manali?
There are a lot of caste issues in Manali. But they don’t impose it on people from other states. You’re welcome everywhere. Also, a lot of tourists come here. So they sort of accepted me easily. My grandfather was a farmer and I loved watching him work. So now I figured out that this is what I love doing the most.