adventure awaits at rustic himalayan adventure with rajat khadka
Who doesn’t like to travel? Seeking out amazing hikes along pristine trails, discovering hidden gems like local restaurants nestled in mountain towns, or top-notch cultural experiences in small villages?
This month we interview Mr. Rajat Khadka, Founder at Rustic Himalayan Adventures, and the man behind organizing and going to many exciting adventure tours right here in Nepal.
HOW DID THIS ALL START? WHAT KINDLED YOUR LOVE FOR TRAVELLING?
I was very much interested in outdoor activities since childhood. I did my schooling from DAV and always took part in extracurricular activities. But since my dad is a doctor, he wanted me pay more attention to my education and pursue the medical field. But I never took education as the only thing in life. For me, education was only something by which I could increase my knowledge. However, I always enjoyed learning new things.
After completing my schooling, I joined Xavier International College to continue my further studies in A-levels and took Microbiology as my major subject. And while I was doing all of this, I realized how so done I was with studies. That was it for me.
As my life’s love was the great outdoors, I used to gather with my friends and always go out on a ride. I spent most of the time with my mountain bike in those days and that is basically how I started travelling and loved exploring even more. Eventually I completed my high school, after which I started going to places on my cycle as solo bag packing trips.
My dad however wanted me to do MBBS. He had a wish and that wish was to see me in a white coat and my sister in a black one. I applied to Bangladesh and Philippines for the course. In the meantime, I had some time so I thought why not try Kathmandu University for the MBBS. Unfortunately, I did not do well in the entrance exam because the course was not the same. I had also applied for BDS and passed the exam, but my dad still wanted me to pursue my degree in MBBS. I had already lost 2 years by this time. In the third year, when I was about to leave for Philippines, I again gave my exams here and passed my BDS exams for the third time. My dad then thought I was born to be a dentist.
So, I passed my exams in Kantipur Dental College and started studying there. And I must say that I was doing quite good. But when I completed my fourth year, something just struck me and I started doing more adventurous stuffs like mountain biking, bungee jumping, trekking. I was still a student but I also was a dog instructor too, and that helped me finance all of these that disappointed my dad.
THAT IS AN AWESOME STORY. SO, WHAT GOT YOU STARTED IN THE BUSINESS?
That one is pretty simple, like I said, I loved setting up trips with friends. So, I decided to tell my father that I wanted to quit my dental studies and go into being a tour guide. My father gave up and offered that if I had the determination to do good in the travel and tour industry, why not start my own company. I liked the idea, did my research, and 2 years later we are still going strong.
“WE HAVE VERY HIGH STANDARDS. THAT’S WHY OUR GUIDES ARE THE FINEST LOCAL EXPERTS AROUND – RENOWNED FOR THEIR INSIDER’S KNOWLEDGE, LEADERSHIP, AND ABILITY TO ANTICIPATE YOUR EVERY NEED.”
TELL US MORE ABOUT RUSTIC HIMALAYAN ADVENTURE? WHAT SETS IT APART FROM OTHER ADVENTURE COMPANIES?
Rustic Himalayan is a best in the class, owned, and operated by an adventure junkie; myself. The carefully curated and ultra-personalized itineraries allow guests to experience the land, the people, and the culture in the most immersive, energizing, and inspiring way possible. With the years of experience and access to our amazing tour sites, our knowledge, credibility, and insider access offer an experience that is – simply put – unparalleled. We have very high standards. That’s why our guides are the finest local experts around – renowned for their insider’s knowledge, leadership, and ability to anticipate your every need.
LET’S TALK ABOUT TRIP PLANNING. I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT GOES INTO DEVELOPING A NEW ADVENTURE. WHEN YOU’RE BUILDING A NEW PLAN, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?
That is a tough one. It varies from destination to destination. I mean, I wouldn’t look for the same thing in a base camp trek as I would in a bike trip. Typically, I start with some level of insight or a suggestion from someone that has been there or wants to go. In other words, we might have a past guest that suggests something. But one thing is for sure, we do a lot of research on the road and the weather conditions because that is crucial in Nepal.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DECIDE ON NEW DESTINATIONS?
Once I get a hunch, I just start looking further into it. Researching on the web has made trip development a lot easier. I can honestly say the one thing we do not do is just knock off other tour operators. We want each trip to have the Rustic Himalayan Adventure original. Once I have a better understanding of an area, that’s when the fun starts and a trip to the area is scheduled. If I can bring along a friend or someone that has been there, great. If not, I just start checking out trails and rides and such. It often takes several visits, endless hours of research, and several dry runs to get a trip where we want it.
DO YOU PERSONALLY SCOUT OUT ALL THE NEW TRIPS AND DESTINATIONS?
I decided many years ago that we do not want to put guests on a trip unless I run the program start to finish. That too has evolved over the years. Sometimes we invite our other tour guides to join us the first time we run a trip with guests.
INTERVIEWED BY SHREEYA SANGROULA