Anand Sankar set up Tons Trails as a means of promoting off-beat travel in one of Uttarakhand’s most beautiful and undiscovered regions, offering tourism that is 100% locally run, socially responsible, sustainable and culturally immersive.
Here are his 15 Questions in 5 Minutes:
1. Who you are (naturally!)
2. What inspired you to create your business?
I wanted to curate authentic mountain experiences in the Indian Himalayas. I find mainstream adventure travel boring and quite lifeless. It bypasses the local people, their traditions and their role in the mountain ecosystem.
3. An anecdote which epitomizes your India?
It was on one of my motorcycle tours. I crashed, my knee and right hand was quite banged up and my co-traveller (a foreigner) was injured with me unable to assist. It was region without ambulances or doctors. A whole host of good samaritans on the road helped us out and ensured we were cared for till we reached medical attention. I have seen this over the years in my personal travels and with clients – India cares, a lot. This part of the India story is never told.
4. One thing that you can’t live without?
Solitude. Even in my tours, I firmly encourage clients many times to explore on their own and seek by themselves.
5. One thing that you hate?
Taking travelers for granted. Sadly, happens in our industry all the time.
6. If you could change one thing about India what would it be?
There is so much friction in travel logistics. Different means of transport don’t seamlessly connect with each other. It really makes for a tedious experience to travel India.
7. Who is your greatest inspiration?
A lot of path breaking social entrepreneurs in the sustainable travel space. It would be unfair to name one of them.
8. What is your favourite quote?
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda
9. I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?
Technology has been a great leveler. It has allowed new travel entrepreneurs to punch above their weight and shake the status quo in the travel industry.
10. What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?
We need to fix travel logistics. It is a shambles. Most potential travellers are put off by this friction. A close second is safety, especially for women travelers, we need to work to make destinations and experiences safe and happy.
11. Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?
I want to drive/ride the breadth of Russia. I am incredibly besotted by Russia.
12. What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?
Bangkok. That is simply not my kind of travel.
13. Book or Movie?
14. Just for fun! I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?
One day I hope to influence UNESCO to declare our humble idli-vada-sambhar from South India as ‘World’s Best Breakfast’.
15. In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year-old self?
Nothing really, I have continued to bash on regardless.
Discover more about Tons Trails and the ethical and culturally immersive tours that they offer on their website