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“…And Then We Did Something Unexpected on the Trip” – Navin Raaj Mathavan

Home » Muslim Travel Experiences » “…And Then We Did Something Unexpected on the Trip” – Navin Raaj Mathavan

Hello Tripfezroamers,

We would like you to virtually meet Navin Raaj Mathavan, an aircraft maintenance engineer at KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). Say HI NAVIN out loud in your mind everybody… and since Navin travels a lot, we asked him few questions about his passion for travel.

T: What you would want to be known for besides being an aircraft engineer?

N: To be honest, although I work for an airline company, I would love to own a speedboat. I love how it crashes through the waves and goes forward as the cool sea breeze just overwhelms the mind and body and on one fine day, I hope to become a guide in Thai waters, bringing tourist around magical mysterious islands with a speedboat or with the Thai’s traditional longboat. I’m more of a people person and I love talking to people. I would love to make the oldies feel young again, couples feel special and the kids to feel loved on that trip. I  want to be a guide that people would remember for years. Living by the beach, living a simple life.

T: What inspires you to take train or any other form of transport despite having the luxury benefiting free flight tickets from the company you work for?

N: I was at Phuket two years ago with Prash my buddy in crime when we met two guys from the UK that travelled following the coastline using Jet skis’ from (I don’t really know where) following through India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and they were planning to jump to Bali next. That really inspired us to see the world differently like literally go see it with other means of transport than just flying there with AirAsia. Apart from that, we also went hiking all the way up to Everest Base Camp, and only then, I realized that impossible is nothing. I have a motto every year. This year’s motto was ” What is there that I cannot do?” and the answer is ” Nothing “.

T: What excites you more when travelling? Meeting new people? Experiencing a new culture? Adventure? Or any other..

N: It’s definitely the adventure I must say. We (me and Prash) don’t spend too much on hotels or food. We only gather information on what to do and how to slot it in 5 to 6 days of travel. We normally don’t book or plan anything except for flight tickets. Here’s a short example of the adventure I meant.

We decided to go to Lombok in Indonesia to climb Mount Rinjani, an active volcano. We got tricked by the locals halfway saying that they won’t continue the trip unless we pay more so we’ve decided to go without them. Our battery died on the trip, like completely drained out so no pictures at all but it was an amazing experience to stand there with a gas mask on. The next day, we wanted to go to Gili Trawangan islands in Lombok and got tricked again. This time it was the cab driver who took us to a brief jungle where his friend operated the boat and said that it would cost RM 200 per person to get across from the mainland to Gili. After a short discussion, we said no. He laughed at us and said there was nowhere else we could go in the dark forest.

We laughed at him back and slept near to one of the broken boats. We used it as a shelter from the cold. The worst part was the cold-hearted mosquitoes that kept us up all night. We make it through the night and when the sun rose, we heard people nearby, walked over and talk to the friendly locals and they gave us a direction to Bangsal (the pier) for ferry services. It was almost 15km away. We walked for almost an hour while trying to flag down cars passing by the main road. No one helped us. Once we reached Bangsal, we found out it was only RM15 ferry for 20mins ride to Gili Trawangan.

Now that’s the kind of adventure we yearned for. The mosquitoes, cold weather, no dinner, using our shirts in the bag to cover the broken boat to make it as a shelter plus start a fire using dry leaves with a lighter is the experience that excites us the most.

T: Your best travel incident/story that might inspire others to travel too?

N: Every single trip we have gone together or with others had an incident of its own, but one the most unforgettable experience was when me and my friend, Prashanthan packed our bags and went to Sabah to hike Mount Kinabalu. I was not fit but still managed to reach the peak. Anyway, we came back down and went to Kota Kinabalu town to recover and finish up our days there but the backpackers hotel we stayed had WIFI so we just couldn’t stop googling for things to do despite the fact that we’re so tired from hiking Mount Kinabalu and then we did something  really unexpected on the trip, we decided to swim across an island.

We took a boat from Jesselton Point to Gaya island. There we went jungle trekking until we had a full view of the island across called Sapi island. We unpacked our bags and hid them in under the mangrove trees. Only bringing cigarettes wrapped with a plastic bag that we engineered it in such a way that water would not damage the goods. So I shoved the plastic bag down my pants hoping that it won’t get wet and we swam across from one island to another. We reached there in less than an hour. Tired but it was an achievement worth celebrating with cigarettes from down my pants. To our surprise, it was dry. We sat there for almost 2 hours puffing away laughing about what we have done and if there are others out there that are crazy enough like us. I would give up anything to travel the world. I would rather die with memories not dreams. Only dead fish goes with the flow of the river. So wake up, walk out and explore.