Carpe Diem! Things You do not Learn in Classrooms
Throughout the history of humankind, cutting across racial, religious, cultural, and geographical lines, long term travel
has been celebrated as one of the most important ways of acquiring knowledge. Even in ancient Indian literature, Upanishadas and Dhammapada glorify the virtues of long term, and often aimless, traveling. In spite of the rich history of traveling Indians and the interesting insights gleaned by them in the past, most of the modern day Indians are unwilling to quit their jobs and travel around the world to learn.
After years of growing up in a middle class Indian family and following the standard path of Engineering-GRE-
graduate school education in the United States, Mauktik Kulkarni decided to take a break from this normal world and
traveled solo on a motorcycle in South America for six weeks. With virtually no vocabulary of Spanish, he somehow
managed to cover 8000 kilometers in Peru, Chile and Argentina. His experiences are published as a memoir titled “A Ghost of Che: A Motorcycle Ride through Space, Time, Life, and Love.”
The exciting adventures and the strangers that he met from all walks of life on the motorcycle trip prompted Mauktik to plan an even bigger, longer adventure. After coming back from the motorcycle trip in 2008, he worked for four years, quit his job, and traveled around the world for one year. With meager belongings, he managed to visit 36 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
This lecture, accompanied by a PowerPoint slide show, summarizes the thrilling, strange, scary, exhilarating, and
sometimes exhausting experiences from the round-the-world adventure. More importantly, it attempts to inspire
the youth to break out of the mold, follow their dreams, and carve out their own place in the world.
Mauktik Kulkarni, Mauktik is an Electronics and Telecom engineer , and has an MS in Biophysics and Computational
Biology (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and an MS in Neuroscience (Johns Hopkins University).