Thomas photographed on one of this adventures
Thomas photographed on one of this adventuresInstagram/Rency Thomas

Meet Rency Thomas, Man On A Solo Voyage Across The Ganga River

Thomas intends to become the first individual to travel the entire stretch of the Ganga River, spanning 2600 km, within 100 days

If there is a story of sheer grit, then 36-year-old Rency Thomas from Kanyakumari is its living testament. When he was diagnosed with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a condition without a cure and recurring episodes, he did not dwell on it. The pain from arthritis became his driving force as he immersed himself fully in outdoor activities. This was back in college when he was already an NCC Air Wing Cadet, flying Microlight Aircraft. The sudden shift in his life made him more resilient, and he continued his adventure journey. Despite the health challenges, Thomas found solace in nature and started his venture, Live360 Adventures, an adventure tourism firm based in Himachal Pradesh's Manali.

Rency Thomas
Rency Thomasgrencythomas/Instagram

Thanks to Thomas' perseverance, he is now on an extraordinary 100-day solo human-powered expedition across the Ganga River. "My mission is to become the first solo person to traverse the entire course of the Ganga River, spanning 2600 km from its source at Gaumukh to the mouth at Ganga Sagar in the Bay of Bengal within 100 days. This journey is all about human strength," he told Outlook Traveller.

Starting the voyage on November 5, 2023, Thomas has already covered the Gaumukh, Gangotri, and Devprayag stretch. Currently making his way through the challenging terrains of the mighty Himalayas, the entrepreneur-cum-adventurer aims to wrap up the journey within the stipulated time frame.

Excerpts from the interview here.

Q

What inspired you to take up this expedition?

A

I did a Ganga source-to-sea expedition, leading eight women explorers and adventurers from all seven continents. This expedition was done on motor boats in 2015, and since then, I have dreamt of doing the entire stretch solo without relying on any motorised modes of transport.

Rency Thomas
Rency Thomasgrencythomas/Instagram
Q

What made you choose the Ganga River and Uttarakhand as the destinations for this expedition?

A

The Ganga is India's most pivotal river, with over 40 per cent of its population dwelling in its expansive basin. Its significance lies in its might and the life it fosters across regions. Uttarakhand, as the birthplace of this holy river, embodies the true spirit of the Ganga and its surroundings in their most authentic form. Here, the river runs wild, showcasing a rawness unparalleled in any other state along its course.

Rency Thomas
Rency Thomasgrencythomas/Instagram
Q

Please enlighten us on your journey as a traveller. When did you begin, and what inspired you to continue with it full-time?

A

I am an adventurer running Live360 Adventures, an adventure tourism company based in Himachal Pradesh's Manali. My journey began during my college days as an NCC Air Wing Cadet, flying Microlight Aircraft. However, during my final year, I was diagnosed with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a condition without a cure, destined for recurring episodes. The pain from arthritis has been my driving force to immerse myself fully in the outdoors. Nature has been my solace, offering relief and profound joy amidst the health challenges.

Rency Thomas
Rency Thomasgrencythomas/Instagram
Q

Throughout the 100-day journey, what modes of transportation do you intend to use?

A

I have already hiked 18 kilometres from Gaumukh to Gangotri, at approximately 4000 meters. Subsequently, a 272-kilometer mountain bike journey followed from Gangotri to Devprayag, where the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers converge to form the Ganga. I will continue with a 65-kilometre whitewater kayaking venture from Devprayag to Rishikesh. Lastly, a sea kayaking expedition spanning around 1250 kilometres from Rishikesh to Ganga Sagar Island, where the Ganga merges with the Bay of Bengal, will follow.

Q

Please brief us on the challenges one faces during long expeditions.

A

Securing funds is the biggest challenge for long trips such as this journey. Its size brings forth numerous logistical hurdles in planning and execution. Managing logistics proves difficult, particularly in ensuring safety with a support crew. Moreover, preparing oneself both physically and mentally emerges as a significant hurdle. Mental fortitude is as crucial as physical fitness in completing an expedition of this magnitude.

Q

What activities do you enjoy when you are not on the road?

A

As a full-time adventure professional, my life mainly revolves around travelling. But when not travelling, I like relaxing at home, cooking, eating and enjoying my drinks.

Q

What will be your message for people who want to go on a similar expedition as yours? Any tips for them?

A

Pursue your passion wholeheartedly. When aiming for something exceptional and different, plan thoroughly and commit fully. Believe in your goals and work towards them; success will align with your efforts.

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