Anitha Reddy is many things – a mother, a barefoot runner, a vegan, a yoga lover, a wanderer and beyond everything, an adventurer. Always ready for new experiences and challenges, today she talks about the life-changing journey she is about to undertake where she will drive from Europe to Russia, with no support, set route or plan!
Q. Tell us about the huge challenge you are about to embark on with your friend Chandini. Who are the “Happy Harriet’s”and what is in store for them the next few months?
Happy Harriet is the first women’s team of Indian-origin doing The Mongol Rally – an intercontinental car rally that begins in Europe and ends in Ulan-Ude, Russia after driving through Mongolia. Described as the “Greatest Adventure in the World”, it sees on average a 70% completion rate. We will be driving through 20 countries spanning a month and a half.
There are three fundamental Rules of the Rally:
1. Rally vehicles have a 1000cc engine limit
2. Rally teams are unsupported
3. Rally teams need to raise at least £1000 for charity
Doing the rally was an impromptu decision. I have always followed my heart. This was more like a calling. A ride through the unknown with basics is about facing your worst fears. There’s fear, there’s excitement there’s nervousness, there’s stress.
A week before the rally, we had to sell the car we picked up a month ago because of paperwork issues. We bought a 2002 model car now and it’s been to the garage already twice in 2 days. This is an example of how the next 6 weeks is going to be – Unprepared and unpredictable
Being a women’s team we also look forward to inspiring more women too follow their passions irrespective of what it is and what the circumstances are. We truly believe “a happy soul contributes to a happy society”!
Q. What motivated you to start running barefoot? Tell us a few adventures you’ve had post that decision.
After many failed attempts trying to run injury free with some of the best shoes – I happened to see barefoot runners and there was an immediate connect to the concept. After a slow transition from shoes to barefoot, I could feel and see happy, healthy feet. This further motivated me to live barefoot.
In the 18 months of living barefoot – I have been able to handle temperatures ranging from -3C to 47C without injuries. I did a Himalayan trek of 240kms where I walked in snow for over an hour. I look forward to more adventures barefoot!
Q. You’ve recently volunteered at the INK Conference. What was your experience?
The INK conference was my entry into a world where everyone was special. Where both success and failures are celebrated equally. In the one month time I was there, I learned how difficult it is to get varied talents onto one stage and give the audience the best of speakers in a short span of 3 days. INK2016 for me was coming together of the best of audience, speakers and the INK team. Hats off to Lakshmi for her untiring efforts to get the best of everything together.
Q. Did you meet anyone during the conference who particularly inspired you?
Meeting and hearing filmmaker Ere Gowda was the most inspiring part of the INK conference for me. His simplicity and strength to achieve beyond his means shows the path to many more to never give up on your dreams.
Q. Right at this moment, what is the thing closest to your heart that you would speak about on stage? What thought would you hope to leave behind in the audience’s minds?
The thing closest to my heart is “achieving nothing”. We give names and adjectives to achievement without enjoying the feeling in a true format. Any achievement when accompanied by need for approval becomes a burden which we carry around in spite of losing it’s significance. I would like the audience to think beyond the names we give for achievement.
Find out more about Happy Harriet and Anitha’s upcoming adventure on their homepage here. They are aiming to raise money for 200 kids and you can support their cause by making a donation here. Here’s wishing them all the very best!