India’s first female motovlogger Vishakha Fulsunge, who hails from Mumbai, holds two India Book Of Records, including the title of being the first female rider to cross Bay of Bengal and ride across Andaman Islands.
From being the fastest girl on the KTM Circuit Race at Vroom 2016 to covering difficult terrains of Leh, Ladakh region, the digital content creator is carving a niche for herself in the motovlogging industry. However, Vishaka's journey in the male-dominated arena has been nothing short of a challenge.
In an exclusive interview with the Free Press Journal, 'Ridergirl Vishakha' recalled her journey and how she redefined challenges at every step.
Check out the excerpts here:
What motivated you to embark on your very first journey?
The first step towards the journey is gaining the confidence of your parents. So, I think the word confidence matters a lot because my first journey was to Lonavala, with my mom.
It was monsoon season. I didn't have a proper bike at that time, I had go borrow somebody else's bike. With my mom as a pillion, I had to take safety precautions, helmet, including jacket and boots. That's when I thought that if I ride properly, I'd come back home safely and my parents would gain trust in me and would allow me to go ahead on other rides. So, I think that was my motivation. To gain the trust and confidence of my parents.
As a woman, what’s the most difficult part of solo travelling?
The most difficult part of travelling alone would be trusting humans. For me, it is really difficult because I have faced a lot of problems while travelling.
When I travelled alone during my Nayamada Parikrama ride, the biggest problem was the stay. It was one of the most difficult part because people still think that women can't travel or stay alone. And, if they do, there's something wrong.
The other problems I've faced would be taking breaks during the rides. You cannot take multiple halts to pee, you have to think multiple times before halting and keep checking if someone is following you.
Riding in the night also becomes difficult because if the bike starts giving trouble, repairing it becomes an issue.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced in your career so far?
Biggest challenge I've faced till now are the trolls, negative comments, people who don't want to see you go ahead in life. I used to get comments like 'showoff ke liye karti hai'. The biggest challenge is proving them wrong. Like, you told me I can't do it and I still did it.
To overcome the negativity and build positivity within has been the biggest challenge as initially there was a pause in my career due to these comments and trolls. But, I think now I've managed to ignore and restrict such comments.
Do people tend to underestimate your achievements just because you’re a woman?
Yes, people tend to underestimate your achievements because you are a woman.
They think it is easy for me to gain followers or subscribers by wearing short clothes and putting on makeup or I can just lure the people around and it'll be easy for me to get a project, which is completely wrong.
You have to actually work hard towards it and I know how much hard work I've put into it. I have given my blood, sweat and tears and there have been situations that were extremely difficult for me. But, people think that just because I am a girl, I'll get the achievements.
I hold four records in my name and they've cost me everything. I had to sacrifice one thing or the other for every record I've set.
Your name is usually taken with titles like ‘first FEMALE rider’ or ‘rider GIRL’, how do you feel about that?
I think the titles "First female" or "Rider Girl" make me feel really proud about my gender. I didn't want to seem feminist here, but it feels really good.
Initially when I started, there were only boys around me and when the statement mentions that there is a female or girl, people get to know that there is a girl in this community. And now, I feel good and proud because women are doing things that they traditionally wouldn't and why not? I am proud because I am a woman, I am a girl and I am a female.
It feels good when I am representing my country as a motor vlogger when there is an international motovloggers meet up. When they call out my name as 'RiderGirl Vishakha from India' It makes me feel really proud.
Three tips you would like to give your female followers who are planning for a solo trip.
1. Trust yourself and stay confident. Doesn't matter what the situation is. You are the only one who can help yourself get out of the situation and nobody else is going to come and help you. It's a solo trip so you have to help yourself.
2. Plan your trip carefully and be 100% prepared for even the most unexpected things that may happen on the way.
3. Just enjoy it. Go with the flow and eave the rest on the road because you can trust the roads 100%.