A road trip from Bengaluru to Paris with family sounds impossible right?But they did it and it was one hell of a journey!
Meet Anand and his wife Punita who took a road trip with their kids from Bengaluru to Paris in 111 days. They covered 22,780 kms and more than 50 cities in their sedan – Fiat Linea! Also let’s just take a bow to their epic parenting and driving skills which made their journey such a stellar success. (Yes, the kids were awesome too!)
But why would anyone want to take this crazy trip?
It all started when the family took a road trip from Bangalore to Rajasthan and the idea of a transcontinental road trip struck Anand’s mind. It would be a fascinating experience and Anand wanted to pursue it. Moreover, the timing for him was also perfect since he had recently quit his job for his own entrepreneurial venture.
But wait, there was his family involved too!
So Anand weighed in on the pros and cons before presenting the plan to his wife and kids. He also knew that getting permission for leaves from their kid’s school would be more difficult than the visa formalities of Iran and Uzbekistan!
But somehow, it happened, the school authorities were more than delighted and open to such an amazing and ambitious trip plan! The wife too, had agreed! THE TRIP WAS ON!
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How did they do it?
The Baid’s raised capital for their trip from over 14 countries and well wishers. They gave themselves a name and a purpose “Little Indian Family of Explorers or L.I.F.E” and were now ready for the road trip of a lifetime!
So after exchanging almost 2500 emails and coordinating with 12 different embassies, the family was all set.
Packed with all the essential supplies including medicines, they got their Fiat Linea serviced one last time and set off.
“L.I.F.E had just begun for them!”
The route that they chose was also crafted as per his family member’s interest for example Punita wanted to see Paris and Yash was a fan of the football team FC Barcelona – so they made a detour to Spain.
Crafted around the ancient Silk Route, L.I.F.E’s road map began from India and then crossed Nepal, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and finally ended at France.
What did they experience?
Calling this trip as a fulfillment of destiny, Anand believes that since the whole universe conspired for it to happen – that same universe also made sure they met wonderful people on their journey!
Wherever they went, they found kindness and help with the best one being a woman in Uzbekistan paying for their entire meal without them even knowing about it! Any why? Because she loved India and the Taj Mahal.
However their journey wasn’t as smooth as imagined (obviously). Meals were a challenge but they managed, thanks to the impeccable cooking skills of Punita.
“She would whip up something amazing from the basic ingredients on the portable stove every time we were hungry”.
Apart from this, they faced a major challenge during the earthquakes in Nepal.
“Being trapped in Nepal during the earthquake was an extremely scary situation. We were at the bottom of a valley and rocks kept falling from above for five days straight. Somehow, we managed to get out alive.”
Moving on from scary situations, for Team L.I.F.E, the whole journey was about self discovery and self realization.
“Sometimes you have to journey far from home to find out who you really are. Because we were witnessing so many things at once, there wasn’t any time to assimilate what was happening to us. It’s only after we came back did we understand that we had all grown as individuals. The greatest thing about travel is that while your physical boundaries have stretched, it’s the horizons inside of you that expand, to encompass the world you witnessed.”
To inspire families and travelers who wish to embark on exciting journeys, Punita and Anand give out some really valuable tips:
- Prepare a detailed itinerary and plan before you approach your family with the plan. Everyone has their schedules especially children since they need to take leaves – and the school needs to see tangible value in your plans.
- Keep your children involved during the journey and process for example my kids, Yash & Dhriti, were responsible for scouting hotels, refueling, and washing the car. It brought a sense of responsibility in them.
- Always remember, it is easier to take a trip with children when they are young.
- Allow your children to mingle and understand with different people and cultures. They will gain new experiences and make new friends like my kids. At the same time, it is alright to feel protective too.
- Branding your car will help you at the borders. Our Linea had BLR-PARIS stickers and L.I.F.E livery which added authenticity.
- If possible, attach a camper van to your car. It will save you money on hotels.
- Brush up on your sign language skills before you leave.
Surely, as witnessed by the Baid family, the best and most fruitful experiences in the world come from travel only and that is all L.I.F.E is about.
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