Anand and his wife have traveled extensively on-road both in India and the US. They loved the experience. On one such family trip with wife and kids in their trusted Fiat Linea couple years ago. The trip involved traveling from Bangalore to Rajasthan and back in 21 days and over 6000kms, Anand jokingly told kids that it was a warm-up to a world tour in 2020. That idea of a world tour stuck their head and started doing basic research and turned out that it indeed is possible to overland into other countries from India.
As It Started
Both Yash and Dhriti had two months of summer vacations. Anand was quitting his job to pursue personal goals. So, the parents approached the school Principal at Deens Academy to see if she would grant them an extended break for an expedition. Once she heard the overall plan and places they would be visiting, she agreed right away. She told that ‘the amount of exposure the children would gain would be immense in such an adventure where the kids would see places that they often read in textbooks’. Her consent solidified their approach towards the Expedition.
Slowly the plan started shaping up. The one major concern was food, as they were vegetarians. They carried their own stove and cooked whenever they could. They also decided to buy clothes on the journey only, rather than carrying in the luggage.
The route saw Team L.I.F.E travel on the famous Silk-Route which has been of historical importance for trade and culture for hundreds of years from east to west.
The route plan was India, Nepal, Tibet-China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, and France. They omitted Switzerland to be sure they did not miss out on Spain, as it was a promised-land for Yash.
“One of the best parts about traveling by-road is the ‘flexibility’ to stop at a certain place for as long as you like. It could be sunset, a scenic landscape, a waterfall, or meeting the local people. The road simply opens up a lot of opportunities to venture into off-beat paths.”
Highlights of the Trip
They drove past the Himalayan mountain range in Tibet at 17000 feet which literally is the roof of the world, climbed sand-dunes as high as huge mountains in Western China. They witnessed temperatures from -6 to 42 degrees throughout the journey, sudden snowfall in the middle of nowhere in Kyrgyzstan. Witnessing the rich culture and rich traditions of Uzbekistan, and visiting world’s largest burning crater called Darwaza, which is burning for over 40 years now in Turkmenistan were also among the highlights of the trip.
Team L.I.F.E swam in the world’s largest landlocked water body, the Caspian Sea in Iran. They saw the unique landscapes of Turkey formed by Volcanic eruptions and wind-erosions. The family walked inside the Acropolis of Athens, learning the history of the Trojan War. The architectural marvels of Rome that are centuries old like Leaning Tower of Pisa, Vatican City, Colosseum etc. were the other attractions of the trip. They also saw the concepts of Vertical Farming where plants are grown vertically instead of on the ground.
They drove on the world’s highest bridge in France – Millau Viaduct. And the ultimate highlight was in reaching Paris and visiting the Palace of Versailles and the Eiffel Tower where the epic adventure-journey came to an end.
The kids had a lot of experiences happening in front of them, which was the main advantage of the trip. Those were the lessons they could only learn through a trip, and not from school. For Punita, the trip was one without any agenda, and they went to see what they like and enjoyed it. Anand, who believes in transcending rather than arriving at a destination, strongly feels that there is nothing that can prepare you for life better than traveling.
Anand, who is running ‘Native Puppets Animation’ – India’s first and only Online Animation School says that, as team L.I.F.E covered West, for now, they are starting to look East.
Pictures and Post credits: OverlandStories