My guidebook for a fun road trip

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By the time we hit our 30’s, almost all of us have been on some form of a road trip. Be it a family picnic in the rickety family car with screaming babies and irritating siblings; or best friends bundled on the back of a road ways bus giggling with anticipation of adventures; or taking the precious, sparkling new car out for a spin to the closest dhaba on the highway; we have had our share of the good, the bad and the ugly while out on the road. For me road trips started as “off sites”, corporate excuses to leave the city and continue to pretend to work. Over the years, the distances increased, the companions changed, the sensibilities became more fine-tuned and my old i20, although still running quite well, squeaks and whimper on every bump demanding retirement. Soon, I say, just as soon as we get to Leh and back.

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In the meantime, I got thinking, what is it that I enjoy on my trips? As trite as it may sound, I like my journeys to be as much fun as the destination. Through much research and experience, I have loosely formulated my guidebook for a fun road trip. So here it goes.

It is no fun if you don’t have the RIGHT COMPANY. Right from word go, this trip is going to be tiresome. Whether you are the driver or the passenger, if your fellow travellers are not on the same planet as you are, you aren’t going to survive the trip with all your senses, or friendships, intact. So, be selective.

Be ready to LET GO… Let go of plans, ego, your style of travel… Improvise and adapt. If something is left unseen or un-done, leave it for the next visit – there should be reason for you to come back. If you intended to stop at Haldiram for breakfast break, and instead a dhaba beckoned you, go for it!

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Make good time. LEAVE EARLY, REACH EARLY. There may be a sunset you can catch or just plain unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening.

TALK your hearts out…yap, yap, and yap! World peace or a sexy two-piece, let there be no dearth of topics. It is surprising how people you have known all your life, can still share new experiences and new tales.

SING ALOUD, sing out of tune, scream your heads off but get those vocal chords moving. Listen to music and sing along. Even if you don’t know the words, join in the chorus or just hum along. Driver’s choice of songs rules! After all, he/she needs to be the one awake no matter what.

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Travel LIGHT ON CLOTHES and HEAVY ON CASH. Cards are good, but they may not be accepted everywhere. You don’t want to be stuck in such a place, so carrying some cash is always a good idea.

A GOOD BOOK in your bags is also an absolute essential item for just before tucking in for the night…or if you come across a particularly inviting tree shade!

Eat all that you can and try the local flavor. DITCH THE DIET. Travel is synonymous with food, so indulge those taste buds. CARRY YOUR MEDS and hope that you need to use none of them.

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Meet strangers and make friends. TALK TO PEOPLE everywhere. Trust the people you meet but trust your instinct more and exercise caution.

DSC_0500 SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY. Buy what is locally being made or produced. A small token even if you don’t “need” it.

As my travelling and journeys increased, I developed new hobbies. Birding, photography and yes, cooking (the new food I taste). It has now become imperative to be on the road and take a trip because I connect with me on these joy rides. I enjoy the drive and the calmness that it brings to me.

For anybody wanting to travel I strongly suggest to drop the checklist and the list of “sightseeing” places. Sometimes doing nothing counts for far more. Always have fun and let nothing dampen the spirits.

Happy road tripping!

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