Wanderlust shouldn’t stop when kids come along, feel travellers Gangadhar Krishnan and Ramya. After working for 17 years in the corporate sector — designing rugged electronics for ships, submarines and aircrafts — Gangadhar quit his job and decided to travel full-time. He owns a niche travel business (Unwind@Unexplored), focussed on responsible and sustainable travel in Northeast India. They also enable rock climbing, rappelling and overnight camping for families in and around Hyderabad.
The family did a 90-day life-altering road trip in their Tata Nano in 2019 where they covered 13,000 km, 15 States and 3 international borders. “My wife and I believe that travel enables great conversations. We would travel together all the time and when our daughters were born, we felt we shouldn’t stop. Parents often blame their kids for missing something they are passionate about, but why not make them a part of it,” asks Gangadhar, who is fondly called as Gangu by his friends and family.
After going to school until third grade, 9-year-olds Amulya and Ananya are currently being roadschooled by Gangu and Ramya in States such as Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and unschooled when not travelling. They are focusing on life skills like cooking, cleanliness, self-defence, handling fears, values, ethics, kindness, humility and respect for animals. They also study maths and science if they like to.
“We have been travelling since they were just 6 months old; our first trip together was to Coorg. Apart from Northeast, we’ve even covered almost the entire South India. In our experiences, we’ve seen our kids understand the Pythagorean theorem without actually being taught at school and understand the importance of simple acts of kindness by people,” says Gangu.
Talking about memorable moments from their 90-day trip, little Amulya says, “30 days into our trip, while we were at Sikkim, I was bit by a monkey and had to get injections! My favourite experience is when we stopped at the Maredumilli Waterfalls in Andhra Pradesh, 10 days into our trip. I could slide on a 10-feet slope into the water. We spent 3 hours bathing and playing. I call it the Wonderla Waterfalls!” she exclaims.
Ramya loves her experience at Anu Homestay in Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh. “The lady there was so sweet. And we even made so many friends in Meghalaya who are still in touch. We also attended the Orange Festival in Tamenglong and it was beautiful!” says Ramya who is a yoga instructor and former teacher.
As they missed travelling terribly, the family did a contactless trip to Mysuru. “We loved travelling during the pandemic as there’s no traffic and pollution,” laughs Gangu and adds, “We made sure we cooked our own food by carrying a pocket stove. And coming to washroom, we used a changing tent wherever possible. So, it was completely safe and hygienic.”
If you are inspired by their story and want to start your first road trip, Gangu’s advise is to start small and never Google to make an itinerary. “Unplanned trips are the best!” he says. “I love road trips. I love driving. More women should start doing trips. My girl gang and I are planning a road trip from Kanyakumari to Kashmir next,” concludes Ramya.
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