Road Trip

Road Trip

560 560 Kamal Karanth

“Can we have a vacation, kind of a road trip without kids asked my wife” “How Selfish” retorted my daughter immediately, all my friends in the room alluded to my daughter’s feelings! So the idea got trashed, and we never heard of a road trip urge for the next couple of years.

However, every time we came back after our vacations with kids, we started to feel more aligned with my wife’s idea. Just like you, we too love our kids, and till 2014, we religiously did 3-4 vacations a year with kids. As we aged and our kids’ innocence waned, we realized that every holiday with family and friends divided us on many aspects. The frictions around food, entertainment factors, places to visit, dress to wear were only getting complex by the day. We missed the ‘me time’ as friends, and we rarely found time to connect.

Eventually, one of our friends mustered the courage to ditch their kids and initiate a ‘ kids free’ road trip. That was way back in 2014, and the short trip for four days in North Karnataka gave us a picture of how it feels like. Our Parents, In-Laws, came to stay with our children though they weren’t impressed with this idea. They also thought it was kind of selfish! Our road trip in 2014 was a great start; river rafting at Dandeli was the highlight, and for once, we came back without missing our kids. Of course, we were checking on them every day 🙂

In the last five years, we did not find time for ourselves or our children to ensure we did not leave them out of any for any vacations. But in the summer of 2019, 4 of us again made up our mind and convinced our family (kids, parents, In-laws) that we need a vacation for ourselves. Our road trips are with my friend Manoj and his wife. Road trips are comfortable with him as he loves to do the bulk of the driving, and I can relax.

We call our road trip as unplanned as the only plan we have is the direction we need to travel and the duration. 

The only planned part of this trip was that we would be heading north of Karnataka and reach Maharashtra. We only had a week, and we had to make the best of it. One ground rule we had set was that we would not drive more than 300 Kms a day and minimal night travel.

Over these seven days, we drove via Belgaum, Kolhapur, Mahabaleshwar, Pratapgarh, Pune, Shirdi, Aurangabad, Ellora, Ajanta, Solapur, Bijapur. Each day we stayed in a different hotel, the thumb rule was that the ladies had to approve the hotel and customer reviews in our stipulated budget had to give a 4-star review rating. I controlled my anxiety to book hotels in advance as we had to stick to our no plan rule. Every day we would seek the local attractions and local delicacies and book the stay at 6 PM. To my surprise, the best deals and quality hotels were always available just in time at 6.

The highlight in terms of undeniable attraction was Golgumbaz at Bijapur, of course, who can forget the magnificent Ajanta & Ellora caves. But, the conversations we had throughout was most memorable, as we exchanged views, likes, dislikes, relationships, and their impact on us at greater length. Yes, as friends, I go 30 years with Manoj, and our wives now know each other for 15 years plus. There was always a great connect amongst us, but this trip brought newer facets to these relationships, we discovered unknown aspects of each other. Some times we hide our emotions in front of our children, and trips like these allow us to express more freely?

Going on a road trip without kids is sometimes fun as you aren’t defending your plan or trying to control their expectations. I recommend this detox to every parent. Every year if you can!


Chikmagalur Trip

560 560 Kamal Karanth

I strongly Believe long weekends are the best time to be in Bangalore. The reasons are obvious. Many residents leave for their home towns like Hubli, Mangalore, Mysore during this time. Besides, a Significant number of Bangaloreans plan holidays in attractive resorts in and around Karnataka. This means Negligible traffic and insignificant noise pollution in the city. Most of the long weekends, I have enjoyed visiting my favorite eateries and friends due to these reasons.

But This Deepavali, I thought I would add to the outgoing traffic. Three of my classmates were also in a similar mood! So, with their families, we packed our bags and headed to Chikmagalur. The weather forecast wasn’t great, and it was raining forecasted to rain further. But, we thought we would take our chances and drove.

When You have four families traveling the logistics of planning the travel, stay & itinerary; food is complicated. The consensus is impossible, and with six kids in the mix, we had to manage their expectations too. Travel was the first complexity. Our kids were refusing to sit in the third row of the SUVs (when will the automakers think of the 3rd row as seats for human beings?). One of them said when he grows up, he will pack his mom in the boot when he owns his car.

Though it’s only a 5-hour drive our children were pretty irritated by the time we reached there.


On day one, we drove up to Mullayanagiri, the tallest peak in Karnataka. As monsoon is still fading, treks are yet to resume in this part of the world. Hence the climb was about 10 minutes to the peak, not much of a trek. However, the clouds kissing us on top of the mountain is an experience by itself. After all the hustle, we experience in Bangalore the serenity on top, and the chilly weather was refreshing. The pictures I have posted only give a glimpse of what one can experience there. Goes without saying that you have to be there to feel it.

The Night gave us the opportunity to bond, yes there was music, dancing, and some deep conversations facilitated by our children. Everyone had to answer a question 1) The most memorable event in our life so far (other than marriage and passing exams), it was quite revealing to hear what touched our friends’ lives though we bump into each other so often. Seldom we reflect on what touched our lives. Our children had fun listening to us in a different setting, relaxed amongst friends. This was becoming a Family offsite.


Then we got into another exciting but more familiar offsite territory! We had to pay a compliment to one non-family member in the group. As we concluded that compliment round, I realized how we don’t take time out to acknowledge people who mean so much to us. I always rationalized that by spending much of our time with friends, we sort of implicitly tell them how much they mean to us.

On the contrary, when we acknowledged some of them in public, the flow of oxytocin was felt in the room. Some new facets of people experienced by others came to the fore. Like my daughter said later along the mountains and the trek, the conversations were equally exciting.

Next The day we reached Horanadu for another trek. Horanadu is, in fact, famous for Annapurna temple. After the temple visit, we rented a jeep to Kyatanamakki, which is a 20-minute jeep-drive. The roads up there are treacherous, and we were told our cars wouldn’t be able to climb; it was real, and only the power and ruggedness of a jeep can navigate through those challenging roads. The roads had caved in, so the last 2 kilometers, we had to trek reach the top. When you arrive on top you will forget that you climbed 2 kilometers; such is the sight of green mountains around you!

Chikmagalur: Locals Call it Switzerland of Karnataka, and I have to admit its breathtaking, and you can sit there forever; we were lucky that we were the only people on top at that time. It’s a beautiful sight, wherever you see lush green mountains. I haven’t seen a view like that in Karnataka. We spent a couple of hours and walked back to the jeep and the temple for lunch.


Annapurna Temple’s lunch was sumptuous for the tired bodies, and reluctantly, we got into our cars heading to the concrete jungle called Bangalore. I know we used to call Bangalore the garden city once upon a time

It was Three days of greenery and fresh air with four families. I am sure this would be one of the memorable trips we would have gone to as family friends. Come to think of it its 30 years of our friendship, which started as classmates and now extended to our families.

The eating together, travel, music, dance, and the conversations only deepened our bond.

We have Thrown a challenge to our kids. If they can cement a bond with their friends for 30 years and make a trip like this in their life. I know that sounds arrogant, but we were also making a point around making relationships work.