“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 trips 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 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!