The Baid family seem to possess a great zest for travelling. Anand, Punita, and their kids Yash and Driti drove for 111-days on 11-countries enroute road trip from India to France.
Starting from Bengaluru and ending it in Paris, they travelled through India, Nepal, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, and France.
When queried on what made them do this Punita Baid states that she had two months of vacation and her husband had just quit his job. She decided to approach their kid’s school principal for permission to embark on this adventure. They also exchanged countless emails with over 12 embassies and planned it all in detail from scratch.
‘I approached the school principal at Deens Academy to see if she would grant us an extended break for an expedition,” Anand explained to BuzzFeed India. “Once she heard the overall plan and places we would be visiting, she agreed by saying ‘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 our approach towards the expedition’, Punita told Buzzfeed.
After seven months of strenuous planning, this adventurous family embarked on their drive on 8 April 2015.
In 111 days, the family drove past the Himalayas, climbed sand dunes in western China, swam in the Caspian Sea, walked through the Acropolis of Athens, and visited the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and lots more.
‘Frustration is a good thing and the outcome of it can sometimes be very sweet. For instance, a road trip that spans 11 countries for 111 days’, stated Anand.
“I was frustrated seeing all the beautiful things nature and culture from different countries have to offer on television. Hence, the penchant for road-trips was stemmed in us for a few years now. My wife and I have travelled extensively on road, both in India and the US. We loved the experience.” he added.
“While I had my own doubts in the beginning, I convinced myself that this will be an experience of a lifetime, in particular for the kids,” Punita told BuzzFeed.
“The planning aspect of the journey became an everyday conversation for the four of us. Till the end I took my time to come to terms with what lay ahead for us. Now that we have done the trip, I am more than happy we experienced life in a unique and adventurous way,” she added.
Apart from the sights and sounds of the countries they visited, Anand said that there were many memorable experiences along the way.
“The journey had its share of ups and downs – like getting stuck in Nepal–China border during the earthquake where we had to sleep in our car for five nights due to damaged roads”, Punita stated.
As a vegetarian family, China and Central Asia would always be a challenge. Which is why they also carried a portable stove and some utensils. Not to mention that, they had to use them very often.
They faced many such issues – when in Iran they realized it has no concept of serving vegetarian food. They had to show pictures of vegetables to the chefs.
Apart from the sights and sounds of the countries they visited, Anand said that there were many memorable experiences along the way, that made the trip worth it!
“In Samarqand, Uzbekistan, an Uzbek lady paid for our pizza without letting us know and she left. When we walked up to pay the bill, we learnt what had happened. We quickly rushed out to look for her and asked her why she did so – she said she was very fond of the Taj Mahal and would like to visit India someday and this was a small gesture. We thanked her and took a picture with her,” he said.
Finally the Baid family flew back to India from Paris, but don’t worry, their trusted companion the Fiat – also the “fifth member” of their family – was shipped back home safe.
The family said that another trip might be on the cards very soon. “We covered west for now and we are starting to look east. Who knows!”
To see more photos, visit Overland Stories, where the Baid family has documented their journey!
We are spellbound by their amazing courage and consistency. Hats off to this amazing family!