Reminiscing their days on the road and bored of being bound by the four walls of their rented home in Bengaluru, a travelling couple bids adieu to the stationary work desk to embrace the nomadic life once again. Their journey takes them to the royal side of Udaipur, tranquility at Amritsar, and many indulgent treats along the way. By Sharanya and Nikhilesh (Hungrytrippers)
A bright sunny Monday morning, we are all set to log in for another day of work from home. A look passed between us and the thought on our minds is undeniable. We sip our morning tea amidst office blues, reminiscing our mutual passion for travel and exploration that had brought our curious selves together in the first place. It takes us the next few minutes to call our landlord and tell him we would be vacating our rented apartment in Bengaluru for good.
When the pandemic first set in, we resigned ourselves to the corporate work from home culture, chained to our laptops all day long, hesitant to knock on opportunity’s door. But having spent the last year entirely with each other, it is time to rediscover our work-life relationship and turn the page of our lives with a new journey. We take the dreaded plunge and chart out our month-long mission to manage work and life while we traverse through the west and north of India.
Soon after, we fly to Mumbai to meet our travel companion—our parents’ eight-year-old Ford Figo. Considering it lay as dormant as us, we would have to trust each other to get by. With a dose of vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test in hand, we set out on our journey to Udaipur with a stop at Ahmedabad for a night.
Our trip begins by exploring Udaipur, as most of the tourists do. However, one of the biggest highlights of our trip, is the opportunity to meet Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of the Royal family of Mewar, who not only extends his exquisite experiences at The Darikhana, Jagmandir and Taj Lake Palace to us, but also very kindly extends an invite to lunch. Our conversation with him gives us an authentic insight to the history and lesser-known facts about the region. We’re grateful to have such a royal and enriching experience!
Moving on, we indulge in street shopping at Bapu Bazaar in Jaipur, and pop into Mahavir Rabri Bhandar for rabri and piping hot ghee-laden bajra rotis. Further up, drool-worthy North Indian treats await. From butter chicken at Have More in New Delhi to shopping for phulkaris at Amritsar’s Katra market…every stop leaves us bedazzled. We ensure a stopover at the mesmerising Golden Temple during the night to take in the serenity of the auspicious atmosphere. Palampur offers us its beautiful scenery, leaving us hypnotised at first glance. It is the perfect end to a trip filled with scenic and gastronomic delights!
Unlike our previous travels, this trip is quite different. We’ve saved up on hefty Bengaluru rent and stayed in goSTOPS’ hostels that have good internet connection, workstations and backup power to meet our work needs. We spend at least one week in every city, starting our days early to explore the sights before beginning our work day, and resuming to explore the night life after our virtual swipe out.
Our weekends are spent traveling to new destinations and enjoying the ride to follow. With most places opening early and closing late, the flexible visiting hours work in our favour. Our hostels are centrally-located and walking to our destinations takes us little to no time.
Work from home has taken a new meaning for us. It means taking a peek at the beautiful scenery over Zoom calls and making friends with travellers like us in hostel workstations, bonding over our mutual interests and chatting with locals who give us a novel perspective. Despite hectic work schedules, we manage to complete the trip without taking a single day off from work!
Even with a shoe-string budget, the presence of eclectic street food satisfies our palate and how! We have breakfast in hospitable local hostel rooms that are furnished with all required kitchen amenities. Udaipur’s abundant tiffin services serving delectable homely food and Amritsar’s ghee-laden fluffy rotis and kulchas are affordable to all kinds of travellers, while Palampur comforts us with warm scrumptious dal-rice. We manage a month-long on-the-road appetite, without it falling heavy on our pockets. In the midst, we find time to spoil ourselves with restaurant delicacies and undiscovered local cuisine.
Looking back at our eventful yet sublime travels, we know we missed out on visiting a few places owing to the brunt of work. But we are proud to have manifested such a beautiful culmination of our plans and efforts in covering six cities across approximately 4,500 kilometres. As work beckons us back to our nests, all we can do is sigh with content and begin anew on the road back home with our trusted, not-so-dormant Ford Figo.