BANGALORE: For the next 20 days, Saba Khan and her husband Tariq will be living out of a suitcase. The couple had embarked on a 12,000 km road trip with an aim to cover 40 cities in 13 states across India in 60 days.
So what inspired them to make this trip? Saba recounts, “I recently resigned from my job as a content editor at a travel site as I will be relocating to Australia in August with my husband. Since both of us love travelling, my husband suggested that we do a road trip before shifting base to Australia for good. We wanted to explore the country.”
When she mentioned the idea to her former colleague at MakeMyTrip, Deep Kalra, who is the CEO, he encouraged her to write a blog for the website chronicling her journey. This was how the idea for her blog My Way on Highway was born.
Saba has been travelling all her life. “I have got wanderlust in my genes,” she laughs. Being an army child, Saba has been to almost all parts of the country. She explains, “I am part Marathi, part Uttarakhandi. I was born in West Bengal and I have studied in 12 cities across India. My husband is from Himachal.” Even after marriage, she has travelled the length and breadth of the country and has even made a few trips abroad with her husband to Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan.
As part of the road trip, they have been travelling for over 40 days now. “We started our journey with Rajasthan, exploring the Ranthambore National Park. We then drove to Bijaipur and Udaipur. In Udaipur, our first stop was Sajjan Garh which houses the Monsoon Palace of the Mewar dynasty overlooking the expansive Fateh Sagar Lake. After that, we visited Badi Ka Talab, Saheliyon Ki Bari- the courtyard of the maidens, Memorial of Maharana Pratap- the iconic ruler of Rajasthan and his family, the City Palace and the Lake Pichola- the most illustrious lake of Udaipur with many super-luxury hotels in and around it.”
The road then lead them to Mount Abu, Bhuj, Kutch, Somnath and Gir in Gujarat, Diu, Mumbai, Goa, Gokarna in Karnataka, Bekal, Kozhikode and Munnar in Kerala and then Bangalore. “We have been to Bangalore many times in the past. We love the city. We have many friends here and this time around, we will be catching up with all of them.” But her favourite will always be “the bewitchingly beautiful state of Kerala”.
“When we visited Munnar, I couldn’t believe that such a place even existed. It was like heaven on earth. It truly is God’s Own Country,” she recalls.
Travel helps broaden your horizons, see new cultures, meet new people. Saba Khan experienced all of this and much more. She observes, “After I started this trip, I have realised that the country is very beautiful. We often restrict ourselves to prominent places like Goa or Agra, but there is so much more to the country, so many new places to be discovered. And since we have been driving all along, we have come to love the journey as much as the destination. The excitement for us begins on the road.”
And all along, they have made friends with people from across the country and abroad. In Diu, Saba says,
“We bumped into a French gentleman, who had a complicated French name and who therefore christened himself with an Indian name, Tipu Marrell. He was so energetic that we couldn’t believe he was actually 65 years old. He is smitten by India, is learning Hindi and visits Diu every year. Coincidentally, he happened to be designer Wendell Rodricks’ cousin who lives in Goa. So we decided to meet Tipu in Goa when we were there. Though the plan didn’t materialise, we have fond memories to take back home.”
In Gokarna, Saba and her husband met a bunch of travellers when they set out to discover the much talked about Half Moon Beach. “Having spent close to three hours together on the hike, the seven of us hit it off really well. Shravanth and Kanaka had come from Bangalore, Rut (our guide) from Israel and Toby and Amy from England. It was amazing to see complete strangers sharing thoughts, jokes, anecdotes and life experiences with each other like old friends.”
Saba’s road trip ends on July 8, after which she and her husband will move to Australia. There, Saba hopes to take up a job and of course, continue travelling.