It was 15th Aug morning and we were having our breakfast when Sud mentioned that 2 of his friends are planning to go to a resort near Bangalore for a two week long workcation. We both were highly intrigued and wanted to research about how hotels/resorts were managing the Covid guidelines and if it was a safe option. We asked a couple of friends who had recently ventured out for a similar working vacation and we got mixed reviews. Hence the thought of planning something similar for ourselves just remained a thought.
After a week or so, the topic of workcation came up again and this time I mentioned to Sud that instead of limiting ourselves to options nearby bangalore, why not consider ‘moving to mountains’ (Himalayas to be precise). Mountains were comparatively safer and had a restriction of covid negative report at the time. Also, we were not planning a small workcation, and were looking for a place to temporarily shift and spend a few months if possible. Post some research and discussions, we zeroed in on Manali in Himachal Pradesh as our destination. Post that, we came up with our next big question – how do we travel safely and comfortably to Manali from Bangalore. This was a tricky question for us as we had Star (our pet dog) with us. Flights were out of question as we did not want to subject Star to the trauma of being the Cargo section inside a cage at that height. The only other options were taking a Train or Driving down in our car. Post a lot of debate and deliberation driving emerged as our most preferred options – as it mitigated our apprehensions of avoiding modes of travel like train which can tend to have large gatherings of people at time ; while it also promised to satiate our love for adventure. Driving in our own car for 3000 KMs from southern state of Karnataka to northern state of Himachal Pradesh was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we didn’t want to pass.
Also read : Roadtripping with pet in India
Also read : Tips for planning a long term stay during Covid.
The shortest route from Bangalore to Manali by road is ideally 2700 kms. But we took a different route and divided our trip into 5 legs in order to avoid hotels and stay at our parents/relatives’ place on the way so that we didn’t have to stay in any hotel on the way and avoid the risk of Covid-19 virus to best possible extent. We also packed and planned rations and a small cooking stove so that we did not have so stop at any dhaba/eating joint on the way. (Note : We did a Covid test before starting our trip and once again before entering Himachal):
|To and From|| Distance|
|1.||Bangalore to Pune||840||15|
|2.||Pune to Bhopal||785||15.5|
|3.||Bhopal to Kanpur||560||11.5|
|4.||Kanpur to Kasauli||782||13.5|
|5.||Kasauli to Manali||260||8|
Taking this road-trip was the best decision ever and it was an unforgettable experience. We witnessed some of the most gorgeous sunsets, stopped at beautiful lush green fields, crossed Tropic of Cancer, picturesque villages, roaring rivers and mighty mountains on the way.
Things to carry during Covid times to avoid any exposure on the road :
- Do get a fast-tag if you don’t have it already, that way you don’t have to make any cash transactions at the toll plazas (plus it also saves you a lot of time!). In rare places where the plaza accepts only cash, keep a face shield and gloves handy. Do sanitise the cash later.
- a small camping stove to do small cooking on the way.
- 1 litre thermos to store hot water and a 5 L normal water can.
- Instant Tea/ coffee mix and Maggie.
- Bread, butter and some snacks. We use to eat our breakfast and pack one freshly cooked meal for the drive and try to reach our destination for dinner.
- Covid specific precautionary items:
- Masks – both Reusable and disposable
- Sanitizer – both Hands and surface
- Face shield and disposable gloves
We are staying at a homestay called Firdaws in Nasogi village which is in the outskirts of Manali, with plans to stay and work from mountains for the next few months. The place has a wifi connection as well as very strong 4G networks (Airtel and Jio). All the meals are included in our package and there is an errand boy who gets anything we need from the nearby market. Hence we don’t have to step out unless its absolutely necessary.
I hope my trip inspires you to opt for long staycation/workcation which is probably a way better option than a small weekend getaway. I mean when you CAN do it, Just Do it.
The Seeking Soul..