Age no bar to travel and to live life to the fullest! 70 days on the road and still not missing home !!
We are on a road trip from 1st September this year and while on this expedition, my husband Ashok & I have recently turned 63 & 57 respectively. We are a couple from Bangalore, an ex-telecom honcho husband, and an Interior designer wife.  Both happy and proud, we have hiked, trekked, swam, stopped at less explored places like  Roghi, Lohardi, Rumsu, Naggar, Naddi, Ghushaini to name a few in Himachal. Enjoyed the large-hearted Punjabis and the superb world-class delicacies during the festivities in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Amritsar, Chandigarh.
The decision to travel for an indefinite period slowly seeped into us over the period, though we have been avid travelers forever.  We traveled for leisure but mostly traveled for work, as we were corporate slaves back then until travel became a habit.  Every now and then we used to take a break for 15 days – 2 months.  Today, when our grown-up children live abroad, settled in their lives, and there are no other pressing responsibilities on us, we decided to get out and see India first ( as we already have visited 52 countries). As soon as the COVID scare lessened a bit, we took off, to travel at a pace suited to us, by road, using homestays. 
Without planning much, we started to travel, most importantly, giving up our permanent address. We gave out our house on lease, left our household goods at storage, and started on a road trip. Many of our friends and family raised eyebrows and then there were some friends who not only encouraged but also gave some superb ideas.
Who says one should continue working till you die to be mentally agile or who says you should retire and rest for the rest of your life.  
All these years we worked and took care of all our loved ones. We made our careers, business, etc., and were always bound by duties and responsibilities. Now was the time to take care of ourselves, to take a step and plunge into what we want to do and start living for ourselves. Traveling, not ‘holidaying’ was on our mind always. After many deliberations, we broke free from a very comfortable 5-star bubble. Yes, we lived in a beautiful community, a well done up, comfortable house with the latest gadgets to make our life more and more comfortable, so we gave it all up. We truly feel free and happy. We were initially a little nervous but once we started, there was no looking back. We are now happier than ever !!
Before we started on this expedition, we trained to become fitter. Yoga, pranayama, running/ walking became our daily routine. even though we have been fitness enthusiasts always. We exchanged our car for a sturdy rugged SUV that was more suitable for long drives. It was Euphoria at 8500 ft when we paraglided from Bir Billing, the world’s second-highest spot. We were mesmerized by the beauty of the Himalayas when we zip-lined at Asia’s highest 170 Mtrs and longest 1 km (500 meters one way) line at Naggar, in Himachal Pradesh. We hiked to Raghupur fort from Jalori pass and had a 360 degrees view of the complete Dhauladhar ranges.  We played around and swam in the ice-cold Beas and Thirthan river and Uulag waterfall. Honestly, have never felt so overjoyed!  Very thankful to God for this life and this beautiful opportunity.
My husband & I share the steering. Out of 5800 km in 70 days, I have driven 3000 km and Ashok the rest. He specializes in driving on the toughest off-roading in hills. On this trip, the drive to Spiti valley has been the most dramatic, where our SUV got stuck while crossing a stream and Kinnaur valley where we crossed while the land was sliding.
Today we are exploring quaint villages, beautiful towns, meeting very nice innocent people with big smiles and large hearts, one of the benefits of homestays in small places. Life is very simple in these villages, self-sufficient, natural, and happy.  The water is not filtered or RO treated, but simply from the stream that is connected to the homes.  We inhale pure and fresh air and eat freshly grown veggies. Locals grow their corn, rice, rajma, dal et all.  Vegetables ranging from onion, garlic, tomatoes to all the seasonal and hilly veggies and fruits, taste heavenly and are organic.  Also, they don’t cost a bomb in the market like in some of the other metropolitan cities that we have stayed in.
These places have no malls, no theatres, pubs/bars. Locals here wear no makeup, no designer dresses or sandals. Only convenient tracks, tees, jackets, trekking shoes, with a heart full of happiness that can be found only in Himachal. Another most important thing we found in these places is the government hospitals are very neat and clean and have great doctors who are very experienced. There are no private hospitals here. While we city dwellers boast about ultra-modern, multi-specialty, 500 bedded, latest technology hospitals in every second street, these small villages and towns boast of good health and happiness. 
In the last two months, very interestingly, we came across several young or middle-aged,  IIT/IIM graduates/ honchos of MNCs turned small-time farmers here, who have taken houses on a long-term lease at minimal cost ( as non-Himachali’s cannot purchase properties) . They are into farming or running homestays.  I believe due to the increase of work from home during the pandemic, the standard of homestays has become very good. They offer very clean rooms with outstanding views of nature, excellent high-speed fiber connectivity, comfortable double beds, clean washrooms with faucets and showers, toiletries, delicious home-cooked meals at most of these places.  In these villages, power outages are rare, even if there are any, they are for a short period. All these facilities at homestays are at a very economical per day/weekly/ monthly cost.
We met fellow travelers/ tourists as young as 22 and as old as 60+.  While on the move, we exchanged stories over lunch or a cup of tea or coffee. We also received open invitations to visit the homes of locals as and when we passed by the villages. With a promise to return to the hills, we explored Punjab, re-connected with friends in Delhi and Gurgaon, overhauled ourselves and the car here, and are now moving towards the forests of India and later will be exploring the beaches of India as per our road trip plan.
We hope to travel and explore India and the neighboring countries in the coming year. While we do that, we want to motivate, and encourage our age groups to be fit and live life to the fullest!

This write-up is by Punita Datta

Punita is an Interior designer; Nomad Traveller; matured traveler; yoga/fitness enthusiast; live for food; foodie.Follow us on #nomadroadies on Facebook and  NomadPunita on Instagram