Every travelling paw-parent has one dream: to take their pooches along on their many adventures. Tanveer Taj and Priyanka Jena have been doing just that with their doggos, Frodo and Cruise. Having traversed the country in their car, with bucketloads of dog food and many more memories collected in their backpacks, this family of four has touched upon almost every inch of India. They tell us more about being a wander-loving pack, and also give us tips on travelling with pets. By Bayar Jain
1. When did you first start taking road trips and what motivated you to do so?
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Road trips have always been a crucial part of our lives, even before we can remember. Before Tanveer and I [Priyanka] met, we used to travel a lot ourselves. When we got together as a couple, we started travelling even more. Outdoors and nature has been an integral part of our lives and defines everything about us. Although we have been raised in the city, we feel most at home when we are surrounded by nature.
2. Which has been your most memorable road journey so far?
The month-long journey in 2019. We went on a trip with our dogs across India, during which we covered 12,500 kilometres and 20 states. It was our most memorable road journey. We explored mountains, snow, deserts, rain, hail, forests, and beaches on this trip.
3. How do Frodo and Cruise deal with being on the road?
They love being on the road and are most at peace when in the car. They associate the car with adventure, play, and free running. They get super happy when they see the car!
4. Any advice for paw-parents who want to take road trips but have been sceptical?
Start young, and train them to love the car right from the beginning. Let dogs be dogs. They belong outdoors and will adjust naturally when there. Practise recall to train them to be off the leash easily when outdoors.
5. A lot of destinations aren’t pet-friendly. How do you cope with this hurdle?
Actually, India is quite pet-friendly when compared to other countries. Our cities may not be as pet friendly, but villages and resorts are.
6. Animals can often get anxious while travelling, especially on long road trips. How can parents help relieve this anxiety?
You can keep a few chew toys and their favourite blanket in the car to ease anxiety.
7. Where were you when the lockdown was announced and how did you keep your travel bug satiated during this time?
We were luckily at our home in Udupi when the lockdown was announced. Our house here is in a small fishing village with abundant nature, which includes beaches, forests and hills. We were anyway planning to move here full-time, but now it has happened sooner than we anticipated because of the pandemic. We never really liked living in the city. Although we are staying in a rented home right now, we’ve been building a home here for the past few years and it is under construction at the moment.
8. When choosing your next destination, what are the various factors you keep in mind?
Safety and COVID-19-related precautions taken at the destination.
9. Once travel restrictions ease, where is the first place you’ll go to for your next Indian road trip?
Andaman [and Nicobar], Spiti or Lakshadweep.
10. How do you think the world of travel will change post-COVID-19?
The travel industry will boom in the post-COVID-19 world.
11. As a travel-enthusiast, how do you plan to advocate the tenets of conscious travelling in the post-Corona world?
We have always promoted eco-conscious ways of travelling even before the pandemic hit the world. It is only now that masses are taking note of all the things we did wrong with our nature. Not trashing your travels; staying in eco-friendly resorts; being sensitive to your surroundings, and recycling and reusing are some of the key things one should keep in mind while travelling.
12. Any tips for road trip enthusiasts for their rebound travel post the pandemic?
Tread carefully and respect the place you are visiting; maintain all safety protocols; don’t trash your travels, and practice social distancing.