Italy/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
Rashmi Chalukya’s passion for traveling knows no bounds. It also helps that her husband, Chalukya Mohanraj is also a passionate traveler. So, when the two decided to travel the world, there was no stopping them. When they had their baby daughter, Chhavi, they took her along as well! In a span of one year, the young family traveled 15 countries and enjoyed every single moment of it. Just how did they manage the feat along with their little bundle of joy? Their inspiring story follows below. Rashmi Chalukya tells it in her own words:
Switzerland/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
I quit my job after seven years to start a family life and in June 2014, we were blessed with a baby girl. Within a month of her birth, my husband was offered a four-month-long project in Switzerland and we couldn’t be more delighted. We thought of it as an opportunity to fuel our passion for travel and explore the stunning Europe. And so, on New Year’s Eve in 2014 we landed in Switzerland with our six-month-old Chhavi. Our family was worried about how she would cope with the freezing cold but even as we were taking care of her health, we were also planning short trips we could take with her. We started exploring places in Switzerland and we planned our first international trip to Italy in April. By this time my husband learnt that our stay had been extended for another two months and we planned for another trip. This way, every couple of months his stay would get extended and we would plan trips accordingly and by December 2015, we had visited 15 countries:
Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Vatican City.
Paris/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
Our main challenge was to travel with a baby as young as six months. Traveling with a baby needs a lot of patience and planning. But on the upside, you don’t compromise with your sleep and you end up taking mandatory breaks for feeds and rest. We managed to travel with our baby keeping a few things in mind.
France/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
We chose to travel by train and avoided taking the bus for the comfort of the baby. They have reserved space for strollers which made it easier to take her along. We booked only apartments with well-equipped kitchens to help us prepare food for the baby. Europe is best-suited to travel with a baby due to its public transport facilities, attractions with clean washrooms and changing rooms and hiking and trekking spots with paved paths for strollers.
Greece/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
We would carry baby food with us everywhere we went including milk, fruit puree, rice porridge, etc. Our day would be planned around her feed time, it would start with her morning feed and we would make it a point to be back home by her evening feed time. We would often take breaks to feed the baby, for her walks and to make her sleep between sightseeing.
Belgium/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
Of course traveling with an infant comes with its set of constraints. Late night parties, pubs, sightseeing at night were ruled out as we had to be back home on time so that she could rest and sleep. We were also denied from a few rides and treks in Switzerland since our baby was less than a year old. And at times we even had to cut our trips short if the weather turned out to be too windy or hot or rainy for the comfort of the baby.
France/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
Despite these hindrances, all our trips have been memorable and we consider our baby our lucky charm as we got this opportunity after her birth. If you are heading to Europe, walk through the lovely alleys of the medieval town of Bruges. Go for the Catamaran Tour in Santorini Island of Greece. Watch the sunset from the pebbled beach and white cliffs of Etretat and explore the stunning beauty of Switzerland.
Portugal/Photograph courtesy: Rashmi Chalukya
We believe traveling gives us an opportunity to learn about different cultures, their history and diverse nature. We need to get out of our comfort zones and explore new places. And if we have the will and passion for something, no problems or restrictions are going to stop us from achieving the best. As Gustave Flaubert rightly said: “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Rashmi and Chalukya along with their daughter Chhavi visited 15 countries including England, Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal and Netherlands. You can read more about their experiences on their travel blog wetheglobetrotters.blogspot.com.