travelSo this may sound cliched but we should take out time from our busy lives to live life as if there is no tomorrow…… (à la Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!) I am just back from an all-girl road trip where we covered 1100 kms in 40 hours. Yes, we broke a couple of stereotypes that we had picked up somewhere during the course of our lives.

 We had a successful conference at IIM Ahmedabad. It was the right time to experience Gujarat’s “vibrancy”, maybe catch the sunset at the Rann of Kutch. But was it possible? Covering almost end of the country and getting back to Ahmedabad in time to catch the flight to Delhi? Well, we did it and also gathered some important Leadership Lessons on the way. Here they are:

Just Do It: In the midst of IIMA summit preparations at Ahmedabad, we astutely gave it a thought: 385 km one way, road trip starting at 4:00 am, unknown place and literally no one to turn to if something happened. On a consensus, we decided to take the plunge. Did being entrepreneurs play a role in that? I am sure it did.

Learning: You wouldn’t know what’s in it for you till you take the steps to make dreams into reality.

Take Quick Decisions: We three had this amazing wavelength that matched even though we are seemingly different individuals. From agreeing to getting up at 3.30 am to deciding places to visit to shopping, catering to varied interests and tastes, to eating – we just got one of us to take the decision and went with it.

Learning: In a group, have faith in one another. It’s ok sometimes to not have a say in everything, and go with others’ judgements and thoughts for the collective good.

Be Nimble: The roads across Gujarat are built as it’s a ‘dream way to heaven’ – smooth and buttery. Very soon on the road we realized that we can take some recourses along the way. So we packed in as much as we could. It was amazing we could explore Bhuj, Khamir, Hodka and the Rann, all in a day’s work!

Learning: We should nurture the inherent child in us.

Be Curious : Bhuj and Rann is full of life, culture, colours and, of course, shopping. One of us was very keen on picking up silver, the other had fondness for fabrics, whilst the third wanted to just click away. Since we had time having reached Bhuj in just about 4.5 hours, each of us explored the place a little deeper – visiting artisans and meeting local people.

Learning: Curiosity helps in getting us more aware and sensitive to things that we take for granted.

Laugh: We were laughing at taking the wrong route or laughing at not expecting on what we had expected – it was all ok. There was also something new that we learnt laughing at one another’s idiosyncrasies , giggling over silly things, not being guilty on not being a responsible mother, daughter or wife for that day. It was simply priceless!

Learning: We have forgotten to pause and just laugh at ourselves. It’s a great thing to keep practising it.

Inspire: It was absolutely amazing to meet inspiring women on the way who motivated us with their energy and passion. Meera Goradia, runs the Kutch-based NGO, Khamir which was set up in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Bhuj to help revive the livelihood of artisans and promote crafts of the region. The NGO is the foremost right now in supplying products to major retail stores across India and also has support from international brand Hermes on some of their projects. We also met Gayatri Kodikal, a NIFT graduate, who spent about 8 months visiting 54 villages doing research and documenting the unique art of pottery which is getting extinct.

Learning: If you have the will you can do anything with focus and continuous pursuit of goal.

Share: The road trip gave each of us different insights and a deeper connect to one another’s lives. The joys of connecting in person without technology and just being in the moment helped us connect to ourselves even more.

Learning: Connection and bonding increases with sharing.

Rashmi Mandloi, Sarika Bhattacharyya and Shilpi Singh took this road trip from Ahmedabad to Bhuj to Greater Rann and back in January 2015. They are already planning a road trip covering another exotic part of India soon.