BARRY'S TOP ADVENTURE TIP: Traveling with your children may open up a life-changing experience!
I will always remember the day my son, Nathan phoned and asked if I fancied a little motorbike trip. He then informed me, it was through the Ghat Mountains of India. I agreed not realising what I had let myself in for. Sadly, just before we left, Royal Enfield reneged on their agreement to supply two Royal Enfield Bullet motorbikes that we could donate at the end of the trip. Nathan, as resourceful as ever, managed to hire a Mahindra Jeep and we set off on an amazing adventure.
There are many wonderful memories of the trip, however three of these memories will remain with me to my dying days.
Firstly: was when we met Stanly Kizhakeparambil Varghese from the Odanadi Trust. He escorted us to the Boys House, which was about 10 kilometres from Mysore. It was such a humbling and emotional visit. The boys had experienced such a horrible start in their little lives but they were so happy. Their generosity and hospitality was boundless and they provided a meal for us from nothing. They planted trees and painted stones for us. I cannot convey how humble it made me feel.
Secondly: In Masinagudi, we met Solomon Daniel and visited the Grace Charitable Trust. We were humbled yet again by the warmth of our reception. The villagers had erected a purpose built stage, we were given garlands to wear and introduced to the assembled crowd of approximately 200 people. The children were enchanting and put on a wonderful show for us. They have so little and everything we gave to them was met with immense gratitude. I took a lot away from that.
And thirdly: To encourage friends and family back home to donate, we promised to complete the challenge of an unaided trip through the Western Ghat Mountains as a Father/Son team without any back-up whatsoever. It turned out to be an incredible challenge and we soon realised that it would
have been impossible for us to have completed this journey on motorbikes on our own. Nathan's resourcefulness was amazing and I am still in awe that we completed the trip unaided in our trusty Mahindra Jeeps. The first Jeep fell by the wayside when the clutch burnt out on the mountain roads but Nathan's continuing resourcefulness provided us with a second Jeep. The only drama on the journey after that was a puncture which was soon fixed. I was overwhelmed by the gentleness, honesty, friendliness and generosity of the Indian people we encountered on our adventure. We were both greatly inspired by the amazing devotion of Stanly from Odanadi Trust and Solomon from the Grace Charitable Trust at Masinagudi and will never forget them. I will also never forget those affectionate and trusting boys and girls who have suffered so very much in their short lives.
It was the trip of a lifetime, the ultimate in Father/Son bonding and a wonderful adventure.
I truly believe that India has changed me forever.