This dad whisked his daughter away on an adventurous 15-day father-daughter bike trip to Leh before she tied the knot!
Ahmedabad-based businessman Prakash Patel and his daughter Priyal Patel always knew that they wanted to do something special to celebrate their bond before Priyal tied the knot and moved to Australia. After considering many options, they finally decided to embark on a challenging yet enriching 15-day bike trip across Leh. From rambling in the valleys to teaming up and tackling rough roads along the way, this trip was momentous for them both as they learned new things about each other at every turn as they spent precious quality time together.
A heartwarming story of a father and daughter working in tandem to make their bond stronger, their journey is bound to inspire scores of dad-daughter duos who wish to make the most of the precious time they have together before bidding each other farewell. Sharing her take on this unique experience, Priyal Patel gives us an insightful glimpse into their journey and all that she has learned from it.
We are fascinated with your 15-day bike trip with your dad in Leh! Tell us how this idea came about? Did your dad plan this as a surprise for you?
Both my Dad and I wanted to spend some quality time together before I made my big move to Australia after marriage. With this in mind, we had initially thought of doing a small trip together to a fancy resort to relax and catch up. But my Dad has always had an adventurous streak and has ridden bikes cross-country. It was his idea to take a 15-day bike trip across Leh! At first, I was very apprehensive as I’ve never sat on a bike for so long, and I believed that these trips were quite challenging. But my Dad was my constant source of strength as he kept reassuring me and helped me as I prepared myself for the trip.
Traveling on a bike through the harsh landscape of Leh is a challenging trip, to say the least. How was the experience for you? What kind of challenges did you two face on this trip and how did you tackle them together?
Today, most of the roads in Leh are quite well maintained. However, there were a few instances where the roads were quite bad! I think the biggest challenge for me was being seated on the bike for long hours. Initially I would tire very easily and my back would ache but my Dad was very considerate as he helped me cope with my challenges by stopping the bike often to let me rest.
I remember this one time when we were traveling to Sarchu Pass and both of us assumed that the highway that led there would be well made. However, once we reached there, we came across a difficult stretch of road strewn with sand and stones. Additionally, buses, goats, bikes, and cars were coming in from everywhere resulting in utter chaos. Stuck in the midst of this, the sand obstructed our view and we had a few close shaves where trucks passed by at close proximity, but we stayed alert and kept guiding each other through the incoming traffic. This stretch of road was 10 to 15 km long and once we made it through, we gave each other a celebratory fist-bump! From that day onwards, we started a tradition of fist-bumping each other and celebrating whenever we tackled a particularly rough stretch of road together.
You plan on moving to Australia permanently after marriage. How has this adventure with your father empowered and prepared you for the challenges you’ll face after moving to a new country?
For me, this entire trip was a completely new experience. I’ve never exposed myself to elements this way nor have I ever traveled for such a long time on a two-wheeler. In short, everything was a challenge for me. But with my Dad as my partner, I overcame all of them as I first traveled for 200kms straight and then steadily progressed to 210 and 220 kms. This continuous progress instilled a new sense of confidence in me. Throughout the journey, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my move to Australia! Migrating to a new country will undoubtedly be tough but just like I overcame the challenges in Leh, I will overcome the ones that await me in Australia too!
How has this trip strengthened the bond between you and your Dad?
Both of us only had each other to talk to and spend time with as we traveled through the isolated landscape of Leh. We would often disembark from the bike upon coming across a scenic view and spend quiet moments together taking in the breathtaking beauty around us. Later in the day, Dad would regale me with his stories which made me see him in a new light. Our bond was always strong, but this trip only made it stronger by turning us into each other’s confidantes as well!
Have you learned anything new about each other on this trip?
I’ve always known that my father is an ardent bike rider on city roads, I never got around to seeing this side of him. During this journey, I witnessed and understood his love for motorcycling. He was so focused throughout the journey and even led other bikers when required. Also, when it came to me, both of us discovered that I am stronger than I thought I was! If you’d told me earlier that I would be overcoming challenges like driving on bad roads, dealing with dust, the blazing sun or the biting cold, I would have scoffed! But after these 15 days, I have come to realize that I can face any challenge if I put my mind to it.
Would you like to share any valuable advice your Dad gave you regarding married life?
My dad shared with me some of my greatest life lessons. His biggest tip to me was to always stay united with my partner through every challenge. It’s never you versus your partner. In fact, it’s you and your partner versus the problem!
What was the most memorable moment of the trip for you?
For me, the most memorable moment was when we reached Khardung La Pass on Father’s Day. This destination is 18000 feet above sea level and reaching there was quite difficult but we were determined to reach it. Once we reached the top, we were quite emotional as it was a big achievement for us. We had worked as a team and reached our goal! It was the best Father’s Day gift for my Dad too, as we hugged each other at the top of the world.
What kind of advice would you like to give father-daughter duos who are planning such trips in the future?
This trip was a priceless lifetime experience for me and gave me memories to cherish forever. Even if you can’t go on a long adventurous trip like this, try taking time out from the busy wedding planning schedule for a smaller trip. Believe me, you will not regret it!