Prof. D.Y. Kulkarni- the Globetrotter who traveled to 104 countries

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Like me, many of you may have been following the Facebook posts of Prof. D.Y. Kulkarni, Retd. Principal of RL Law College. I do religiously, for he taught me Contracts years ago, a subject I topped. Year after year, he has been traveling to countries all over the globe, at least thrice a year. No wonder he has been to 104 countries. You heard it right, all over the world.

He started out traveling to neighboring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka. But the wanderlust began when he got a chance to study at the George Washington University for his Masters, as a student of International Law, a subject he was interested in. It entailed studying a lot about countries all over the world. He has been a rank holder at University in LLB and a Gold Medalist in LLM. Then in 1978, he got a fellowship to study at George Washington University, a few blocks away from the White House and the IMF, in the subject of International Air and Space Law. Very coolly he mentions seeing a large crowd in front of the White House one day, and he inquired only to find out it was the Camp David Agreement happening, between the Israeli and Egyptian leaders. He clicked pictures with his old camera, a fortuitous witness to this historic event.

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His European sojourn began when a friend in Washington suggested he travel to Europe in Christmas vacation so he ventured on a 14 country trip on an unlimited travel pass of Eurail. Visa was easy, since he was in close vicinity to all Embassies in Washington. He frequently went to meet a friend at the Pentagon, now an impossible task. At that time, in 1978, Prof. Kulkarni says, the Pentagon would conduct site-seeing tours where they would boast that they can track the number-plate on the car on Russian roads or the brand of the football being played via satellites and demonstrate it.

 Prof. Kulkarni also visited the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis where former US President Carter got commissioned as Second Lieutenant. He went on to visit the International Court of Justice, Permanent Court of Arbitration, the House of Lords in UK,  International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, UN and UNESCO HQ, Nobel Peace Foundation in Oslo, the former KGB HQ in Lithuania,  and several key places. Post retirement around 15 years, his Travel Bug has reared its head and how. In 2023, he completed a century of visits to various countries when he visited Columbia. In the past year , he has added 4 more to the list. Not just that, he has visited the U. S.  7 times; Germany 4 times; Canada 3, Russia 3, Austria 4 times, Singapore 4, Hong Kong  3, Malaysia 3, etc.

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At Odessa port, Ukraine

He has just returned from Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal, the last one because he wanted to visit Dakar- its capital. It was the place where Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man, Adolf Eichmann had escaped allied forces, lived incognito and from where he was abducted by Israel and tried. You must hear the details from Prof. Kulkarni to understand its thrill. Stories of his travels abound and pepper his conversations.

Ask Prof. Kulkarni how he plans his foreign travels and he replies matter of factly that he plans everything online, meticulously and spends as little as possible. He has a world map in his room and sees it at least twice a day. It all boils down to planning his economic travel, staying in hostels which are good budget accommodations and knowing the nuances. He is a member of the International Youth Hostel Association. He boasts of knowing the tricks of travel which enables him to travel extensively on a tight budget. Being a vegetarian means he cooks himself most of the time when he can’t find good veg fare. Prof. Kulkarni ensures he sees all the key places of any city he visits. He clicks loads of pictures on his mobile phone. A good suggestion from him is to know the tricks of photography as well, ensuring that the sunlight falls on the subject you intend to capture. Prof. Kulkarni is a good observer, he captures the essence of a city or place through its culture, people, homes, roads, buildings, architecture, cuisine, markets, modes of transport and nature. It is evident from his meticulously taken pictures, each captioned in detail.

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At Pentagon- the U S Defence Headquarters. Washington D.C

Ask him about instances of being robbed or facing danger and he will tell you about the taxi driver in Kazakhstan when he demanded a fare far more than decided. Yet he managed to escape paying only double. He always moves in groups which is a safe way indeed. He had planned to visit Mongolia next but now being harsh winters there, he will need some more time to think about his next destination. He was very receptive to my suggestion to start his travel vlogs on his next trip. Belagavi, you know what to expect from this wanderlust.

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