An email to me on 20 May 2016 read:
We are finally ready to execute the most extraordinary road trip that without a doubt is going to be a journey that you will go on telling your grandchildren about!
Can you handle the thought of a road trip from India all the way to London?
……… unknown, unheard of villages and towns on the way, forests, deserts, mountains, rivers, high altitudes, remote terrains, bustling cities, new cultures, exotic foods…
If you are still interested in doing a road trip from India to UK, here is your chance to join us on this mother of all road trips!
A quick look at the route and I figured that from my place in Mumbai, it meant a distance of 20,000kms, across 15 countries, over a period of about 70 days in 8 time zones. In fact, it would be more thrilling as the route would pass through more geographical variations and include areas inhabited by Bodos, Naxalites and Maos even before I cross the Indian borders! Wow!
I was super excited!
Around 2010, on a flight to UK with Pushpa, I looked outside the window through the flight. I could overlook the city of Mumbai, the vast seas, mountains, dense clouds and then the shining, snow-topped Alps and finally the British channel and the city of London. I told Pushpa how interesting it would be if we could drive from Mumbai to London one day!
“Yes, exciting! Why not we do it?” she replied as if it was a casual drive from home to the movie theatre!
“This is what people call day dreaming” I laughed out.
I studied the atlas, glanced the globe in my office and did a bit of Google mapping. The only route I could think of was to pass through the western borders of India, through the Middle East and Meditarrean countries, reach Europe and end up in London via the English Channel.
There was a small problem on this route. One could cross borders and get lost for ever! Because it meant passing through countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, we might not be seen again! Too big a risk. I had also heard of the unsuccessful incident where three Indians who had tried this. For some technical reason they were arrested as they entered Afghanistan and were sent back after a week’s experience in prison!
What were the alternatives? While Himalayan Mountains would not permit to drive through the North, the Indian Ocean would obstruct in the South. The very realisation that going through the East would more than double the distance, I did not even consider that route. I gave up at that time but always felt one day I would be able to make that trip.
In Nov 2012, I read that one Tushar drove from London to Delhi.with his group. They opted for the Russian countries, China and then to India. I figured that I had not completely explored the route though the East. Though longer, it is a feasible one. In fact, that would make travelling in a small group more fun. I contacted Tushar and his colleague Sanjay in case they had plans to make a similar trip again.