After working as an IT Consultant in India, Japan, US and UK for 10 years, I realized that enough is enough. I decided to break away from the daily grind of life and to do something about my long standing dream of driving from London to Delhi. After researching for a year, I took a personal loan and finally realized my dream of driving 12,000 km from London to Delhi through 15 countries in 51 days. After this epic: journey, the travel bug caught me and I decided to quit my job as a Software Programmer in UK and move back to India. I traded my lucrative IT career for a life on the road.
Since moving back to India, I kept on dreaming of the road and went on to create 5 Limca Book of Records. I was also fortunate enough to be selected as part of the Indian Team for the ASEAN India Car Rally 2012.
Driving on the road gives you opportunities to meet incredible people, see rare sights and experience moments that you would have only heard about or read in story books. In this book, I have written about my most memorable journeys spanning across 25 countries, reaching heights of 18,399 feet by road, driving non-stop 24 hours a day for 9 days straight in the Himalayas and being led through 9 countries with a police escort throughout and sometimes also with a helicopter above our heads.
I hope you find my 'Road Affair' interesting, exciting and inspiring. I also hope that it ignites a spark in you to go on and pursue that crazy idea that is nicely tucked away in some corner of your heart.
Although I have never met Tushar Agarwal it doesn't seem that way. I admire him, am interested in what he is up to and at times even worry about him.
Tushar contacted me a few years ago from London, England and politely asked about obtaining copies of two books on some of the motoring marathons I completed in the 1980's and 1990's.
Now and then the phone rings or I get an email from someone keen to take on an epic drive to raise money for something, set a new record or to sooth a yearning to fulfil a lifelong motoring ambition. Just get a sponsor to cover the cost, hit the road then go back to life as it existed before the road trip of a lifetime dream crossed their mind. The communiqués most likely come as a result of the four long distance global driving records I set years ago. But in most cases, after a few minutes discussing the preliminary financial investment to convince potential sponsors you are serious, the uncertainty it will ever come together and the risks involved out on the road I never hear from them again.
Not so with Tushar. A few months after sending the books to him he sent an email detailing his plan to drive from London to Delhi in a Jeep Cherokee he purchased for the expedition.
Tushar had grown up in India but was working in England so with solid contacts in both countries was in a good position to pull such a trek off. Over the next few months I monitored his preparations and then his progress along an itinerary loosely based on the ancient Silk Route.
Not surprisingly, the adventure was fraught with altitude sickness, near misses and a lifetime of 'out there' road trip experiences. I felt jealous knowing he was on the road plugging away at an epic driving event while I was in Canada reading about it.
At the end of the trek I congratulated him and heard of his plan for a book about the journey. That was to be expected because everyone has plans to write a book after something like that.
All I have to do is check the cabinet in my basement with the files for the Africa Arctic Challenge Ken Langley and I did in 1984. In one drawer is series of files called" AI A Book" that are dusty, dog-eared and incomplete. Sure, some day I'll finish that book.
I didn't hear from Tushar for about a year and a half after the London to Delhi expedition. What had come of him ? Was he back at his job as an IT specialist in the bowels of a London office building? Had he gone for 'the road'?
I learned Tushar quit his job in England and moved back to India bent on making a living through driving adventures. Once resettled his first task was to make more of a name for himself and prove the success of the London to Delhi caper
The result was an event called Toyota Trans Himalayan 2012 in which he and team of three friends drove a Toyota Fortuner virtually non-stop for 9 days 6 hours and 15 minutes over some of the most difficult roads on the planet.
Reading the rest of the update I couldn't help but smile because even in these times of financial uncertainty and global conflict there are people like Tushar who is following his dreams.
But to do this you must be imaginative, hopeful, honest, compassionate, focused, respectful and brave with a good dose of business acumen and camaraderie. You must be stubborn as well. And indeed, all these characteristics are part of what make Tushar Agarwal tick.
The idea of driving from London to Delhi first came to me some time in January 2009. I guess it was during one of those days at work when I was day dreaming and thinking of an escape from the daily grind of life. Looking at the world map I thought to myself, "It would be wonderful if I could drive from London to Delhi."
Excited and full of enthusiasm about my new idea, I discussed it with my family. No one was surprised or shocked but instead, everyone laughed it off calmly. I didn't blame them for their reaction. Over the last few years, I have shared many grand ideas but almost instantaneously forgotten about them myself. "I have decided to master the art of shooting and represent India in the Commonwealth games" or "I am going to join a billiards' club and become a professional one day."
I did join a shooting and a billiards’ club but as the excitement wore off, so did the passion and the determination. Eventually, going to these clubs became a chore. To be honest, knowing myself only too well, I too secretly thought that the idea of driving from London to Delhi was again one of those things that would occupy my mind for a few days and sooner or later would be completely forgotten. However, at the same time, I was hoping that I would prove myself wrong as the idea sounded too exciting, adventurous, risky and impractical for someone doing a 9 to 5 job. Keeping the above in mind, I made a pact with myself. I would start researching and planning for the trip and if I was still passionate about it after 6 months or when I reached a stage where I had to commit financially, there would be no turning back. To my own surprise, the commitment and the desire became stronger each day. I found myself talking, eating and sleeping my new dream. This time, I was sure about accomplishing the crazy idea. After a bit of hesitation, my ex. wife agreed to join me on this expedition and that made the journey even more special. I am thankful to her for coming along on this expedition which I can safely say became one of the greatest journeys of our lives.
|Programmer's Seat to the driving seat||1|
|London to Delhi by Road||9|
|Autobahns, Prague and Corrupt Police||19|
|Polish-Ukrainian border crossing and Lviv||25|
|Ukrainian Cops, Kiev and Chernobyl||29|
|The Russian Factor||36|
|Did you get me a present?||39|
|Care for some Horse Milk?||44|
|The Uzbek Surprise||48|
|Goodbye Uzbek! Hello Kyrgyz!||55|
|A Road is all I ask for||60|
|The Home Stretch||78|
|Time and Distance||82|
|Toyota Trans Himalayan Challenge 2012||95|
|The Idea, The Team, The Plan||97|
|1300 'Invisible' Kilometres||103|
|Finally, we are off..||117|
|Uttrakhand, Nepal and Hunt for Stamp!||124|
|Sikkim Challenge and the Race to Bhutan||132|
|Gross National Happiness||147|
|Wild Elephants, Floods and Tezu||159|
|Mana Pass-Highest Motorable Road in the World!||179|
|Why on Earth?||181|
|Believe me, I know the Governor!||189|
|Back and Forth||195|
|Mana Pass? No Way!||200|
|Kargil War Hero||206|
|Driving up 18,399 feet||214|
|ASEAN India Car Rally||227|
|The Rally in Numbers||229|
|F1 Pit of Singapore||242|
|Cabbages and Condoms||246|
|Asian Venomous Tarantula Spiders||255|
|Breakfast in Vietnman, Lunch in Combodia, Dinner in Laos||265|
|Mad Crowds of Myanmar||269|
|The Home Coming||279|
Item Code: NAN144 Author: Tushar Agarwal Cover: Paperback Edition: 2013 Publisher: Heritage Publishers ISBN: 9788170263135 Language: English Size: 8.0 inch X 5.0 inch Pages: 304 (111 Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 295 gms