19 Countries In 72 Days: This Couple’s Road Trip From Mumbai To London
July 14th, 2017
The Baldawa family has achieved the feat of going on a road trip from Mumbai to London in their car. Robert Frost’s lines, “And miles to go before I sleep” is best realised by this family.
On March this year, 74-year-old Badri Baldawa, his 64-year-old wife and 10-year-old granddaughter had started their journey in March 2017. They crossed 72 countries, covered 22,200 kms in 19 days in their BMW X5.
Steel exporter and a chartered accountant by profession, Baldawa has embarked on such long and adventurous trips even before. He had hiked one of the base camps of Mount Everest and had driven from Mumbai to Badrinath about thirty years ago. He also has several cruises, a drive across Iceland with his 10-year-old granddaughter Nishi and a 46-hour non-stop drive through Norway to North Cape, just in time to witness the longest night. He has also travelled to Antarctica and claims him to be the first Indian to reach there.
Planning the trip
They started making plans for the road trip from the last year along with some friends. The set course was supposed to be from Imphal and then to London via Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, China and Russia.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr Baldawa said, “There was no other alternate route to drive to London from Mumbai: if I were to drive via Pakistan and Afghanistan, there was no guarantee that I would make it alive. We could not go north via Tibet either, as China would not allow it,” says Mr Baldawa.
On reaching Imphal, they were joined by 12 other vehicles who were en route the same way. Having connections with the Indian government, the dinner and stay for the family were arranged by the Indian Embassy.
We are crossing the boundary. It is finally happening. None of us can believe that we are crossing the Indian border in…
The memorable journey
The Baldawas has a great experience while travelling through various countries and witnessing different cultures. They also encountered varying levels of economic and infrastructural developments. Several of their presumptions were quashed, they claimed. “We went in with an assumption that people in China and Russia are tough and not too welcoming of outsiders, but we were welcomed everywhere,” Baldawa said.
The longest distance they covered was that of a whopping 930 kms from Warsaw to Brussels. There were days when they had breakfast in Warsaw (Poland), lunch in Cologne (Germany), and dinner in Brussels (Belgium).
Home sweet home….we're finally back after the road trip (and a little break in London). Coming back via flight wasn't…
What the Baldawas plan on next
The couple is now planning on spreading the message that ‘age is just a number’. They accept that there are numerous problems that arise when someone plans on a trip like this. But it is essential to overcome the anxiety and embark on such a journey that would have an enormous impact on one’s lives. They intend to inspire much more to follow their footsteps.