I embarked on the Road to London journey in 2019. But you won’t find me boasting about the sheer statistics – 16,000 km of relentless driving, crossing continents, hitting 18 countries, and soaking in 50 days of adventure. No, what I want to share is the kind of magic that numbers can’t quite capture.
For most of us, life often strings us along in a routine web of offices, homes, friends, and the humdrum of our daily lives. It was the same for me except my workspace consisted of ivory walls and beeping machines.
Then the Road to London happened and the life that was once dominated by shades of white became so colorful, it nearly took my breath away.
It all began with a cast of unfamiliar faces, fellow travelers whose stories I was yet to dive deeply into over the next 45 days.
That was just the beginning, every day seemed to bring an incessant change, each more delightful than the last. The cuisine, once predictable, took an unexpected turn.
There were many pleasant revelations that I discovered, such as how each border brings its own conversion game and that in most countries, the Indian rupee held on its own which means most of us were able to shop till we dropped.
Oh, the landscapes! From the arid expanse of Myanmar to lush green mountains adorned with reflective lakes, and the snow-dusted grandeur of China’s peaks, they were ever-changing, each more breathtaking than the last.
I vividly remember how we were driving through desert terrains and then as if in the blink of an eye, the paths led to a breathtaking drive through the Pamir glacier of Kyrgyzstan. It was like witnessing a whole new world, every day.
The sunsets that had been lost amid cityscapes returned with a gentle reminder. It was like the universe itself was whispering in my ear, telling me to slow down once in a while and live for the hope of it all.
Every sunrise that I witnessed in a new city struck a different chord. Sometimes the tangerine warmth was accompanied by a bittersweet chill, like in Volgograd (Russia). On other days, the golden rays would make the water shimmer, making the rivers like Mekong appear as if they were made of diamonds. I’d be left awestruck, both by the beauty of this world and the fact that I had been so ignorant to it, almost all my life. It also made me wonder how so many of us deprive ourselves of the little joys that the world readily gives us.
Then, there were those who we met on the road. The people welcomed us with open arms just like the roads did. The heartwarming reception of nations like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, where we were treated like stars, left an indelible mark on me.
As the convoy moved through Russia to Europe. It felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart wherever I was going. It was the most bittersweet of ironies how my chest felt heavy and light at the same time.
I can’t talk about my experiences without gushing about the hotels where we stayed.
There were 34 of those, each room number a fleeting memory. Different shower handles, breakfast spreads like art on a plate, and the laughter that echoed in the hallways made them a home away from home.
It was strange how days seemed to pass by and yet it seemed as if I had pressed pause on life.
The kaleidoscopic journey showed me colors I had never been capable of seeing. As the landscapes changed, so did I.
I’ve always been comfortable in my own bubble. But I’m so grateful that my fellow travelers not only burst that bubble but made me embrace the cloak of unexpected friendships.
I’ll never forget those days on the road, laughter-laden, clinking glasses with strangers who turned into family. It taught me that sometimes, it’s cool to let loose. In fact, you’ll only be doing yourself a favor.
From spending my days in a cocoon to letting my wings unfurl in the wind like a curious butterfly, Road to London was a transformative journey. And amid all this, I found a part of me I never knew existed. Is there anything more beautiful than that?
As told to Adventures Overland by Dr. Kavita Singh
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