Road To London, Asia, Europe
To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly (Henri Bergson, 2015). “Creative Evolution”
The statistical feats achieved on Road to London 2019 are no way dismissal: 16,000 km of continuous driving, two continents, 18 countries, 50 days, 34 cities, driving through deserts, mountains, glaciers and all other landscapes one can imagine. However, I would like to dwell on how in addition to these numerical milestones there were countless intangible experiences. Many of us go through our lives with a fixed routine and surroundings of office space, home, family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, currency and a fixed seasonal variation but suddenly you experience a new wonder as you embark on Road to London and I would like to address it as “The incessant change”. If you are travelling alone, the first change you encounter is no-known faces and the task of knowing each one of your fellow-travelers. Further, unique to homosapiens, you also make a mental calculation on how much time would you like to spend with each one and what would be your engagement depth. This more or less decides your comfort zone for next 45 days or perhaps longer.
The sudden change in cuisine is what impacts majority of us. Vegetarian options saw a little declining trend while the non-vegetarian options kept piling on. Then started the interesting journey of changing currencies as we moved across different countries and their different rate conversions. The icing-on-cake was that in majority of the countries our Indian currency was strong enough to happily allow us the luxury to shop. Next to absorb was the continuous change in landscape. As we travelled through dry landscapes of Myanmar to green carpeted mountains with beautiful lakes to snow clad mountains in China, driving through the desert and then the most beautiful drive through Pamir glacier of Kyrgyzstan. Sunsets which you had unknowingly forgotten living in cities remind you of the great loss…daily sunrises in different cities brought in the anticipation of the beauty of the coming day….the chill of Volga (Russia) and Ping (Thailand) river as you walk by the banks, the quietness and reflection of Mekong river. Never realised that somewhere during our lifetime we had stopped enjoying these beautiful gifts of nature.
Some countries gave us an extremely warm welcome, treated us as celebrities and spoiled us to the core (Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) so much so that we all felt so ignored when we travelled through Russia and Europe. The oriental face cuts gradually changed to Uyghurs and merged with the Caucasoid+Mongoloid of “the stan” countries followed by the Caucasians of Europe. And finally, the so-called stiff-lip Brits welcomed the convoy to London (we had some awesome Brit co-travellers who waived us into London). The change of 34 hotels as you move forward (impossible to remember names), 34-different room numbers (keep the outer cover please, very high chances you may forget when you step out for a walk), 34-types of different shower handles which you struggle with during the morning shower, 34-different breakfast spreads. Different parks and roads as you go out for a morning or evening walk (would be a good idea to extensively use maps and google coordinates to safely return). One cannot undermine the ever-changing traffic rules, traffic signals and the driving speed.
Never before had life thrown so many variants into my daily life and all it took was an open mind and a happy heart to enjoy this continuous change. In addition to these changes during the journey, the expedition has deeply impacted some deep-rooted behaviour of mine. A loner by nature I have no inhibitions in accepting that the journey was exciting and pleasurable because of the co-travellers. In addition, I also accept with total conviction that it’s okay to let-go of your guard at times while enjoying few drinks with friends. So, Road to London is not only about transient changes during the journey but perhaps a life-changer for some people.
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