Russia, Iceland, Jordan, Winter Drive in Russia
It took a painful jolt from the universe to make it dawn upon me that life is ever-changing. It lacks permanence. And thus, it’s up to us to make the most of our time here on Earth.
The untimely passing of a dear friend was the catalyst that forced me to sit up and take note of all around me, of the fact that work and chaos of daily life is, and will always be, never-ending. It was not in my hand to change the same, but what my wife and I realised we could do was live life to the fullest.
And we chose travelling as the means to this end.
We decided to embark upon at least one trip every year; just the two of us – as partners – not even husband and wife but two friends who were both deeply passionate about travel. For us, travelling was always about the exploration and study of cultures and local nuances. We never did restrict ourselves to the ‘tourist realm’, wherein it’s all about ticking off the boxes and sticking to a pre-determined list of spots to sightsee. What has always been more important to us during travel is to soak in the essence of the region, to imbibe the local culture and the way of life of the people in that area.
Destiny favoured us as one of the most exciting trips we came across while browsing the internet was the Russia 2018 tour organised by Adventures Overland. And that was the tipping point. That road trip altered our whole perspective on travelling.
Before the Russia trip, we hadn’t grasped that travelling could be as much fun! It was as if we had finally discovered our passion, our true calling. And it was Adventures Overland that helped us achieve that by making us experience the journey and destination in a different way.
Since then, we have undertaken multiple expeditions with Adventures Overland. Every single road trip has somehow been amazing. The more we travelled with AO, the more tightly we came together as a family. We got to know the people better, the way the company functions, and the unique way Sanjay and Tushar conduct themselves.
Out of our many trips together, Jordan and Iceland have been the definite favorites. Never in my life could I picture myself driving upon glaciers in Iceland or traversing through the Martian desert-scopes of Jordan. But guess what? I did it! It was a marvellous experience that left a deep impression on us. So much so that we have made the Jordan road trip twice now. I could have done it the 2nd time on my own as well, but making the trip with AO – in convoy and keeping in with their distinctive way of doing things – was extraordinary. The critical factor here is that Adventures Overland doesn’t work off a travel guide. The spots they hit and the escapades they offer are not the kinds one would manage or even enjoy on their own.
I am reminded here of a specific incident that occurred while we were in the midst of our road trip across Russia. We were in the middle of a road, from where I could view the route ahead for about half a kilometer. It was fully covered in snow, with just one signboard in red which displayed the left direction towards which the road was turning ahead.
I couldn’t see the road beyond the signboard, which struck me as symbolic. I realised that I have access to a limited portion of the route, and that is my today. I don’t know what it would be like after the turn, and it was okay. I might as well just enjoy the bit in front of me; relish the journey because the blind bend, which is tomorrow, will anyways catch me unawares. That view and what it represented really affected me and made me rethink my approach towards life. I captured that moment on film and later got it developed into a full-sized photograph that adorned the wall of my home for a long time.
I advise anyone seeking to embark upon road trips to do so with a group like Adventures Overland. Places are more fun, and experiences are more beautiful and precious when travelling with like-minded people. I have earned myself a wonderful group of friends, courtesy of my trips with AO.
With my wife Nishita – who multitasks superbly as my friend and my travel buddy – at my side, all I wish to do is cherish the journey. It’s not about a specific achievement or reaching a final destination. Travel must be more about the ride, and the many moments in between make that excursion worth your time.
As told to Adventures Overland by Shalin Sarvaiya
A collection of stories and experiences of the Adventures Overland travellers from around the world which portray the exact moments we strive to live for.
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