Two Indian men plan to drive 70,000 km in six months to document the diaspora

There are an estimated 25 million people of Indian origin settled across the globe. In perhaps the first such attempt to document the story of the non-resident Indian (NRI), two travel enthusiasts are now set to embark upon a six-month adventure “to connect with Indians living abroad” and record their lives and experiences while staying with them.

Undertaking the 70,000-km journey in a Mahindra Scorpio SUV are Tushar Agarwal and Sanjay Madan of the Delhi-based Adventures Overland, a self-drive expedition company. They are not new to setting world records, having entered the Limca Book of Records six times with their zeal for travel across tough terrain and to little-known places.

The journey they will undertake this September will cost them 20 millon rupees, roughly $375,000, and will push their limits.

“The Great India World Trip is a journey that has never been done before and was born out of our love for travel and adventure. I have been an NRI for 10 years, living in the UK, the U.S. and Japan, so I know what that kind of life is. During this road trip, we will be travelling across six continents and 50 countries to connect with Indians living abroad and document their life in the form of a travel series,” Agarwal says. The Indian youth entertainment TV channel UTV Bindaas is in talks to air the series.

“Starting from New Delhi, we will first go to Singapore via Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Moving on to Australia, we will then drive through the continent before turning west towards Africa. Driving south from Kenya, we will cross Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and carry on till we reach Cape Town in South Africa. Hopping on to South America, we will drive through Argentina to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world,” Agarwal said.

After that, they plan to take a U-turn and drive up the Pan American highway — the longest such in the world — that will take them through Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia to Central American countries like Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, before entering North America.

“Instead of simply turning east and driving to New York, we are going to take the long and lonely road to Deadhorse (Alaska), the northernmost point of the American continent,” Agarwal added.
After experiencing the chill of Alaska, Agarwal and Madan will then cross Canada, hit New York and then head east to London.

“The hard part done, we will then drive through Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Iran and finally make the final crossing to reach Mumbai and back home to Delhi,” Agarwal said.

In between all this will be a series of sea crossings — Singapore to Australia, Australia to Africa, Africa to North America, North America to Europe and finally, Iran to India.

All through the journey, the duo will be staying with NRI families to get a feel of their day-to-day life.

“We have been planning this journey and the logistics for a year now and are still getting our visas (for all the countries). We are in talks with the Ministry of External Affairs for support from the Indian embassies in the countries that we will be visiting,” said Agarwal, who has previously driven from London to Delhi with his wife to raise money for animal welfare.

The duo is also in talks with the tourism ministry and other government officials.

“We have got sponsors but are still on the lookout for more companies that could support us. I am confident all will turn out well at the end,” Agarwal concluded enthusiastically.–IANS