At precisely 5 p.m. on June 6, after 51 days on the road,
two tired 30-year-olds wheeled into Delhi, India.
Tushar and Pooja Agarwal, drove through 15 countries, nine
time zones and a lifetime of road experiences between London
and the thriving Indian capital city, Delhi.
When the novice road adventurers shut down their
British-registered -- and virtually stock -- 2005 Jeep
Liberty, they didn't smash any world records or score a
breaking news segment on CNN. The streets were not rife with
cheering masses and there was no ticker tape parade past India
Gate. No one handed them a trophy for their efforts
But the affable couple, born in India and educated and
employed in England, had done what they said they would do by
living up to their personal commitment. Even though their
seven-week road trip into the unknown was not paved with
corporate sponsorship and Tushar and Pooja have not become
household names, they managed to pull off a motoring event
many might dream of, few would consider but hardly anyone
"All I can say is we couldn't believe the car that we drove
in London was with us in Delhi." Pooja wrote. "It took us a
while to realize that the Jeep, Tushar and I had arrived in
Delhi in one piece.
When I started to follow Tushar and Pooja Agarwal's epic
road adventure through their website, www.LondonDelhi
ByRoad.com, I was apprehensive about their safety but at the
same time riveted to the updates and curious about the
After all, there were many parallels to a road trip my
partner Ken Langley and I strapped on at their age when we
attempted to secure a spot in the 1980 Guinness Book of
Records for the quickest circumnavigation of the world by
In reflection, who knows if that extravaganza was worth the
diversion in my life and career path, but that road adventure
has influenced everything I've done professionally for the
past 30 years.
Like Ken and I, Tushar and Pooja quit secure jobs, spent a
year or so planning, then let their enthusiasm fuel a plan to
take a trip through Europe, the former Soviet Union, China and
Nepal. When, in the midst of a global economic meltdown, the
computer-network specialist and insurance broker were unable
to secure corporate sponsorship, they bought a used Jeep, did
plenty of budget revisions then hit the road from London on
First they aligned themselves with Friendicoes SECA
(www.friendicoes.org), an India-based animal charity operating
in the city of Delhi. By the time their drive was over, they
had raised $6,000 for the registered nonprofit operation that
has been feeding, medicating and providing care for up to
1,000 animals at any given time since 1979.
The voyage, which took in Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan (and the other 'stans), China, Tibet and Nepal was
an exercise in determination, negotiation, good planning and
obviously a healthy serving of good luck.
"The scariest part was definitely the night in Aksai Chin
region of Tibet where Pooja fell ill," Tushar wrote from Delhi
before shipping the Jeep back to London.
"We were at an altitude of 5,200 meters (about 16,000 feet)
and at midnight Pooja complained of short breath. We motored
through the night in one of the remotest and the highest parts
of Tibet with no one in sight and an oxygen mask on Pooja's
For the couple, Nepal, was their entry back into
civilization. After the isolation of Tibet, the gravel tracks,
extreme altitudes, unhygienic conditions and altitude
sickness, the remote land-locked country was a welcome
In Nepal, they were back on the left-hand side of the road,
which took a bit of getting used to as most of the journey had
been on the right side of the road.
After a day's rest in Kathmandu, the drive to the Indian
border was an emotional one.
"From a distance, we saw the Indian flag and my heart
skipped a beat," Tushar recalled. "I drove faster and as we
reached the barrier, I stopped the car and admired the
uniforms of the Indian border guards. My heart was beating
faster. I was getting emotional looking at India behind that
barrier facing a huge sign that said, 'Welcome to
With a bit of rest under their belts, the intrepid duo is
already looking ahead. They have plans to write a book on
their experience and have another dream: to drive around all
the seven continents of the world.
No doubt, Tushar and Pooja AgarwaI have caught the
road-trip bug, big time. And I can't help but wonder, if after
30 years, like myself, they will still be juggling a life of
the road, cars, travel and the folks out there on the endless
Garry Sowerby, author of "Sowerby's Road: Adventures of a
Driven Mind," is a four-time Guinness World Record holder for
long-distance driving. His exploits, good, bad and just plain
harrowing, are the subject of World Odyssey, produced in
conjunction with Wheelbase Media. You can send Garry a note
online at www.wheelbase.ws/media using the contact link.
Wheelbase Media is a worldwide provider of automotive news and