Three entrepreneurs from the city have started a 45 day journey from London to Nashik on Friday. These men are doing it for the thirst of adventure and to show that political boundaries are manmade, through their motto “A World without Boundaries” as they would come across 12 countries during their journey.
Sanjeev Bafna, an automobile person, Rajendra Parakh a pharmacist and interior decorator by profession, and Ashish Katariya, who has a construction business are the ones who have started the 17, 000 kms journey under the name ‘Globe Wheelers’, a group that believes that the cultural and geographic diversity around the world is too precious to be divided by political barriers. The journey began from Trafalgar square, London and moving towards Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Moscow, Astana, Bishkek, Kashgar, Tibet, China, Kathmandu and will end in Nashik.
Ashok Katariya said, “I have always been passionate about motorsports and have undergone training too. Moreover, I have explored remote areas of Himalayas through rallies; but wanted pursue something extreme and that his how the idea came into being.”
The idea was discussed with Rajendra Parakh casually while driving and at cafes which was turned into reality with Sanjeev Bafna who had attempted similar feat about 20 years ago.
“The entire itinerary and route has been self decided and no specific pattern is being followed. We had drawn three possible routes but due to war in Ukraine and other difficulties like Visas on another route prompted us to take a longer route from Moscow, Kazakhstan and Nepal that allows seeing two more countries and face lesser visa issues,” Katariya said.
About choosing the location London, he said that all the three have close connection with London and have friends and relatives who could see them off.
Informing about the journey, he said that the entire route poses huge challenges like culture, geography, roads and weather conditions, border controls, driving regulations and political sensitivity along with a 1.5 hour ferry trip from Dover, France to Dunkirk.
Speaking to TOI, Katariya said that there would be a stretch of 100 to 1, 000 kms with no habitation and only barren land to cover. Moreover, apart from border controls there is no accommodation during the 8 days stay in Tibet which has extreme climatic conditions, he added.
“Driving a car with registration from India is surely going to invite many questions from border controls as the route passes from sensitive areas. It has been learnt that it takes around 12-36 hours to cross a border which is one of the major challenges. But 99% of the permissions are in place and we are eager to explore and enjoy beautiful scenery during the trip,” Katariya said.
For Rajendra Parakh it is all about cutting the man made boundaries through wheels. “The trip was planned about 2-3 times earlier but not implemented. We started working on it from December last year. Our friend Sanjeev Bafna had tried similar route from Nashik to London, but got house arrested in Iran and could not complete the trip successfully, hence it was somewhere in the mind to make it happen,” he said.
Parakh said that this time things have fallen in place and they are positive about completing the trip.
About the geographic difficulties, Parakh said, “We have to start now as there is a small window of 2-3 months to pass from Tibet, after which weather conditions would make the passage more difficult.”
Apart from surviving Tibet the last stretch includes recently earthquake hit Nepal. “We have about 35 day margin by the time we reach there and we hope that roads might open by the time. However, we do expect some surprise on road from Tibet to Nepal where there might be landslides in remote roads which might be closed or not repaired by the time we reach. Also, there are business boundaries so things should improve soon,” Parakh added.
“All the three of us are vegetarian which another personal challenge that everyone would face,” Parakh laughs.
Replying about taking a trip at this age, Parakh said, “Why not at this age, it has been a long pending subject and now it has got linked. The adventure always existed within us and we are shaping it up through this trip.”
Sanjeev Bafna from automobile successfully managed to procure, a document for the vehicle CARNET, which is as good as a passport for a vehicle.
The trio would be travelling in a SUV for which they have received training about driving and other technical aspects of it. “The vehicle has been chosen considering that it has service stations in the countries which would be visited. Training on electrical and suspension has been taken and we should be ready to tackle small issues. The vehicle has simple mechanics and any mechanic would be able to understand,” Ashish Katariya said.