Age is just a number stands absolutely true in the case of Mr. Badri Baldawa a 73-year-old man who has covered 19 countries in 72 days. On March 23 2016, Badri Baldawa, a steel exporter and chartered accountant with his 64-year-old wife and their 10-year-old grand daughter embarked on a road trip from Mumbai to London that is about 22,000 km, in their BMW X5, across 72 days.
Badri Baldawa’s Mumbai-London Road Trip
The longest distance driven on one day was 930 km that was from Warsaw to Brussels. One such day they had breakfast in Warsaw (Poland), lunch in Cologne (Germany), and dinner in Brussels (Belgium). The Indian embassies hosted dinners for them in Lithuania, Russia and Brussels. Photographs were taken daily and emailed to the Baldawa children, who uploaded all of them on a blog and on their Facebook page.
In 2016, the couple began charting out the route which was an unusual one. They drove across India to Imphal. From there, they moved to south to Myanmar, Thailand and then Laos. Then they moved to China before entering Russia and ultimately the Schengen area. They spent 24 days driving from Mumbai to Imphal.
They wanted to explore several places within the country, and particularly expose their UK-based granddaughter to the country’s diversity. All hotels had to be booked in advance and in places like eastern Europe, guides were needed who could help them navigate.
The Actual trip
They headed to the southeast of Asia from Manipur. Further, in Thailand the tourism ministry set up a cultural event for all of them. They drove for 16 days across the northwestern region of the country when they entered Kunming in China. They drove 400 km every day, for 12 hours on an average, and took sufficient breaks to see the places.
What they saw
The pit toilets in rural China and Russia were shocking. Yet, they could not forget the cleanliness in all the places. All cultures, depicted high level of civic responsibility, even in the rural areas. Though the roads in China had the best infrastructure, the roads in the mountainous regions were the most astonishing. In northeast India, the roads were wound around the hills yet there were high-speed highways at the same time that connected all the mountain tops along with the long tunnels that passed through the mountains.They were also enchanted by the extremely peaceful coexistence of elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and deers in Kaziranga National Park.
Now, the Baldawa couple is on a mission to share their story and travels along with their key message that age is just a number. They also want to convey that there will be many difficulties on a mammoth plan like this one. But it is up to the travellers to take them up as challenges, overpower them and stay determined, rather than being overpowered my them. Though Mr Baldawa has been to the Antarctica, in 90 degree South his next ultimate goal is a zero gravity space walk!
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