Inspired by Baid family's epic road trip over 111 days during which they covered 11 countries, Janet and Louis D'Souza of Mumbai decided to do something similar. They also decided to make things a bit more interesting and drive their own car from Mumbai to London.
For the past 15 years, Louis, 62, and Janet, 56, have been running their logistics business. The couple took some time off and applied for visas. They also made their own website and a Facebook page, called 'The Lifetime Journey 2016,' where they could share their journey with others. On their trip from Mumbai to London and back to Mumbai, the D'Souzas travelled through 52 countries including Norway, Sweden, Myanmar, China, Armenia, Iran, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Kazakhstan, the U.K., Italy, Malta, France, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.
They even contacted the Baids, whose trip had inspired them to embark on their own journey. The Baids put them in touch with another couple who was driving to Russia and they all set out on the trip together.
"They travelled with us till Russia," Louis told HuffPost India. "In China and Myanmar, one needs special permission to enter, to procure which you need to pay a certain fee. So, when you go in a group, it becomes less expensive."
They commenced on their trip on 20 May, 2016. The idea was to wrap up on 18 December, 2016, but things did not go as planned. "We were well on our way back but when we reached China border to come to Myanmar, we weren't allowed to cross it because of the Rohingya Muslims issue," Louis recalled. "So, we had to drive an additional 2000 km to Thailand, so that we could enter Myanmar. But we had a permit for China, which did not work for Thailand."
"So, after reassessing the situation, we had to leave the car in Myanmar for a few days," he added. "We then reached home by flight on 12 December, celebrated Christmas and New Year and left for Myanmar again on 8 January. We eventually finished the trip on 26 January."
Louis described the journey as incredible. "We especially enjoyed Central Asia," he said. "People were so kind and the landscape is spectacular."
The adventurous couple had also decided to give back to society through their trip, setting aside ₹10 for every kilometre they drove. Along the way, they also collected money for the two NGOs they support — Muskaan and White Doves. "We collected ₹6 lakhs and another ₹5 lakhs will be our own contribution," Louis said.
The D'Souzas are now planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand. "As long as our health permits, we will keep on undertaking such trips," Louis said, laughing.