Thottam to Nottingham! Kudla Couple to Explore Europe in Beemer
The Lifetime Journey-40 Countries-6 Months-50,000 Kms! From Thottam-Udupi to Nottingham-England, Kudla Couple-Louis (61) and Janet (55) D’Souza hailing from Thottam-Udupi, now settled in Mumbai, to Explore Central Asia and Europe in their brand new Beemer, BMW X5, starting 20 May 2016.
Mangaluru: Now that’s what you call the ultimate road trip: April 8, 2015, an adventurous family-of-four drove across 11 countries from Bengaluru-India to France over 111 days (surviving an earthquake, passing the Himalayas and the world’s largest burning crater along the way) covering 11 countries in 22,780 kms. One family. The Baid family, christened themselves ‘Little Family of Indian Explorers’ or L.I.F.E, and set out on their journey in their Fiat Linea. This pretty much sums up the Baid family’s epic road trip that has set some real travel goals. Husband and wife- Anand and Punita Baid, along with their kids Yash, 12, and Dhriti, 8, packed up their Fiat Linea Tjet and started out on the trip of a lifetime from Bengaluru -Paris,France.
This thought of a family road trip could fill some parents with dread. But adventurous couple Anand and Punita Baid, said they would do it again in a heartbeat. This Family’s 111-Day Road Trip From Bengaluru To Paris inspired yet another elderly couple from Kudla to follow the footsteps of the Baid family, and so they too have decided to take a long holiday for six long months, to travel from Mumbai to various European countries in their brand new BMW-X5. And here we present to you the couple from Thottam-Udupi (now living in Mumbai) Louis D’Souza, aged 61 and his wife, Janet aged 55 all gearing up to take on a memorable journey of their lifetime in the next couple of days. This would be their story of dreaming together in matrimonial bliss, seeing the world together as one, reliving life’s glorious moments as we discover unchartered lands, panoramas and vistas via an overland route.
Stopping by at Mangalorean.com office, the D’Souza couple revealed the complete details about their journey, their motto behind the tour and much more. Louis grew up in a village of Karnataka, Udupi, Janet grew up in Mumbai city. They met in 1978 and got married in 1982, are blessed with two children – a son, Lloyd aged 32 and a daughter, Lynette aged 30 both well settled. Explaining about their adventure/travelogue named as the “Lifetime Journey”, which will be flagged off from Mumbai on Friday 20 May, 2016, the couple said, “We being bored with the daily humdrum of life’s rat race and a world ruled by consumerism have decided to charter the road less travel into the unknown and unseen. Although in the past we have made several trips by road from Mumbai down to South India, but never picked up the courage to travel by road up North as there were a lot of rumours of robberies and kidnappings, etc. But the desire to travel the world by road in our own car was magnetically irresistible. Thus, the Lifetime Journey of us both was conceived”.
Adding more , Janet said, “Through the past years life for us has been tremendously busy, with demanding jobs, bringing up the children and settling them in the early years. Later on from 1999 we got busy with setting up the a logistics business. Life seemed to be very good after 2000, travelling to different parts of the world by flight twice or even thrice a year. In 2015, we stumbled upon an article uploaded on Facebook regarding a family of four who traveled for 111 days from Bangalore to Paris. That was the point of challenge in our lives and our love for travelling fired our imaginations to explore at least parts of the world in our own car. We contacted the Little Indian Family of Explorers (L.I.F.E.) and after feedback from them, started with the research work for “The Lifetime Journey”.”
Stepping in between our conversation, Louis said, ” Not for a moment did either of us hesitate or had second thoughts, nor did we foresee any obstacles. It took us no time in deciding to go ahead. Our overland buddies who had done this, were excited about our journey since we are also planning to drive back home, unlike others who had shipped their car back home. After a few weeks of devouring all the information we could about the route, we took the gig. We couldn’t focus too much on it though, what with a full-time involvement in the business and travels in between. When friends and family were informed about the plan of driving from Mumbai to London by car, quite a few considered us insane and had several questions – “Is it possible to drive through the continents”, “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Are you planning to travel through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is it safe”, etc. etc. At the same time, some of them were even excited about our plans and wanted to know more about the journey. Our friends lived in fear, from a destructive emotion largely stirred up on account of several uncertainties in various parts of the world. But those fears of the outside world didn’t bother us; we were too excited about the journey”.
When asked what was their motto/mission behind this tour, for which Janet replied saying, “The mission of this journey is to rediscover ourselves together, explore those parts of the world that are less traveled and less known and educate ourselves and understand the social, cultural and humanitarian aspects of the many countries we visit during this journey. To us it’s all about being in a place, not only to see it but also to experience it, feel it, hear it, taste its food and sniff its smells; to connect with people and share their lives. We hope our enthusiasm and focused target on reliving this journey would be an inspiration to all those dreaming of living their dreams together, no matter what their age and take the road less traveled”.
The couple do admit that they will be fending for themselves, dealing with irate foreign border patrol who’ll be lost in translation, de-muddying the wheels of their vehicle in case it gets stuck. But the couple said that they are ready for any obstacles, if they have push or pull their car during circumstances they will do it. Through this expedition, both Louis and Janet will be raising funds for two NGOs, namely White Doves, a Mangaluru based NGO working for the destitute founded by Corrine Rasquinha, and the other-Mumbai based Muskan Foundation for People with disabilities. For every kilometer that the couple covers, they will be donating Rs 10 to both these NGOs. A unique idea, indeed!
Although Louis is diabetic, but Janet says that shouldn’t be a problem. “I have full faith in God, and Louis will be just fine for the whole journey. We will be sharing the driving, stopping in each country to catch up on sightseeing and photography. We hope to drive not more than seven hours a day, depending on the climate and other obstacles”. When asked, what really were their expectations from this journey?, Janet said, “We really want to see different landscapes, meet local people. We hope they’ll hear our story, interact and mingle with us, and if we are lucky, invite us to stay with them. Language is a barrier, which makes it more exciting. From the beginning I was clear that this is not a trip to tick things off on a checklist; we didn’t want to have an agenda. We are going to see what we like and enjoy it.” At the end of the journey, we hope there will be a full-fledged film based on our trip, which we hope a TV channel will pick up, or else there’s always YouTube!”
“Our paperwork on visa applications, permissions and other requirements such as Carnet for our vehicle is all ready.. We know we would be on our own. It would not be a walk in the park, nor a country jaunt. It would definitely not be a jolly excursion, but a great adventure, challenging, could be dangerous. At the moment, we do not have any hand-holding nor assistance from anyone but look forward to. There would definitely be no back-up van escorting us, except in countries like Myanmar and China where by law we cannot move without a local escort. There would be no mechanics positioned in strategic places and hoping our car supports us in our journey, nor any translators awaiting us at border crossings. Forget comfort, soft pillows, warm beds and temperate running water.” added Louis.
And a final message to all our readers from this “Young Daring Couple is, “If our journey and the experiences we share, motivate you to try out a similar road adventure, it would truly make our day. Please Like our Facebook page ‘The Lifetime Journey 2016’ and get updates of our journey with photographs. We need your blessings and wishes to make our dream tour a successful one. Thank You”.
Team Mangalorean wishes Louis and Janet a trouble free and successful journey. Go Louis! Go Janet!
The couple’s journey may be followed on: