Three best buddies in their mid-30s, Rashmi Koppar, Dr Soumya Goyal and Nidhi Tiwari embarked on their childhood dream. They drove 21,477km crossing 17 countries in 97 days between New Delhi and London.
The trio women pushed all boundaries to create awareness on women empowerment. They took leave from their jobs to live their dream and make it happen. They had no back-up vehicle but spirit was high. Nidhi conceptualized the trip. . She has lots of outdoor jeeping experience in India and abroad and was the only driver at the wheel of the vehicle, sponsored by Mahindra First Choice.
This journey of Women Beyond Boundaries started in June and came a full circle in October. They crossed India, Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany and the United Kingdom. The car which they drove happened to be the first Indian vehicle to cross the Arctic Circle.
Rashmi Koppar, who works with MS Ramaiah Hospital, recalled the remarkable voyage.
“The first thing we did while entering every country was to buy a local SIM card. However, we couldn’t book accommodations in advance as our schedule kept changing.” They trio drove close to 600km a day. “It was only in India and England that we spoke in English. In the other countries, we used sign language and Google translator,” said Dr Soumya Goyal, therapist at MS Ramaiah Hospital.
Dr Goyal added ‘”We wanted to tell the women of the world that such expeditions are possible and that there was nothing to be scared of. We avoided driving late at night, instead, spent evenings exploring the cities. In fact, we didn’t find a single woman driving on the highway till we reached Europe”.
Uninhabited zones, non-tarred roads, rocky terrains, forests, streams and dunes greeted the women at every turn, giving them the kind of high they always craved for.
Rashmi added about the hardships which they faced, amongst all was the landslide in Myanmar where bridges were washed away. She said “We took over five days to cover a distance of 200km from Imphal to Myanmar; usually, it takes not more than 2-3 hours. It also meant redoing our visas”. But they experienced goodness quotient as well in this trip. “When we were stuck due to a landslide in Manipur, the locals offered to help us. We trusted them and stayed with their families and also got to taste home-cooked Manipuri food. The trip reinforced my faith in human goodness,” she said.