Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Goofy Times

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Hi All,

Pooja here, a quick update on what’s happening.

We leave from London day after tomorrow and have been busy packing.

Food - The emergency food bag consists of boil a bags, maggi and tinned baked beans . To make sure our blood sugar levels stay normal, I’ve packed loads of flapjacks (from Honeybuns http://www.honeybuns.co.uk/ ) and have also stocked up on some jaggery (gud). The munchies also include savoury packets (namkeen and matthi’s for Tushar) and chocolates.

Medicines – Along with a good stock of medicines we are also taking a large first aid kit, which includes different types of bandages. Last Thursday, we went and got ourselves vaccinated for Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitus A and Diptheria. We got two injections each, one in each arm. The nurse told us that the Tetanus vaccination would work for 10 years, Typhoid 3 years and Hepatitus A for 20 years ( i think!).

Music – We have been asking all our friends to burn mp3 cd’s for us and have managed to get a good collection of Hindi and English songs.

Jerry Cans – Our special anti explosion jerry cans reached London from Kanpur a few days back. They will be mounted on the roof and will be secured in a jerry can holder.

Goofy – Our Jeep needed a name. Many came to our mind..Badal, Harvey, Ballu. In the end we decided to call her Goofy. Goofy was the name of my dog in India. She was an Apso cross (mixed breed) and like all dog owners would say…she was the best dog in the world! (Even after chewing my sister’s sandals and tearing up my school diaries)

Jeep Handling – I find the steering very light. The gears however are a little hard ( to be expected from a 4×4, I guess). Over the last few weeks we have been speaking with companies who specialise in preparing cars for expeditions. A few of them are of the opinion that the best vehicle to take on such long expeditions is an old Land Cruiser or Land Rover (94-96 model). This is because these models are very basic and don’t have as many electrics as the newer 4×4’s. In case of a breakdown, its easier to fix a Land Cruiser than it is to fix a newer sophisticated model. We overlooked this aspect when buying the Jeep however, we have been told that it should not give us any major problems. We are carrying spare parts just in case we do breakdown.

Portable Toilet and Privacy Tent – This is something that I stressed on being a girl when planning the trip. What do you do when you are camping in a desert and there are no bushes to hide behind? Click here to check the website from where we bought the portable toilet. The privacy tent is a pop up tent, which is very compact as well. I bought it from http://www.beachcabina.com/home.htm ( It is a nightmare to fold it back once its opened though!)

The next 48 hours will be very hectic. We will be writing before we leave. Till then…

Thanks for reading, Pooja

Almost ready to go

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

It has hit us now. Suddenly it feels real that we are actually going to be driving from London to Delhi. Last one year was all about planning, researching, reading and above all dreaming. But now, less than 3 weeks away, it has dawned upon us that we have taken up a massive challenge. Needless to say, it has made me ask myself – can we do it? What if the car breaks down? What if some border post does not let us enter their country? What if we have a big accident? What if we fall terribly sick on the way? All this makes me feel very nervous at times. Fortunately, Pooja is able to keep her sanity and does a superb job at removing my fears.

The last one month has gone in shopping. The list is never ending. It’s like we are chasing a moving target. We have placed around 20 separate orders online for various things and are now waiting for all our deliveries to come through. On Saturday, we are going to a town in the south west of England called South Molton to get a roof rack fitted on the Jeep. This will be used to carry a second spare wheel and two 20 litre jerry cans for fuel. The original plan was to carry jerry cans inside the car, however, after researching online and talking to a few people, we realized that carrying jerry cans inside the vehicle may not only be illegal in a few countries, it is also extremely dangerous. A slight spark and it can explode inside the car. We have now decided to mount it on the roof. Still, the risk was making Pooja very worried and so by using her ‘google skills’, she managed to find a Kanpur (a town in Northern India) based company who make jerry cans that won’t explode on contact with sparks or small currents. We have managed to get two of these cans shipped to us and they should arrive in a few days. Its things like these that makes the whole planning so interesting and challenging.

We have also received all our visas now. I have booked the satellite phone which we should receive a few days before we leave. The carnet de Passage has been applied and should also arrive in a few days. For cooking, we are carrying a ‘solid fuel’ stove which uses hexamine tablets as fuel. This is an extremely compact stove (maybe 2 times the size of a playing cards pack) and the tablets are also very light and easy to use.

About our mechanical skills, neither of us has any experience of fixing cars. The best I can do is change tyres, top up engine oil and maybe change the air filter. (I know, I should be ashamed of myself). So we have decided to take some mechanical training which will be put to test if and when the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Also, we will be carrying some spare parts and equipment (I will post a detailed list of everything that we will be carrying). The idea is that even if we cannot fix or replace a part, if we have the right parts, we can ask a local mechanic to change it for us.

Now some exciting news. As some of you may have already seen, last week an article about our journey appeared in all the leading news websites in India. If you missed it, please go to our Media page and follow the links to the article. Since then, we have been receiving an amazing response from people back home. I cannot begin to thank everyone who commented and sent their wishes through our website and our Facebook group. Guys, please keep writing to us. Your suggestions, advice, comments and wishes are very motivating and encouraging. Believe me, it makes us want to complete this journey more than ever before. Pooja and I are two regular people without a lot of experience of travelling such distances. Some of the messages we received have made so much sense and have already helped us in our planning.

We are grateful to everyone who is taking time out to read and above all write back to us. I will do my best to reply back to every single post before we leave but please don’t stop writing to us while we are on the road.

Finally, guys, we are doing this journey to raise funds for Friendicoes – an animal charity in India. We need help from all of you ( and many many more) to raise as much as possible for the welfare of animals in India. So please spread the message about our journey and donate whatever you can through our website. Every penny you donate will go to Friendicoes and none of this will be used to fund our journey.

That’s all for now. It’s a long weekend and we have an endless list of things to do.

Thanks for reading!

Tushar