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Journey of a lifetime

WHAT’S AGE TO DO WITH IT? Taking the road by storm, Louis and Janet D’souza

WHAT’S AGE TO DO WITH IT? Taking the road by storm, Louis and Janet D’souza  

BHUMIKA K. says cheers to the Peris and D'Souza couples, aged over 50, from Bengaluru and Mumbai, who are setting out on an overland journey through Europe in their cars this May

“I s this the age for this kind of adventure?” many asked Louis and Janet D’Souza when they spoke of their plans to travel the world by car. Louis, who turns 62 in May, and Janet 55, are a Mumbai-based couple.

They plan to take off in their BMW X5, charting a course of over 50,000 kilometres and visiting 40 countries over six months and driving all the way back home.

While both Louis and Janet are from Mangaluru in Karnataka, they settled in Mumbai, where they run a logistics business. Janet says they were bored with the daily humdrum of life’s rat race and living in a world ruled by consumerism. “ > We came across the story of this family from Bengaluru, on Facebook, the Little Indian Family of Explorers (L.I.F.E.), that travelled by road from Bengaluru to Paris. We thought if they can do it, why can’t we?

They managed with young children in tow! So I contacted Anand Baid of L.I.F.E. and started my research. I feel we come into this world and go away empty handed. So we decided we should enjoy our lives, do this tour,” says Janet.

They are calling it “The Lifetime Journey”.

They didn’t want this to be a trip without purpose. “Louis decided that for every kilometre we drive, we will donate Rs. 10 for a cause. We have identified two NGOs we are familiar with – White Doves and Muskaan. The first shelters destitute people and the second, educates children from urban slums,” says Janet.

The couple has been married since 1982. Life had been rather hectic, points out Janet, with demanding jobs, bringing up children and settling them in the early years. From 2000, they had been flying out to different parts of the world twice or even thrice a year.

They had made several trips by road from Mumbai to south India, but had never picked up the courage to travel by road up North “as there were a lot of rumours of robberies and kidnappings”.

Not for a moment did either of them hesitate or have second thoughts, nor did they foresee any obstacles on this trip, she stresses.

“We are also planning to drive back home, unlike others who usually ship their car back home.”

Louis is diabetic, but Janet says that shouldn’t be a problem.

They will share the driving, stopping in each country to catch up on sightseeing and photography. “We hope to drive not more than seven hours a day.”

When friends and family were informed about the plan of driving from Mumbai to London by car, quite a few considered them insane and had several questions – “Is it even possible to drive through the continents over land?”, “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Are you planning to travel through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Is it safe?” recalls Janet.

You can follow their travels on the Facebook page The Lifetime Journey 2016.

Travel so life doesn’t escape you

Michael and Susanne Peris from Bengaluru had in 2009 driven down from Denmark to Bengaluru, after having shipped their car to Denmark from the city. The couple, aged 58 and 56, respectively, were planning their second trip around the world this year when they got in touch with Anand Baid, after reading about him. He in turn put them in touch with Janet and Louis because their travel plans matched. The Bengaluru couple will leave the city in their Toyota LandCruiser Prado on May 15 and meet the Mumbai couple in Guwahati or Varanasi.

Michael being from Mangaluru too, they hit it off well and have decided to travel together with the Mumbai couple up to Denmark. “We will be travelling through Myanmar and China where it is compulsory to have an official and a guide accompanying you. So we thought if we travelled together we could also share costs,” said Michael. They will travel for three months with the D’Souzas and then ship their car back from Denmark.

Susanne, who is Danish, recalls how she and her husband met in Israel in 1979, while they were travelling, and got married in 1982. They settled in Bengaluru in 2001. “I’ve always liked to travel. We wanted to make this trip so that we could see countries that we have not seen.”

Michael is more philosophical when he quotes one of the most often-quoted traveller dream: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Michael, who owns coffee estates in Chikmagalur, says that it’s nice to put life on hold sometimes. “Challenges on this journey are not easy to talk about. But I believe that if you have an open mind, you can conquer any challenge. The hard work is sorting out things for when you will be away for three months!”

Routing it

The Mumbai – London – Mumbai trip that Janet and Louis will set out on, on May 20, will take them through Central Asia and Europe -- via Imphal, Myanmar, China, Mongolia, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Greece,Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and more.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:41:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/peris-and-dsouza-couples-jouney/article8537078.ece

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