Overland touring company Embarq, helmed by Sujal and Medha is organising a solo women’s drive from October 20, 2018 to November 4, 2018, starting from Guwahati, India and ending in Bangkok, Thailand. Covering a total distance of 2800 km, this will be a pioneering trip as it is the first all women trip, conceptualised and planned by women. Interested?
What is the concept behind the all-women’s drive your company is organising from Guwahati to Bangkok?
Medha Joseph: We are organising this trip in collaboration with Western India Automobile Association (WIAA). The idea is to begin from Guwahati covering a total distance of 2800 km to Bangkok, Thailand. Like every Embarq road-trip, we will follow the convoy format on this drive as well, where there will be a lead car with a local team to navigate and guide and a support car to sweep the whole convoy. The car and motorcycles will have separate convoys with full support teams to take care of any contingencies. We ensure that we set a pace that is reasonable, we keep people guided about the dangers or the experiences that one should expect on the road ahead. This is where our recce comes in handy.
Sujal Patwardhan: The convoys will reach Imphal and cross the Indian border into Myanmar. We will drive through the rustic country side of Myanmar – across 50 iron bridges. Then we will drive through Bagan – the archaeological site with thousands of Buddhist temples, drive by the capital of Myanmar and then cross into Thailand. In Thailand, we will drive across the Asian highway to reach Bangkok while experiencing the remote beauty of the small towns. There are limited seats available, 25 for the car convoy and 10 for the motorcycle convoy. A maximum of up to four women can travel in one car.
What is the charm of a road trip?
Road trips allow you the actual experience of land, nature and culture. This is something you cannot get as a tourist of any other kind. Road trips take you down memory lane because it gives you time to reflect and allows memories to rush back to you. It offers you a flexibility to enjoy the road, make your travel enjoyable and adventurous. You will never get to experience the quaint villages, scenic offbeat routes, mountains, ravines, meeting locals and sharing meals in their homes as a regular tourist.
What about women’s safety issues on trip and the measures you will undertake for the Thailand expedition?
Medha Joseph: All these countries are totally safe to drive through. Sujal and I have driven on these roads – just the two of us as well, and we did not face any issues, as women in Thailand or on the way.
Sujal Patwardhan: For the All Women Rally all necessary and basic measures are being taken to ensure that all types of contingencies can be taken care of. We will have an Embarq lead and support car convoy throughout.
Medha Joseph: We ensure to have very strong local partners in all cities, namely, Myanmar and Thailand that helps iron out all the issues. All the vehicles would be connected through walkie – and there will also be support staff to ensure every aspect is taken care of.
How are perspectives changing today vis a vis women and automobiles?
Medha Joseph: Thanks to the wonderful cars and motorcycles available in India today more and more women are using cars and motorcycles as a medium to commute and have started to enjoy the road-trip experience. Once you go exploring a place on wheels it is very difficult to travel any other way.
Sujal Patwardhan: We strongly believe that overland journeys are picking up. This niche is soon going to become an industry because everyone we meet is excited for a road-trip and wants to travel long distances. The only thing that stops them is the lack of information and paperwork for which we are always here.