Last Sunday, nibbling at a limp biscuit I read an article about three women driving from New Delhi to London. For a person who always wanted to travel for reasons other than sightseeing, this looked like an achievement of a life time. My wandering mind took me on a journey so capturing that when I was shaken out of my stupor, the tea in the mug in my hand was cold as the wind blowing outside. These three women made this journey of 21,477km, 17 countries and 97 days look like a cakewalk.
I remembered my own childhood when the biannual trip to grandma’s house was a much awaited event as it involved crossing through beaming towns and villages, tree lined state highways and a national park. Tiger sightings were but a hurdle in the path. Nobody bothered about selfies, our worries were at most limited to being late for breakfast at our destination.
There was a time when Chinese silk reached Egypt and Myrrh from Somalia reached China through a lone trade route which took months to transport and elephantine efforts (literally) on the part of people involved. Thankfully I’m born in an age where travel can be planned on the couch and executed similarly (if you are lucky enough to avoid travelling economy).
It’s nice to know that there are and have been people who were greedy for travel and wrote about their experiences even when there was no internet to share them across the globe. I guess they always knew that a life time would never be enough for all the experiences there are to experience once you follow a certain road and leave your inhibitions behind.
For such people there is much excitement in store as the world prepares to open new roads joining Eurasia and North America. Shift over India- Thiland highway, if the Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin has his way, aspiring road runners may sooner than later drive to their hearts fills from London to New York. Yes, you read it right; London to New York!
The idea of an extravagant global railroad network was first envisioned by Willian Gilpin in the early year 1890. Thereafter, Joseph Strauss, designer of the Golden Gate Bridge proposed and seconded the idea for a Bering Strait railroad bridge as part of his post graduate thesis. Ever since there have been a hurdle or two and economic factors have been weighed against logistical mega projects for this dream to materialise. There are few who would be willing to invest so much in a project which will only turn profitable for the next generation.
This high speed transport corridor aspires to connect London and New York by rail and road. The real test will be to bridge the Bering Strait which has an average depth of about 55 metres and has favourable ice and wind conditions. The ambitious project even plans oil and gas pipelines to fulfil energy needs.
My point is; the shortest distance between mainland Russia and mainland North America (Alaska) is only about 88 kms! So, you can be at one continent this hour and on to another in just the next. Now that my fellow traveller,is a journey to look forward to.
8 Dec 2015