THANE: A British national, originally from Thane, completed a journey of 18,300 km road trip from London to Thane which spanned 16 countries and took 59 days to complete in an SUV.
Virajit Mungale, whose mother resides in Raunak Park area of Thane, embarked on his adventure on April 20, till June 17. He comes down often to meet his mother, but this time he drove all the way.His route took him through the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, China, Tibet, Nepal and finally, India.
The first leg of the journey saw Mungale accompanied by a Nepales, Roshan Shresta, up to Kathmandu.
“I had planned this after reading about the historic Silk Route, and later after I read about a couple who had done it, but emails to the couple did not yield any response from them, I thought I’d plan it myself,” Mungale said. “When I shared this plan with my wife, she thought I was joking, but later, she supported it, and that’s how I planned the entire trip. Though it was planned before the pandemic, it got postponed until now.”
Mungale meticulously charted his entire driving route before setting off. Averaging 400-600 km a day, sometimes covering up to 1,000 km, depending on the conditions, he was careful to avoid late-night driving to ensure safety. “We had done pre-maintenance on the SUV, but faced a minor technical problem when we reached Poland, but we overcame it, and it was a smooth drive from there.”
Experiencing the diverse nature and culture of each country along the way, the IT professional took two months of leave without pay. Mungale secured all necessary permissions before entering each country.
“Being a British national, I did not have any issues entering European countries or any other country. All my documents were ready, and the legal processes were taken care of.”
“We did not face any major weather in any climatic conditions, though it was summer in most places… We had also reached the higher altitudes of 5,200 mts and faced minor altitude sickness, snow and extreme cold, altogether amazing experience but well prepared for that as well,” Mungale said.
“Food was not a problem either, as apart from beef and insects, I eat everything. We would take a break after 3-4 pm and start searching for hotels or places to stay overnight,” he revealed.
In the second leg, from Kathmandu, Mungale was joined by his wife and a relative for the remainder of the trip. Each leg of the journey was meticulously planned to manage fatigue and ensure safety. The entire 18,300 km journey required nearly 3,000 litres of fuel.
Mungale’s journey stands as a testament to human endurance and the spirit of exploration, highlighting wonders and challenges of overland travel across diverse terrains and cultures.