This 52-Year-Old Man Drove To 60 Countries In His Car Covering 74,000 Km In 330 Days

by Suchismita Pal

Whoever said age is just a number, was absolutely right! Because if you have the passion to fulfil your dreams then no boundaries like age can stop you. This is the story of Praveen Mehta, a 52-year old textile trader with a wife and a child, who decided to leap by travelling the world, not by taking endless flights but by driving in his own car. Something that he could have only dreamt of! He was lucky enough to return just two days before the lockdown started. Here’s his incredible journey.

330-Day World Tour In CarPushing All Limits And Covering The World In A Four-Wheeler

At 40, Mehta started long-distance cycling trips from Bombay to Goa and Manali to Leh. He embarked on long-distance motorbike trips to Leh, Kanyakumari and more. Speaking about his world drive, Mehta said, “I have been on long-distance cycling or motorbike trips, motorbike road trips, trekking, summiting etc. This trip is an extension of all that, to stretch your limit and push your envelope.”

330-Day World Tour In CarMehta has been travelling for the last few years and he wanted to push his limits and do something extraordinary. He is fortunate to have a wife and a son who are extremely understanding. After all, we have only one life, and we should so do whatever makes our hearts happy.

330-Day World Tour In Car“With regard to this world drive or any travel that I do, my family has been more than supportive. Except for filling me on the standard practises for the safety, not once have they dissuaded me or said anything against my travel plans.  Not once have they said, why I would spend so much time and money on my whims and fancies.”

A 330-Day Journey That Commenced On April 2019

Mehta had a friend who accompanied him to London in a car, but Mehta was behind the wheels at all times. They left for the trip in April 2019 and he was lucky enough to complete this trip and return to Mumbai just two days before the lockdown in March 2020. Otherwise, Mehta would have been one of the Indians who would have been stranded in a foreign land. He covered about 60 countries and 74,000 kilometres in nearly 330 days.

330-Day World Tour In Car

He first went to Bhutan from Mumbai, then he drove to Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China. From China, he moved to central-Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. After these, he covered entire Russia, then Baltic states Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. These were followed by Nordic states Finland, Sweden and Norway. Then Mehta drove to Denmark, Amsterdam and covered entire Europe. From France, he moved to the UK. From London, he travelled to Houston in the US. From there he moved to Mexico and Central American countries.  From Argentina, he finally drove back to India.

Mehta’s main idea behind the drive was also to meet prominent influencers, noble personalities
from all walks of life, who help to bring a change in society. He wanted to learn and share inspiring stories from these change-makers. He said, “The purpose of the drive was to meet people who bring change in society or people who bring progress to our life or people who influence our society by their body of work.”

330-Day World Tour In Car
Picture Credits: TOI

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The Type Of Car And The Documents Required

Covering 74,000 kilometres by car is not an easy task. The car one chooses is very important. Mehta chose the Toyota Fortuner for this journey and the drive was so smooth that none of his tires was punctured even once. Coming to documents for this kind of trips, firstly, one will need the visas of multiple counties. Secondly, the visa for the car which is called Carnet De Passages is required. And certain countries in Asia insist on having the road permits specific to their countries. Other than these, own would require own personal insurance, insurance for the car, yellow fever vaccination and international driving licence.

Eight Months Taken To Plan The Entire Trip

Mehta took eight months to plan this entire trip and it required a lot of dos and don’ts. He narrated, “Whenever you are on a world drive or a journey like this, there are certain dos and don’ts you must bear in mind. So let’s start with the car first. Carry your spares. I mean this model might not be available in the country that you are visiting. So I carried all the filters. Carry a carboy, a tent just in case you are stranded, a toolbox, carry your foreign exchange card. Download the other navigation apps, the GPS navigation apps like Ray, Ways or Get your own personal insurance from any international body.”

330-Day World Tour In CarEncountering A Theft, Losing Things Worth More Than ₹7 Lakhs

Well, every journey comes with a set of hardships and Mehta too was stranded in Milan where his things worth about $10,000 ( ₹7,33,775) were stolen. Speaking about his plight, Mehta said, “We did have one incident and not in countries where people warn you about but in West Europe. So my car was broken in, someone broke my windshield and we were car-jagged. 6 bags were stolen. Storage devices, laptops, cash, clothes-everything was gone.” This major set back did not stop him from completing his drive. He soon got the windshield imported from India, bought new clothes and necessary things and continued his journey.

Three Soft Powers Of India: Yoga, Ayurveda, Bollywood

Mehta was impressed by the Indian outreach in the world and said there are three ‘soft powers’ of India. These are Yoga, Ayurveda and Bollywood. He added, “Yoga, which has become a universal language, a universal religion across the world; Ayurveda, people as far-flung as Chile and Argentina know about Ayurveda and they know what is Vayu, pith, they know what is dosh and they speak in that language. And the third is Bollywood. There have been instances where I had been caught by cops in Kazakistan and Uzbekistan. I was left off the hook, only because I sang Bollywood songs.”

Also Read: I Travelled To 10 Cities In 7 European Countries, In 16 Days Under ₹1 Lakh 

While wrapping up his conversation with us, Mehta left a humble message for all those who want to take the extra mile and make a difference in their lives. He concluded stating, “The world drive or any expedition that you want to take is very doable, as doable as the current work you are doing or any accomplishment that you have achieved earlier. All it takes is to take baby steps on a daily basis towards achieving your goal.” Do you also have a story like Mehta to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below. Meanwhile, you can go on an epic bus trip from Delhi to London in 2021 covering 18 countries: