Until 10 years ago, they chose to travel at night to avoid traffic and traffic jams. “He didn’t sleep and he liked to ride next to trucks and lorries,” says Sushma. Now, when on the road, they start their day between 3 and 4 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., driving about 10 hours a day.
“If Sushi thinks I am getting sleepy while driving, then we stop at a dhaba, eat, rest, refresh and continue,” Yogi says. “If we are both sleepy, I boil water in a portable kettle and make tea,” Sushma adds. “A cup of tea in Europe was very expensive, so we started keeping a kettle with milk, tea and sugar in the car,” says Yogi.
Yogi and Sushi were going on a road trip before Google Maps even existed. “Well, road signs have always existed,” Yogi says, “people are very warm in India, so we can just stop the car on the side and even ask a passer-by for help and he would be ready to guide us.” In foreign countries, language is a barrier, however. Sushma became the navigation expert and was always alert to see the sign for food courts and directions. “My Jaaneman-Gul-e-Gulzar (Sushma) is always right. Every time she guided me, I rode perfectly. I’m 100% sure of what she’s saying,” he laughs.
Apart from places like Kashmir, Amarnath, and Tirupati in India, they also found that countries like Germany, Italy, and Thailand, among others, were the most age-friendly in terms of accessibility to tourist attractions.
For them, even the challenges they faced became unforgettable experiences and moments of unwavering trust, encouragement and support. In 2016 they were going down from Darcha to Leh to Manali and had to stop because of a deep water filled crater on the highway. As they rode, rocks protruded from the sides and the water level reached the gates of their Santro. Right in front of them was a couple driving an SUV trying to guide them. “Listen to them, but focus and drive,” Sushma recalls. And they also went through this ordeal, together.