Every now and then I get a note from someone who's keen to take on an epic drive to raise money for something, set a new record or to sooth a yearning to fulfill a life long motoring ambition.
The communiqués most likely come as a result of the four long-distance global driving records Ken Langley, Tim Cahill and I set in the 1980s. But in most cases, when the caller realizes the planning, risk, expense and dedication that went in to those events, I never hear from them again.
About a year ago, I received an e-mail from Tushar and Pooja Agarwal, a couple from London, England. The first indication that the computer specialist and insurance broker were different from the usual tire-kicking, would-be road adventurers was their lack of questions other than how to order a couple of books on my boy-wonder motoring extravaganzas.
I sent the books and didn't hear from the Agarwals for few months when they sent an e-mail outlining their plans to drive to New Delhi from London.
"London Delhi by Road is a charity event that will travel through 15 countries starting from London in April 2010 to reach New Delhi, India in seven weeks," Tushar wrote.
The journey is in aid of an animal charity in India called Friendicoes SECA (ww.friendicoes.org), a registered nonprofit charity operating in the city of Delhi since 1979 that, at any given time, has 1,000 animals to feed, medicate and care for.
The couple hopes to raise awareness among people in countries enroute on how they can better look after their animals and spread the message that cruelty to animals cannot be tolerated.
Over the months leading up to the journey, Pooja and Tushar, 30-year-olds who grew up in India but were educated and now work in England, kept me up to date on their progress. Although I offered bits of advice I was impressed by their tenacious, level-headed approach to the mission.
They understood the impact of carbon emissions produced by the 8,700-mile drive and subsequent return flight back to London from India and calculated the "carbon footprint" and offset it by financially donating to plant trees in Kenya.
After considering many vehicles, they purchased a Jeep for the trek -- right hand drive, of course. Aside from a roof rack, extra spare tires and a load of guidebooks, maps and visas, the vehicle was stock.
Although they looked for corporate sponsorship, it was not something that stood in Tushar and Pooja's way. The result was a purity in their Internet blog, with no corporate PR departments wagging the tail of their efforts. No frivolous press conference and massaged press releases either. Just an e-mail once in a while that links to a blog at www.LondonDelhiByRoad.com.
Since their trip began on April 17, I found myself waiting to hear where they were, and even worried about them. And, since they were motoring through China and Nepal, following their journey was a nice complement to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Montreal and Pittsburgh not playing tonight? No sweat, just got an update from Tushar and Pooja. They made it through the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and the Jeep is running just fine.
So, I have been along for the ride, virtually speaking, of course, as they discovered historic European cities, Nazi death camps, the Danube River and drank horse and camel milk in Kazakhstan.
I have driven to India from London before, although via a much different route, so in a way I'm living a road trip through places that were, until not long ago, some of the most inaccessible places on the planet for Westerners to travel.
In one report from the team, Tushar wrote, "I am amazed that Kazakhstan, being the ninth largest country in the world -- it is mineral rich; it is oil rich -- but it still remains unexplored. Believe me, the film "Borat" does not do justice to this country.
"A lot of people warned us about Kazakhstan not being safe for foreigners. We were told to keep a distance from the local people and to keep a low profile. Whoever said this could not have been more wrong. People here are extremely friendly, hospitable, helpful and always smiling. Even the cops and the custom officers smile here!"
Reading the rest of the update I couldn't help but smile because even in these times of financial uncertainty and global conflict there are people like Tushar and Pooja Agarwal who have followed their dreams around the world.
Stay tuned to World Odyssey for a wrap-up story now that they have just completed their journey.
Garry Sowerby, author of "Sowerby's Road: Adventures of a Driven Mind," is a four-time Guinness World Record holder for long-distance driving. His exploits, good, bad and just plain harrowing, are the subject of World Odyssey, produced in conjunction with Wheelbase Communications. Wheelbase is a worldwide provider of automotive news and features stories.