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Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage
The book cover of Road to Mekong,

A tale of four women on the adventure of a lifetime

Puneet K. Paliwal
August 27 , 2020
01 Min Read

"Why had I burdened myself with so many imagined limitations?” wondered Piya, the spunky author of Road to Mekong. She wasn’t one to shy away from grit—just look at her surname—and her dilemma, I think, will resound with everyone who leaves their dreams to wither and die. 

In Road to Mekong, four gutsy women on their 400cc bikes embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Riding through six gorgeous countries, this sisterhood covers some 17,000 kilometres in 56 days. From Hyderabad, they take the highways on India’s eastern coast, cruising through our Northeast to enter Myanmar, finally travelling on the 1,360-kilometre India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway to end in Cambodia.

Beautiful roads, inspiring women, constant encouragement, and the occasional dose of reality. The book isn’t just dreamy, but shares the fundamentals of approaching such an expedition—how to pitch the concept for funds, garner support, and so on.

It reminded me of a bikepacking trip I had planned from Assam to Meghalaya, towards the Bangladesh border. It took days of research, continuously adding and subtracting elements depending on weight. When going alone (but a tip in general), you have to be well-equipped with tools, and know how to fix breakdowns in the middle of nowhere. 

But the women weren’t just aimless travellers, they were armed with a mission. Each place they visited, they told the locals of the history and culture of India and Telangana, and drew parallels with other countries. 

From sleeping on the road to meeting Prime Minister Modi, these ladies did everything, and led me to an inevitable quarter-life crisis. It sparked something inside, that I’ve been trying to dig out for a while. I re-evaluated my everyday: home— office— home, unhealthy routines with binge watching, and meaningless planning, and tried to echo these wanderers who so keenly charted out their path. I echoed the young man’s thoughts who met these four bikers—“Hum bhi aap hi ki tarah deewane hain!” (“I am as moonstruck as you!”)

The book is a publication of Pan Macmillan IndIa and is available for Rs 350.


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