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  Off the beaten path

Off the beaten path

Published : Jun 20, 2016, 10:29 pm IST
Updated : Jun 20, 2016, 10:29 pm IST

A 4,000 km journey, over a span of 20 days, across the challenging Himalayan terrain is the new goal that adventurer Nidhi Tiwari has set her eyes on.

Nidhi Tiwari during her earlier solo drive to Uzbekistan
 Nidhi Tiwari during her earlier solo drive to Uzbekistan

A 4,000 km journey, over a span of 20 days, across the challenging Himalayan terrain is the new goal that adventurer Nidhi Tiwari has set her eyes on. The adventure buff is not new to these challenges having undertaken a similar journey from New Delhi to London last year. Into overland journeys since the past 12 years, Nidhi found herself existing in a space where there were no women to be seen. She wanted more women to venture out and with this resolve, the idea of ‘Women Beyond Boundaries’ (WBB) was conceived.

For her upcoming journey across the Himalayan terrain, WBB has partnered with German car manufacturer Porsche to flag off the expedition that aims to showcase women’s empowerment through mobility and raise awareness about women’s health and cancer in the remotest corners of the country.

 

Driving all by herself, Nidhi will be promoting the cause of cancer awareness among women by showing short videos to women groups she meets en route her journey. “We seek to raise awareness about cancer and the fact that if detected early on it is curable. We also plan to distribute leaflets and other resource material,” says Nidhi.

The trail will witness extreme challenging terrains beginning from the plains of Delhi through the Pir Panjal ranges in Himachal, all the way to Nathula — the highest motorable road in the world. “We will also be documenting mobility solutions adopted by women in these high altitude areas. Our mission is to empower women with overlanding skills so that they may own public roads for greater accessibility and mobility.,” points out Nidhi.

 

Adding to it, Pavan Shetty, director, Porsche India shares, “WBB showcases mobility solutions adopted by women in the remote areas through which they traverse. In keeping with this objective the WBB team will also train local women in Ladakh in extreme overland driving to motivate their movement between remote communities.”

While an exhilarating experience in itself, undertaking these arduous expeditions comes with its set of challenges. Nidhi recalls, “Last year, during my expedition, travelling through the Myanmar floods was one of the most difficult situations faced by me till now. There were landslides and the drive through was very difficult but we eventually managed.”

 

A mother of two, Nidhi also has memorable stories to share from her past expeditions. “On my journey I have seen humanity from close quarters. I have realised that there are both good and bad people but largely, people have been very warm and generous,” she points out.

Traversing the offbeat path that she has chosen, Nidhi is lucky to have the unwavering support of her family. “My family has been very supportive. My husband and children have always known me to be an adventurer. In fact, they would find it abnormal if I weren’t doing the things that I do,” Nidhi adds.

In a society where myths of women being bad drivers have found easy acceptability, Nidhi shines with her grit and resolve. Talking about the stereotypes, she quips, “These stereotypes need to be broken. Good driving is an attribute and everything cannot be seen through the lens of gender.”

 

Talking about her future plans for WBB, Nidhi says, “I aim to undertake India’s first Trans-Arctic journey in 2017. All the expeditions that we are undertaking now are a build-up to our Arctic journey. We want to take extreme overlanding to as many people as we can.”