A few days ago as I was leaving the JW Marriott hotel in Chandigarh, I ran into Dilpreet Singh Bindra. He told me that he was the GM of the hotel and we started talking about travel. I always thought that I was very daring to travel the world alone, but when he told me that he had driven from Delhi to London by road in 55 days, I thought he was joking. Even before my mind could adjust to such a thing, he started telling me how excited he was about his next road trip in Russia and the Arctic, driving in -20 degrees in the snow from Moscow to St. Petersburg! I have met many enterprising people in all different corners of the world leading a fairly adventurous life, but I never met anybody like Dilpreet! His fearless spirit was truly inspiring so I decided to interview him for my blog.
Hi Dilpreet! So how did it all begin?
I had started my career with Taj Hotel in Mumbai and when the 9/11 attacks happened, I wanted to do a drive for peace to foster harmony between the various Taj hotels located in different parts of India. So I took my Ford Fusion and drove to all the 60 Taj hotels, covering 42 locations across the country in 33 days. I finished my journey at the Taj hotel in Mumbai and presented a poster to the President of the Taj group, signed by the general managers of each and every Taj hotel in India, saying, 'We Stand Together'.
This is when I discovered my passion for driving and other road trips followed - Himalayan cross country, Delhi-Bangkok, Delhi-London. Now, I am gearing up for the Russia snow drive.
Please tell us more about the Russia snow drive? Sounds exciting!!
I am driving with a group of people from Moscow to St. Petersburg in extremely cold temperatures - it is as cold as Russia can get! But it is also the best time of the year to visit Russia in order to experience the real beauty of this country! We start in Moscow and each one will be driving his own iconic UAZ Patriot 4×4 vehicle. These SHERP vehicles can drive up 70 degree angles, can float on water and can overcome the most impossible of terrains. We will drive through ancient cities, historic towns and age old cathedral, most of which places are not even on the tourist maps!
Have you faced any challenges while driving?
There have been no challenges as such. When you are driving in a group, challenges become fun. Yes, when I was driving alone in India, the Naxalites caught me and wanted to kill me!!!! :))
Which is the best country to drive in the world?
The best country to drive in the world is believe it or not - India! India has so much culture and variety that at every new turn you find a new story. Every new state you enter, there is a new language, a new culture, another kind of people. Also, the landscapes are so varied from the Himalayan mountain ranges to forests and beaches - India is truly a paradise and driving in this country is truly an experience worth living.
What is your message for the youth today?
Have the courage to follow your dreams, then you can discover true happiness! In the words of Mark Twain: With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.