18 April 2011

A Road Trip with A Difference

The story of The Wild Geese is the story of a journey into the unknown. A journey from the familiar to lands filled with new experiences. Stories like this do not belong to history, but are instead timeless. In this month's GQ, Kulveer Ranger has written an incredibly interesting article 'The Road to Happiness' in which he retells his adventures along one of the world's most dangerous roads - the 20,000 ft high pass between Sikkim and Bhutan.

An electrifying read, there are some passages which could have been written by Sarsfield and his followers after they had left Ireland.

Ranger addresses the mixed and fluctuating emotions he was feeling when starting his journey - 'As we came down the first set of mountain roads, that initial thrill started to be tempered somewhat by a humongous spike of adrenaline (OK - I'll call it what it was - sheer fear)'. Riding a classic Royal Enfield, the journey was filled with danger and the road was unlike any that could be found in large cities. We're betting roadworks were a very rare sight.

'I took the unprecedented step of actually checking the thread of my back wheel as we made our first pit stop,' Ranger writes, noticing his rapidly balding tyres. '"Don't worry your helmet" was the sarcastic chorus from the lads - all keen to crack on with our mission. "The lack of Tarmac will compensate for the lack of grip."'

Tiger's Nest Monastery , Bhutan - the final place on Ranger's journey

Ranger's story also explains the source of inspiration on the journey - not from the innate beauty of the region, but from a humble Man of Action. A mechanic called Sadiq who 'was a maestro of motorcycle maintenance and travelled with our team because his magical hands could fix any problem our ageing bikes encountered... nothing was beyond him'. Through his talented actions, this man kept this ambitious trip running and is proof that a helping hand is never overrated. 'Not only did he keep our creaking bikes going, he inspired us to continue when otherwise we may have pulled over'.

The combination of danger and adventure; of risk and courage echo the tale of 1691 and is a modern day testament to the significance of The Wild Geese.

Congratulations to Kulveer Ranger and his team for their intrepid attitude, which you can read about in May's edition of GQ.

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