HYDERABAD: Medha Joseph and Sujal Patwardhan are proud to be two women who left their respective corporate careers to pursue their passion for travelling and set up Embarq, an overland touring company in 2016.
All this started with a road trip that Sujal and Medha took from India to Morocco. They have done various road trips in the last two years like Scotland, India to Spain, New Zealand, Best of Silk Route, Baltics Self Drive. Sujal and Medha personally do the recce of a new route that they plan. Medha talks to Hyderabad Express about her passion:
Tell us about this life-changing trip from India to Morocco that made you start Embarq, your self-drive road trip company?
We were six of us on our trip to Morocco. We met Chandrika, KC and Uday on our trip to Ladhak in lieu of our original Morocco plans. They were also travelling from Hyderabad to Ladakh like Sujal, Joe – my husband and I were. On this trip, our plans for Morocco strengthened. We – Sujal, Joe and I, couldn’t make Morocco happen in June 2014 due to lack of money and off-days from work. So we devised a plan for 2015 where we had sold our house in Pune to afford the trip and also managed our respective work schedules and holidays.
Luckily, these three joined us in our plans as well and even purchased a car similar to ours to facilitate the trip better. We were 20 days close to flagging off our trip when the unfortunate Nepal earthquake happened. We were dejected, but thanks to the support of our friends and family we made it. We had to find another route through Myanmar to cross the border into China, as the border of Nepal was the epicentre of the earthquake. This added 3,000 kms to our journey which meant that we had to begin our trip before the planned date. We made it with permits and paperwork in hand. It was all worth it! The thrill of finally making it and experiencing the fantastic terrain and scenic beauty of the whole route was the only reason that encouraged us to begin Embarq. How can you not share an amazing experience with others?!
Quitting a job to pursue travelling dreams is not an easy decision. Did you have financial backups? Were you confident that your new venture will fetch you enough money to sustain it?
The decision was based on passion for travel and road trips – with a vision to share the experience with others. When you pursue your passion, there is no failure. You will always see every shortcoming as a challenge and it will keep the fire burning within you. Quitting your profession and diving into your passion for a living is a fulfilling journey in itself.
In these days where people rely on travel apps and Google Maps to find their way, what do you think is the value addition that bespoke travel companies like yours manage to give?
We bring the motoring experience alive in our trips. We have personally done a recce and have hand-picked the routes ourselves so it is all about enjoying the road and not fussing over maps. We understand that people have limited time when they go on holidays – that’s where our recces help them in offering a refined experience. Some of the routes we offer are not found on Google maps.
When is the All-India Women’s Drive taking place? Are you open to teams or individual drivers?
We plan to flag-off on October 20, 2018 and end on November 4, starting from Guwahati and ending in Bangkok, Thailand. The trip covers a total distance of 2,800 km.
Considering you are the travel specialists, what would your recommendations be for someone travelling to Hyderabad for three days?
The Sound and Light show at Golconda Fort, dinner at Falaknuma Palace, the recently restored Qutub Shahi tombs, Ramoji Studio, camping at Vikarabad, and taking a heritage walk on a weekend.
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi kalanidhi