January 20, 2021

Nidhi Tiwari- A woman, a mum who is beyond boundaries

Breaking myths on various levels, founder of Women Beyond Boundaries – this mum proves again and again that women, particularly mums need not be confined or be within a boundary or a limit to fulfill their dreams.

Read on to find an interesting story of Nidhi Tiwari; on her latest achievement of travelling to the coldest region on Planet Earth.

Last year she led the team of three including herself to a drive of visiting 17 countries in 95 days- from Delhi to London – a record by itself being a solo driver.

In an email interaction now she shares her recent success of being the first Indian to drive to the coldest permanently inhibited place on earth- Oymyakon in Siberia.

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She shares with Mums and stories, “Each expedition that WBB (Women Beyond Boundaries) undertakes needs to be one that pushes boundaries both within and outside.  After Delhi-London, it had to be something bigger, more challenging…this route and area had been on my radar for some years now.  It’s by the most extreme roads,  weather and terrain you can ask for on earth.  So I decided to give it a shot!

I don’t know whether I set a fine example of not.  But for me it’s important to teach, be a role model and contemplate on attributes like overcoming fear.  I talk to my children all the time about things like this.  These are journeys which teach so much.

Fear is a very real emotion and it stems from hopeless uncertainty.  Now dealing with uncertainty is a critical life skill, as life is full of it.  And the better we equip children to deal with it – the greater their chance of dealing with life to achieve their potential.  So journeys like these show, demonstrate, establish that fear can be dealt with. It can be conquered and to prove that beyond the fear lies satisfaction, accomplishment and most importantly learning and growth!

The only way I know to live is to face everything that comes my way.  It’s made me the person I am.  And I would like to transmit this to my kids as well.  I feel it’s very important to be a fighter at the core of it.  Face up to whatever comes your way, good, bad, ugly and emerge stronger from every situation.”

Talking specifically on the challenging expedition she shares, “I think the toughest part was the weather.  It was just very very cold.  I rally hadn’t imagined the extent of cold… So took me a while to get used to it.  It was indeed brutal cold.

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Then came the remoteness- You know fully well that one breakdown and will take less than two hours to freeze to the bone… So preparing and planning had to be very accurate and carefully done.

As far as being alone goes… I typically enjoy the solitude…actually on this expedition -given how extreme it was… in a way it was good that I was doing it solo as it would have taken a really weathered,  in tune,  team mate to make it better… And they are hard to find. Otherwise team management takes a lot of energy and distracts in such extreme situations.

It was an extreme overland solo on what’s probably the most dangerous road in the world from Yakutsk to Magadan in north eastern Siberia via the ‘Pole of cold’ at Oymyakon and that too in the peak of winter.

I drove a Toyota landcruiser Prado for 5080kms over 13 days. I drove about 12-13hrs average every day.. In temperatures averaging -50 – the lowest being -59. I met with some of the most resilient populations on earth, saw some virgin -.lost backcountry landscapes.  Those were really pretty and I must mention that it was driving on nerve wracking sections and yet very satisfying.

Me driving as a woman just doesn’t come up in my head anywhere as I feel driving is gender neutral. I truly think it’s just a skill. The more you practice, the better you are – irrespective of man or woman.  As far as risks on this expedition go… I feel be it man or woman-you would face the same risks.

I draw inspiration from ordinary people -from real people, places, situations and circumstances.  Like I have drawn a lot of inspiration from people living in remote areas. All over the world.-be it the brokpas in Batalik or hill communities in the western ghats, where I grew up during my formative years, or those in Lahaul and Spiti or for example the people of Sakha (where I was in Siberia).  I think they are one of the most resilient people I have met in my life.  These things inspire me and I look up to them when in doubt.

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I think as parents it’s important to be a true role model and believe in every single value or attribute we have want to nurture in our kids.  Lip service doesn’t help.  Like for example fear. Or overcoming fear…. While it’s easy to just tell children not to be scared… come to think of it -aren’t we all scared at some points in out lives?

So it’s important to acknowledge the emotion, discuss with children, what we chose to do about it, how we handled it and what it felt like when you did and how it made you a stronger/weaker person… It’s important to acknowledge, demonstrate, discuss, evaluate and thereby encourage learning from life situation.  And this is the best education we can give our children I feel.   This is what I aspire for my kids and strive to give every single of my life.

As far as career choices go-it’s entirely up to the child. If you ask me all I can do is play the role of a mentor… If adventure is his or her calling… Then we must support them.  .because only when there is conviction,  passion, then  the drive to work hard kicks in. And then excellence is just a milestone away.  :-).

I think of myself as a person who is free spirited and some one who chooses to follow her calling.  Being a mom, I hope my kids are this and imbibe it because I feel that’s what makes for a satisfying and happy life.

Regarding me teaching my kids, I would say I am not intentionally meaning to tutor them either way.  Yes I want them to appreciate values that come with every journey you undertake.  It’s all about the journey and never just the destination for me.  As they go about recognizing what it takes to embark on such journeys – am sure they will plan many more such in their lives.

Lastly on her word of advice for women to travel she shares, “Plan, plan and plan well… It’s all about careful planning. It’s not about just intent.  It’s about acquiring skill sets, gear, tools that will help you enjoy and emerge as a stronger person.  Empty confidence or intent doesn’t go long.  Backed with tacit skills, careful planning, appropriate knowledge, gear and tools…the journey is sure to be fulfilling.”

Mums and Stories thanks Nidhi for sharing this wonderful life experience with us and we wish that she achieves whatever she aspires and continues to inspire men, women and children through her journeys and experiences.

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