One fine day in 2012, I followed my heart, packed my bags into the back of an eight-year old Maruti 800 and drove off to Mumbai to take up a new job. My parents were scared watching me leave on that 1600km journey from Delhi to Mumbai, all alone in a car. But I did it, I reached Mumbai, spent more than a year there and came back, but not before touring a better part of South India in the same car. Only this time, I wasn’t alone. I had my dog with me. Fate had already planned for me and it was time to return to Delhi. Yet another journey beckoned and the car, the dog and I were ready for it.
We traveled another 1600kms, avoiding the expressways. They don’t have much to offer, the expressways, they tend to be very impersonal. So we took the back roads, the forgotten highways that used to be the lifeline once upon a time, the Route 66s of India. We came across small towns with populations of less than 5000 people, with bustling markets in town centers where the buses would drop off the travelers coming into those small towns from other small towns and villages from near and far. The cars and bikes did not have license plates, they did not need it perhaps in those towns where, in all probability, everyone knew everyone else by their names and their families. And then, there were the shops selling everything from groceries, to colorful clothes and computers. Yes, computers. The journey was a revelation, to say the least.
But there isn’t much substance in my story anymore, not after having met with Jason Lewis, the man who circumnavigated the globe on human power. In 2007, he became the first person to circumnavigate the Earth without using motors or sails: walking, cycling, and inline skating five continents, and kayaking, swimming, rowing, and pedaling a wooden boat named Moksha, designed and fabricated by his friend Chris Tipper across the rivers, seas, and oceans. Jason completed his incredible journey using only human power of sheer will and determination to complete the journey in thirteen years.
When Johnnie Walker Blue Label was coming out with a special celebration edition bottle and travel case designed by Alfred Dunhill, they turned to Jason and Chris to be the brand ambassadors. I could not figure out why.
JW Blue Label has always been considered to be the epitome of Scotch Whiskey with its unparalleled smooth texture and palate. The nose is very peaty, with hints of vanilla, honeydew, tobacco (cigar), hints of flowers and mild aromatic spices. The palate is smooth and delivers a full-bodied spicy, smooth texture with a long, lingering finish that is best enjoyed undiluted.
Some people will disagree at the price point and the finesse factor with the argument that there are others that are far better than this one. But in my opinion, it is the journey that Johnnie Walker Blue Label has gone through over the course of its history that allows it to command the premium spot. And this journey is the connect between JW Blue Label and Jason Lewis and his boat, Moksha.
Jason Lewis is an award-winning adventurer, author, and sustainability activist specializing in human-powered expeditions. He spends his time visiting schools in 37 countries, involving thousands of students in a variety of programs in conjunction with UNESCO’s Associated Schools Program Network, he uses human-powered journeys to promote world citizenship, zero carbon emission travel, and awareness of individual lifestyle choices on the health of the planet. And I was sure as hell lucky to have met him!