When plotting our travels through Asia, I remarked at how I would be missing the Tough Guy race this year. To compensate, Christine and I looked around for other challenges in the area that might be comparable. We found several rickshaw races, mostly all booked by that point, and had given up on finding anything worthwhile when our friend Troy at FOGGOdessey sent us a message on Facebook – a group of people from the UK were headed on a trip all the way around India by train. After a conversation so brief it may have gone something like:

“Okay, yes. That.”


We roped Troy in, and it was on. And by “on” I mean, I bought my India Rail pass, then promptly neglected to read up on the event in any serious way.

India, Trains, The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge, Train TravelNot until we arrived in Goa did I start to read through the blog, messages I had received from the organizer Mark which I had previously only skimmed.

Then I started to panic a little.

The itinerary is intense. I will be sleeping on a train every night but two, there are ferries, early morning taxi rides and what seems like Mad dashes from one train to another. Certain parts of the course that we had expected to be open are shut down due to strikes. Certain parts are big question marks until the time we arrive. 12,000km+ around the seventh largest country in the world.

The family is not coming along for this, nor should they, and yes, I am torn about leaving them for more than half a month. I try to keep in perspective that I am luckier than most dads. I get to spend every day with my family, and have for years now, but taking the 13 days away to do the meditation retreat was extremely hard, and this will likely be just as hard. Ultimately, I try to remember that I come home from these crazy activities feeling invigorated, alive, and full of appreciation for Christine and Cole, and that without doing these occasionally, I start to take things for granted without realizing it.

Hours before I will find myself in Mumbai, waiting to take that first train, I am excited. I am a train person, an appreciation I have because of a Grandfather who loved trains. For Toughguy, I spent the week before the event zipping all over the UK by train, and loved the experience. The only thing missing last year was an overnight train. Now I get about 15 of them. I’m sure 15 will be enough.