A few years ago, I intended to drive from Bellinzona from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland to Montreux, in the French speaking part. Google Maps gave me two options for the route:

The recommended route is to go up north to the German speaking part, passing Lucerne and the Capital Bern – 336km in total.

There is another route, which looks much more straight forward, with only 247km.

I was not sure why Google recommended the longer route, and gave similar time estimates for both. “Let’s take the short cut,” I told my cousin, who was travelling with me.

Twists and turns, literally

What I did not realise was, the shortcut actually consisted of many twists and turns. This is a closer look:

And we realised that were actually in the mountains surrounded by snow – and nobody around for dozens of kilometres. Refer tot he header image of this post.

My cousin was very excited – coming from coastal plateau near Shanghai, she does not see snow capped mountains very often, let alone be completely immersed into them.

She was zapping pictures while I was deeply worried – when could I get out of this, it was getting dark!

I asked her to take a picture of the GPS in the car (as the mobile phone was losing signal), and this is how it looked like:

Be prepared

Hours later, we were finally on (relatively) flat land and a bigger road, and started to see villages and towns. Huge sigh of relief!

The journey, with shortcuts, is never as easy as you think at the beginning of the it.

Not arguing that you should not do it – but be sufficiently mentally prepared, so you can go through all these challenges and obstacles – and emerge stronger, happier, and more successful.

This is the morning after the drive:

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Jianggan Li is the Founder & CEO of Momentum Works. Prior to founding Momentum Works, he co-founded Easy Taxi in Asia, and served as Managing Director of Foodpanda. The two years running Rocket Internet companies has given him a lifetime experience on supersonic implementation, and good camaraderie with entrepreneurs across the developing world. He holds a MBA from INSEAD (GMAT 770) and a degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Unfortunately he never wrote a single line of code professionally - but in his first job he was in media, travelling extensively across Asia & Europe, speaking with Ministers & (occasionally) Prime Ministers. Apart from English and his native Mandarin, he is also fluent in French and conversational in Cantonese & Spanish. He tried to learn Latin (for three years) and Sanskrit (for six months) as well. In his (scarce) free time, he reads, travels, hikes and dives. Pyongyang, Tehran & Chisinau are among the interesting cities he has been to.