‘We Constructed Our Dwelling on Wheels’: Couple Caravans By way of Life

Faculty sweethearts Deepak (43) and Ruchi Pandey (42) have shared a love for travelling since they first met in school in Dehradun. 

Once they have been youthful, they’d bunk lessons in favour of exploring town. Twenty years later, married with two kids, their curiosity to tour the nation collectively has solely grown. 

Their journeys started with a Tata Indica, and slowly, a Safari. However as their household grew — with two sons and three canine — they wanted a much bigger car. 

Deepak and Ruchi's caravan
Deepak and Ruchi Pandey journey the nation of their caravan

Whereas they have been pondering over which car to purchase subsequent, the coronavirus pandemic hit and journey got here to a standstill. 

“We’ve been travelling for greater than 20 years,” Deepak tells The Higher India. “However when the primary lockdown was introduced, it stopped our journey plans. Later, even when the whole lot began opening up, we averted consuming exterior or staying in accommodations. That’s once we discovered about caravans. Whereas this idea has been current in overseas international locations for nearly 50 years, it’s solely simply choosing up in ours.”

Deepak has a transferable job, which suggests shifting across the nation each two years. He makes use of his leaves judiciously and embarks on a visit each quarter. To date, the couple has taken 4 journeys of their van — Leh and Ladakh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat.

The couple takes us via their house on wheels. 

Organising their very own caravan

Whereas the concept appears fascinating, there are a number of challenges, which start with getting permission from the RTO for a white-board car, Deepak explains. 

As step one, he spent 4 months in numerous RTOs throughout the nation to get permission. 

“I hail from Uttarakhand however wasn’t capable of get permission there. The issue lies in getting a giant car registered for personal use. It was powerful convincing the officers that I’m going to make use of this for my household, and never for business work. Lastly, after working round Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and NCR, I acquired my breakthrough in Ahmedabad,” says Deepak.

The subsequent step was shopping for a car that may very well be transformed right into a campervan appropriate for a big household. In April 2021, the couple purchased a Pressure Traveller 3350. Then, the problem was stripping down the car and including the whole lot required for a snug journey.

The issue, explains Deepak, is that the supplies essential for the conversion of a car right into a camper van usually are not accessible in India.

“We needed to import many merchandise from the US, which will increase your value 4 occasions. For instance, we paid greater than Rs 2 lakh for the AC as we needed to import it. We additionally needed to import a bathroom that makes use of much less water,” he says.

He provides, “Furthermore, since this has not been carried out earlier than, we needed to depend on movies of individuals from different international locations. We designed the car ourselves and employed expert staff. Since this was new for them too, we needed to present them movies to clarify how we needed the fittings carried out. Quickly, in addition they took curiosity and helped us construct our dream car.” 

The Pressure Traveller is a small van with round 100 sq. toes of area.

Deepak and Ruchi Pandey in their caravan
Deepak and Ruchi Pandey of their caravan

Whereas designing this campervan, utilising area judiciously is of prime significance, he notes. 

The van has snug seating, a kitchen, a toilet, two large beds to accommodate 4 individuals, an AC, and storage capability. Deepak has additionally added photo voltaic panels on prime to offer electrical energy, in addition to a 150 litre water tank.

“I’ve enough electrical energy due to the photo voltaic panels. I even have a generator for energy backup for the wet season. We even have enough water to final for 4-5 days with even handed utilization. We now have the whole lot on this van that we’ve got at house — microwave, fuel, lavatory, bathe, and so on,” he says.

After continuous work for 3 months, the van was prepared on 26 July 2021. It value about Rs 18 lakh, and the price of conversion was Rs 12 lakh. Deepak says that if one purchases a second-hand van, the overall value will come to Rs 20-25 lakh. 

‘Jobs fill our pockets, however journey fills our soul.’ 

Deepak and Ruchi during one of their caravan trips
Deepak and Ruchi have a good time a pageant throughout one among their journeys.

The primary journey of the Pandeys was to Leh Ladakh with their kids and Deepak’s dad and mom. 

“We had a good time. My dad and mom loved it as a van gives you a option to cease wherever you need, lie down once you need, and mainly transfer at your personal tempo. Your plans are versatile. You may cease the van and benefit from the view whereas having a meal. We nonetheless bear in mind a night at Pangong Lake once we have been the one ones there. It was actually mesmerising,” says Deepak.

In the meantime, Ruchi notes that cooking within the van saves bills. 

“Travelling lengthy distances in a automobile isn’t snug. It’s important to get out to stretch, eat, and sleep. On this van, our children and fogeys are additionally having fun with it. Driving is easy and cozy. It additionally helps that we each cook dinner and clear,” she says.

The couple says they journey a mean of 200 km a day and start in search of a parking spot by the night. “In rural areas, it’s comparatively simpler to search out parking area. In cities, we use 24-hour parking areas or resort parking,” Deepak says.  

The couple says they haven’t confronted any issues of safety.

“Individuals fear about parking at night time somewhere else. We now have solely encountered probably the most pleasant individuals on our journeys up to now. Individuals have helped us all over the place. Additionally, since our van is self-sufficient, we don’t have to step out and arrange a camp. We even have cameras on the van,” says Ruchi.

Her favorite of the 4 journeys within the caravan was to Gujarat. Solely the couple had gone on this 25-day journey, the place they lined greater than 5,000 km and actually loved the van life.

“We had been to Rann of Kutch, which was simply lovely. We acquired to actually expertise van life on this journey, as we didn’t keep at accommodations. We even used a Roro ferry. We be taught one thing new on our each journey, and the Gujarat one definitely didn’t disappoint,” she provides. 

Deepak provides that they spent solely Rs 60,000- Rs 70,000 on the Gujarat journey, which might have been rather more costly had it concerned resort stays, trains, and so on.

The couple additionally provides that their frequent travels have taught their sons to be impartial and care for themselves. 

“My elder son has completed Class 12 and is making ready for aggressive exams. The youthful one is in Class 9. Each of them don’t accompany us on all journeys. We now have assist at house and so they handle their research on their very own,” says Deepak.

He provides that van life has taught him that “much less is extra”.

“You be taught to stay in a minimalistic method,” he says.

“You actually be taught the worth of being minimal and frugal. You received’t get the comforts of a luxurious resort. We additionally pack only a few garments, and pantry gadgets to avoid wasting area. We now have simply 4 plates, spoons, and cups within the van. It’s an exquisite life expertise,” he says.

The couple’s long-term plan is to journey to 40 international locations on the caravan.

“First, we need to discover India. As soon as we’re carried out with that, we need to cowl South East Asia, Russia, Europe. We now have associates who want to be part of us on this journey. So hopefully this may occur within the subsequent few years,” says Deepak. 

Deepak and Ruchi doc their journey on their YouTube channel.

Edited by Divya Sethu


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *