Deepak (44) and Ruchi Pandey (43) have travelled together since they first met in college over 20 years ago.
“Jobs fill our pockets, but adventure fills our soul,” says Ruchi.
They started travelling with a Tata Indica and later a Safari. But as their family expanded to include two sons and three dogs, they required a larger vehicle.
So far, their modes of travel have changed from buses, trains and flights to, now, a caravan. They learnt about caravans when the pandemic hit the nation.
To explore the country after the lockdown, without eating or staying outside, they spent three months setting up their caravan.
Here’s how they did it:
They applied for permission from the RTO for a big white-board vehicle for private use.
They bought a Force Traveller 3350, a van with 100 sq feet of space, which they modified into a campervan.
They designed the vehicle and got the interior work done, which took almost three months.
They bought an AC, toilet, seating, two huge beds, and also got the full kitchen made while adding a lot of storage space.
They installed a microwave, gas stove, bathroom, and shower, as well as a 150-litre water tank to last for 4 to 5 days.
Deepak added solar panels on top of the caravan to provide electricity. They also have a generator for power backup.
The whole process cost about Rs 18 lakh, and the cost of conversion was Rs 12 lakh. Deepak says that if one purchases a second-hand van, the total cost will come to Rs 20-25 lakh.
“Remember to utilise space judiciously while designing a campervan,” notes the couple.
Deepak adds, “You truly learn the value of being minimal and frugal. You won’t get the comforts of a luxury hotel. It’s a wonderful life experience.”
The duo says that they use Deepak’s leaves judiciously and embark on a trip every quarter, travelling an average of 200 km a day.
Their long-term plan is to travel to 40 countries on their caravan after touring across India.