To pack her whole world into a suitcase and a vehicle, and explore what the world has to offer on her own terms — was a dream that Smriti Bhadoria, who goes by ‘Sim’, harboured for many years.

She met her partner Kartik Vasan a few years ago, who decided to make this their dream.

“We switched our career away from management roles to more technical ones. From 2018 onwards, we were both working full-time remote jobs in our respective fields,” says Kartik, who is an IT consultant. Sim, meanwhile, works in digital marketing.

It was in the same year that the Toronto-based couple found a vintage 1977 Dodge Van. It had no breaks or a working engine, and they spent the next two years fixing the mechanics and dubbed it the ‘Brown Van’.

When the duo went to their parents with the same idea of living in a van, they suggested that the two tie the knot before going on the adventure.

And so, in February 2020, Sim and Kartik had their “big fat Indian wedding”, just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “Just then, COVID hit and all our dreams came crashing down. We decided not to get scared by this changing world and just focused on finishing the interiors of the van,” says Kartik.

In mid-2020, they sent in their 30-day notice to their landlord. From here began a month-long journey of leaving behind life as they knew it. The couple downsized — throwing out clothes and other things they wouldn’t need — to fit their lives in a tiny van.

Inside the van is a seating area that alternates as a bed to sleep on as well as a couch to work on.

There’s a kitchen with a big sink and many hidden spaces for storage of spices, utensils, and the like. There’s also a toilet for emergency use, a small fridge, temperature control, an electrical system, and an extra fan that Everest can use to cool down.

Everest, a border collie-labrador, is the couple’s third partner-in-crime with whom they have spent 16 months covering seven countries across over 27,000 km.

“But our big dream is to bring our van home to India,” Sim says. “We also want to build a campervan for parents, and take them all around India.”

They share that they may soon take a few months of break and build another campervan, which is stronger because they think their vintage one might not last a world tour!