THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mohammed Akheel and his wife Shamziya are all set to experience travel in an all-new way. By the end of this month, the duo will ready a camper van, which will be their home for the next several months. 25-year-old Akheel’s tryst with travelling started when he was around 17 years. Smitten by the travel bug, he would do all sorts of odd jobs to earn enough money to fund his journeys. So it came as no surprise when he left the well-paying job in the automobile field to start a travel company of his own.
The company ran for more than four years but once Covid hit the industry, it had to be shut down. “We all know that travel won’t be possible any time soon. But sitting at home was also not helping. So during my discussions with my wife, the idea of van life hit us. And that’s how it all began,” says Akheel. The camper van is the answer in the post-Covid time when it comes to travel, he adds. “It is not easy to go backpacking during the pandemic. But a van life will help us travel safely,” says Akheel, a native of Perumbilav in Thrissur.
His father chipped in with his Omni van and Akheel has pooled in all his savings to remodel the vehicle.
The van runs on LPG. With rising petrol prices, it wouldn’t be feasible if the van runs on petrol, says Akheel. Modifying the van to suit their travel is the hardest part, he adds. “With the motor vehicle rules, we cannot make any permanent fixtures. So every change we make in the van are removable,” says Akheel.
For the past few weeks, the vehicle is in the workshop and Akheel has been spending a large chunk of his time there, learning and understanding his new ride. “Once the electrical work is done, we will move to work on the interior. Even in the interiors, we will only be using removable plywood square boxes which can function as a bed. A carrier will be set up on the roof and a water source will also be added,” says Akheel.
For Akheel, travel is all about collecting experiences. The idea is to go to the less explored areas in the van. And more than a road trip, the duo is focussing on going to the rural areas and explore all the states of the country.
“I also want to go to the border regions of India. Borders always have a special place. Travel will be all the more challenging during Covid, cause all the states will have their own rules and regulations. But since we have a van, we will be able to quarantine ourselves, when necessary” he says. Akheel’s wife Shamziya is also excited about the van travel. “For the next few months, the van will be our home. It will be our personal space. And I am excited to begin the journey,” says Shamziya.