Hyderabad: A group of three ‘nutty travellers’, who converted the 90’s favourite family van, Bajaj Tempo Matador F-305, into a funky caravan replete with bedding, a kitchen with gas stove, storage space and even bookshelves, have embarked on a 100-day journey criss-crossing the country.
Telugu woman, Ankita Kumar, 27, is part of the team ‘Droom Caravan’, the name inspired by the online portal where the van was found.
“We are out on a 100-day tour of the country, especially the unexplored and uninhabited parts of it. We gathered in Bengaluru and reached Mysore first, then Coorg and Bandipur now. From there, we shall trundle on to Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra,” said Ankita, a filmmaker and travel blogger, but a backpacker first. In December 2017, she returned to her place of residence in Rourkela, Odisha, after spending months ranging over American terrain.
“But I have my family’s ancestral home in Hyderabad, so I keep visiting the city often. My grandfather was a Professor at Osmania University and we have deep roots in Telangana,” she added, speaking to Telangana Today from Bandipur.
A bright orange-and-white head-turner now, the van looks brand new and yet unmistakably Matador. It took 10 days of ‘hardcore slogging’ to revamp the old, sturdy van, Ankita said.
“The engine would give up, the battery would drain out, the screws and other small parts would fall out, but we did it anyway. Because the van would be our home for 100 days, we were resolute in transforming it completely. Now, it feels just like home, a smooth-running, jazzy, mobile home,” said Ankita.
Alongside Ankita are 23-year-old motorcyclist Rohit Subramanian from Bengaluru and 27-year-old ‘investigative traveller’ William from Ireland. Together, they are not just having fun on the road, they are also helping social causes.
“When we stop in a city, we turn our caravan into a food truck and sell fast food. We give away the proceeds to animal shelters, and we buy the raw materials only from organic farms. We keep hunting for new organic farms,” Ankita explained.