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The Incredible Travel Story of A Poor Wayside Tea-Seller in Kerala
If there is a will, there is a way. Here is yet another true story to prove it. Vijayan and Mohana are aged and poor. Their livelihood solely depends on the meager income from a wayside tea shop they run in Kochi, the only metro city in Kerala. Their stories of hard work, enthusiasm, and passionate travels brought them to the limelight of the media and a topic to figure as a hub like this.
The tea shop owner couples’ great passion is travel. Their income may be low, but never their will. Result: They visited many tourist places in India and 16 other foreign countries! They already made trips to Austria, Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE and so on. They have confidence and more plans to continue the journey as long as their health and budget permit. Their travel story must be a motivational prose for us, the lazy people. We have everything at our disposal, the most essential being the money and knowledge, to travel around. But never have we ventured out beyond our comfortable territory for want of confidence or courage. ‘I can’t make it happen’, so thinks most of us. What governs us is a negative thought. And here comes the relevance of Vijayan’s travel ventures. This is to motivate all lazy and shy people that I share here the enviable travel stories of an aged, uneducated and poor couple through this article.
Vijayan is 65 years old and has two girls, both married. He is running the tea shop for the last 40 years with the help of his loving wife. They sell tea and snacks and earn a small income from their tiny tea shop in Kochi. Vijayan says he got the passion for travel from his father, who took him to several temples when he was a young boy. After his father’s death, he took charge of the tea shop. It is after his marriage that he again took an interest in travels and made several trips to various destinations in India.
A TV Documentary on the Incredible Travel Story of Vijayan & his wife (In 2 Parts)
How began his foreign journeys is another interesting story. While one day he was sitting in Tirupati, a great spiritual place in South India, he saw an aeroplane flying over the sky. Then, he told his friends that one day he too would make a flight trip. They mocked him saying ‘how you a tea vendor can make such a lavish trip’. But that was triggering some passion and ideas in Vijayan’s head. He confidently planned his strategies and started saving working hard. He didn't have a passport too then. Who cares? When there is a will, there is a way. Vijayan made his first foreign trip to Europe with his wife in 2007. He struggled well to arrange passports and a bank loan for the trip. After that, he made 15 more trips to various destinations around the world.
Another interesting point to add here is that the couple knows only one language-Malayalam, their mother tongue, but that do not discourage them from venturing world tours. He always plans his itinerary on a tight budget and never overspends. He opts for group tours operated by travel agents. “Food and accommodation are arranged by the travel agencies plus language problem is easily handled by the expert guides accompanying these tours”, Vijayan states his reason for the love of group tours.
How he arranges money for these ‘around the world’ trips, you may wonder. Vijayan has a clear answer: I work hard and try to save at least Rs.300/- (Approx. $5) daily. He also takes a loan for his global trips and makes the regular monthly payment towards the loan. Once the loan is settled he applies for another and fly with his wife to another destination.
Thanks to his global safari, Vijayan is already a famous personality in Kerala, especially among the travel enthusiasts. He has got good media attention. His travel stories had prominently appeared on both print and visual media. His incredible story is well marked in Google and YouTube too.
Vijayan and Mohana are working hard at their tiny tea shop. Now, the only dream they see and share together is a journey to the world capital-the USA!
© 2015 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth