Bollywood films such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and Tamasha (2015) have influenced many to quit the 9 to 5 corporate job and live a fuller life. And the same creed of cinema is what made Smriti Bhadauria and Kartik Vasan wonder “what a settled life” could mean?
Originally from Faridabad, the couple had announced to their family in 2019 that they would be setting out to experience the Pan-American Highway — the longest road in the world, spanning 30,000 km through 15 countries from North to South America — and start from Ontario, Canada. But, it was the pandemic that gave them the push they needed. “We had been working towards building the van, which we made from scratch, and had already secured remote jobs because we couldn’t just give away our careers and have no means to sustain ourselves,” recalls Bhadauria, sharing, “Covid impacted us in that sense because the urgency to start our dreams became real.”
Bhadauria, a digital marketing consultant and Vasan, an IT consultant thus set foot on this adventure on August 15, 2020, and have since then been documenting their journey on Instagram and amassed 88.7k followers so far. “The most often asked query is how we sustain our lifestyle. People think we are crorepati or are funded by our dads. But, I always correct them and say we have jobs! They are just remote.”
Currently in Argentina, which is the 15th and final country of their tour, Vasan says, “The date when we started is very symbolic for us because it is our Independence Day.” They started their journey in 77 Dodge B200, with their dog Everest, and have expanded their family with a second doggo, Bali. “We want to redefine what a settled life looks like for us. Even if we have children, we will still continue exploring continents. If we get tired, we’ll find a base and settle down somewhere. But, we are not putting a timeline on it,” shares Bhadauriya. Vasan adds, “We do have plans of bringing the van life to India as well. There are a lot of logistics involved in figuring out the routes and campsites.”
Elaborating on the challenges otherwise, Bhadauriya adds, “The constant packing and unpacking can be taxing. We have solar panels for electricity, but on cloudy days if we run out of electricity, we have to find places where we can plug in because we are working and constantly looking for WiFi because the hotspots aren’t working. So we halt at a coffee shop or cafe to sit and work. But our lifestyle is quite eco-friendly and fully self-sustained.”
Vasan is quick to chime in: “You can live your dream life and still have a career and purpose you’re working towards.”