Traveling with a person with whom you have a special bond can be an unpredictable adventure. Exploring an unknown land, tasting new flavours together, sharing different sunsets… That is what Thrissur-based couple Harikrishnan and Lakshmi Krishna decided to do. The “car life” couple who run YouTube channel TinPin Stories have been sharing their road trip across India to close to 73.2 k subscribers for over a year now. According to the duo, it is their shared love for travel that led them to embark on a road trip across the country in their refurbished car. While Harikrishnan left his job as a sales officer in Bengaluru, Laksmi left her job as a graphic designer to satiate their wanderlust. The duo takes time off from their travel to talk to The NationWide about their journey. Excerpts from an interview
Although we shared a love for travel and for telling stories, it was after our honeymoon that we decided to combine both through TinPin Stories, our YouTube channel. While at first, the plan was to travel on bikes from Kerala to Thailand, we had to put it on plan due to the pandemic. As the itch to travel was unbearable, we decided to head on a trip around India in our car. And so, when the Covid related restrictions were relaxed, we hopped into our car and headed off.
Although we wanted to travel in a van, we instead decided to make do with our car. We haven’t done any modification to our vehicle. At night, we fold the back seat of our car, place a mattress on it and sleep. We cook our own food too. The car is now our home; a mobile home.
Planning the itinerary of our journey was a challenge as we could not decide on the places to visit during our travel. We did hit a few road blocks due to Covid imposed curfews as we could not find a place to park and sleep as the petrol pumps do not work around the clock.
However, the people we have met so far are nice and welcoming. A few of them invited us to their farms and offered us fresh off the land produce, while others allowed us to park inside their premises. Some offered us water for cooking. Meanwhile, we sanitize frequently and always wear our masks. We are now in Rajasthan.
Our family have been extremely supportive of us. Their only condition was that we call them each day. When we first suggested the idea with Lakshmi’s parents, they said, “Don’t overthink it. Go ahead and enjoy your life.”
We are on this trip using our savings. We have also managed to garner an income through our YouTube channel. One doesn’t have to be rich to travel. You can definitely travel according to your budget and pocket. A budget friendly trip is always possible ones if you plan it wisely yourselves.
We have marked a few states and places we want to visit and the rest are impromptu decisions. We do not travel with fixed plans and schedules. We prefer exploring villages, their culture, traditions, food… We try to explore off beat destinations so that our social media family will be able to explore these places later.
There were lot of unforgettable moments throughout our journey. One of our favourite is at Gokarana in Karnataka, where we saw the waters around Gokarna light up from the bioluminescent plankton. We climbed up a rock at 2 am to watch the mind blowing scene.
Another was on our way back from Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan. We stopped at a water body in a village near Richhed town. We talked to a few villagers there and were soon invited to their homes. They offered us a safe place to park our car and sleep. We had dinner from a house in the village, which was prepared as a part of ‘death ritual’ (they offer food to everyone in the village after 12 days of the demise.) They took us to the forest the next morning and even prepared lunch for us. When it was time to bid them farewell, they took a photo of ours for their albums, which touched us deeply.
There is no meaning behind TinPin. We wanted a unique name for our channel and looked for one that could be easily pronounced and spelled. We edit and upload the videos we make of our journey whenever we can.
We follow a simple rule - ‘Smile and Greet.’ We had faced some language difficulties in Karnataka, but as we said, we were able to get by. At times, we sought the help of Google translators and managed with the little bit of Hindi we know.
We started off our journey from Kerala on October 28th and have covered four states till date. We have reached Rajasthan now and have many more places to discover. From Kerala we headed straight to Karnataka, then to Maharashtra and then to Gujarat and finally reached Rajasthan.
Next we will be heading to Punjab and then to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and back to Kerala. This is a rough itinerary. Things may change and we may travel further since we don't have any fixed plan or schedule.
Initially, our plan was to cover all these states in two months but, it’s already two and half months and we haven’t even covered half of what we were supposed to. Now we are going with the flow.