A tea shop owner couple who have visited 18 countries, Latin America next

The couple takes bank loans and travel
A tea shop owner couple who have visited 18 countries, Latin America next
A tea shop owner couple who have visited 18 countries, Latin America next
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While Phileas Fogg of London, the much loved protagonist of Jules Verne’s cult classic, went around the world in eighty days flat, our very own Foggs from Ernakulam - 65-year-old Vijayan and Mohana, his wife of forty-one years, are back from another international destination. They are taking far more than just 80 days to go around the world, but they are unstoppable.

What makes it even more amazing is that Vijayan is not the moneyed kind who can afford to travel around the world at the drop of a hat, but a modest wayside tea-seller who refuses to be bogged down by either financial constraints or logistic trivia. The couple save money and take small loans each time they travel.

This iconic couple, who were featured on The News Minute in March 2015 after having visited 16 countries, were able to add the USA to their list after our story went viral and people from across the world, (including actor Anupam Kher) chipped in with funds that TNM had helped collect.

The US trip was a long-standing dream they could live, but they did not rest. They are just back from a visit to Thailand, their 18th international destination from their paltry earnings and loans. The couple usually travel by themselves, but this time their daughter and her family also joined in. They have been to Britain, France, Austria, Egypt, UAE, Malaysia, Singapore amongst other countries.

It has only been a month since they returned, and Vijayan is already planning their next world tour to Russia, Chile and Argentina.

“Once I repay the bank loan of Rs. 4 lakhs that I have accrued with our visits to the US and Thailand, I will go to the next three countries lined up in our itinerary. Chile and Argentina are on the edge of this world, they say there is no land beyond them,” Vijayan says smilingly, as he shares his future plans with The News Minute.

As he says in a documentary aptly titled ‘Invisible Wings’, life itself is one long journey and when it comes to an end, our life too ebbs away. And Vijayan and Mohana have no intention to wait till that inevitable moment arrives to give wings to their dreams of wanderlust, which have now made them known globetrotters who can count even Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan as one among those who appreciated their zeal to travel.

His tea-stall is his only source of income and Vijayan had once told TNM that his dad inspired him to dream about travelling. "I got the obsession in traveling from my dad; he took me to different places since I was 6 year old. We went to Madurai, Palani and many other places. Those travel memories with my dad helped me unleash my dreams", says Vijayan.

“Do you know I was able to paraglide in Thailand? It was a thrilling experience! They would not however allow me to walk under sea, citing my age. That was saddening, and this was in spite of me assuring them that I was in perfectly good health,” he rues.

But that does not seem to deter him from pursuing his passionate dream to visit all the countries in the world with his wife by his side. He has a simple piece of advice for all youngsters out there. “Follow your dream with passion, all the rest will simply fall in place.”

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