For most of us here in India, travelling finds an unwitting connection to chai.
Traversing through the country's picturesque landscape, these heavenly places serving steaming cups of chai can be found in quaint villages high up in the hills, or under the thatched roofs of a dilapidated chai ki tapri along the highway. Yet, no matter where we happen to chance upon one, it never fails to fill our heart with joy at the very sight of it.
Now, imagine such a tea-stall located in a small village in some part of this country, shouldering the weight of an elderly couple's ardent dreams to explore the length and breadth of not just India, but the entire world.
Yes, you are right. This almost seems like an impossible dream when you hear about it at first, but guess what, there exists such a tea-stall and such a couple who have managed to realise their dreams of travelling around the world, by running a tea-stall!
Vijayan and Mohana, both in their late 60s, are from Kochi in Kerala, but are better known to the world as the “globetrotting couple” who travel around the world by selling tea. Vijayan and Mohana have been running a nondescript tea-stall in Kochi, called the 'Sree Balaji Coffee House' for the past 40 years, and the minimal earnings from that business have allowed them to travel to over 23 countries so far!
How do they manage to make all this happen you ask? Well, the key to their success is the couple's undying grit and desire. Vijayan and Mohana refuse to be cowed down by the financial restraints or the logistic trivia that might hamper their bigger plans. The elderly couple saves from whatever little they make at their shop, and rely on small loans to fund their travels.
After saving Rs. 300 every day for decades, they used it along with their meagre income and bank loans, to explore 23 countries! It was back in 1963 when Vijayan began selling tea in the streets to fulfil the travel dreams he shared with his wife.
Singapore, New York and Switzerland are some of his most favourite places. The couple has been to Brazil, Argentina, Peru, USA besides many others, but currently, their plan is to check out Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Greenland Norway. There is simply not stopping this duo!
For Vijayan, travelling is all about collecting experiences and learning about other people and their culture. Vijayan marvels over the beauty of landscapes and the kinds of people they meet during their travel.
Their philosophy is simple. Keeping their nest destination in sight, the couple continues to save Rs 300 every day, and keep their expenses to the minimum (they work both as worker and manager of their tiny shop).
While on their trip, they spend very little on unnecessary things. Still, the loans they take keep getting piled up, and after every trip, they spend the next three years trying to repay that debt.
Their story might be laden with a lot of struggles, but Vijayan and Mohana don't plan to give up as long as their arms and legs are moving.
This couple is proof that no amount of limitations are big enough to stop someone from realising their dreams if they set their heart to it.