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On a van life to experience India closely

ISP Delhi Bureau 

The journey is his new abode. He is up to discovering newer oceans of a beautiful India by leaving the shores of his safe home. Marking the 75th year of India’s independence in a unique way, Abhey Sharma and his pet dog Walty are on a road trip across the country documenting the uniqueness of this nation. 

“Someone famously said that new places first make you speechless and then it turns you into a storyteller. I am experiencing this feeling every day. While everyone has a way to celebrate a landmark event like the anniversary of our great independence, I thought of doing it in a way that not just me but the world celebrates the occasion with me through my stories captured by camera and pen,” says Abhey Sharma who has converted his hatchback car into moving home and is set out on journey crisscrossing every bit and corner of India. 

He lost his corporate job in a media house in 2021 and was forced to stay back home. His responsibility in his earlier job required him to produce films to capture interesting facts and places. Abhey thought of doing it on his own and doing it in a way that it remains forever. 

“Even the grown-ups don’t know the richness of the country we own. We cannot experience it till we set out to feel it. I thought I owe the responsibility to document the places creatively for it to remain as a repository for anyone in the world to refer to. A lot of our misgivings about each other shall vanish away if we meet and know each other. I want to continue this journey till I capture every bit of India in my camera,” says Abhey. 

His dog Walty is his regular companion on these journeys. The bond between the two is a point of interest for everyone they meet. They both sleep together inside a convertible bed inside the car. The vehicle also has a makeshift kitchen to cook delicious food on the way. Abhey not only displays his moving home to people he meets but also shares his experiences and stories with them and makes them part of his larger family. He has covered mostly western India in the first leg of his Discover India tour. He is set to go on the South India tour soon. Abhey says one life is not enough to see the whole of India. 

“I try to mingle with the local population and especially the children. I tell them stories and show pictures of the other places I have been. I feel I am trying to be on a three-pronged mission. One is to collect and document the Indian story with my camera. Secondly, I am personally growing richer with the experience of this unique land and finally, I am also helping people connect by sharing my experiences with the crowd I meet,” says Abhey 

However, Abhey feels that local administrations across India are lacking in facilities to encourage van life and travel. He says that we lack camping grounds and a spirit to encourage youngsters to take up solo journeys. 

“Like the sunset and the sunrise, the beauty of this land is also free for everyone to experience and share. We must encourage young and old alike to travel freely and there must be enough infrastructure for these travel angels to use and feel safe. India’s greatness is in its unexplored destinations. We must celebrate them,” says Abhey.

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