A first-time caravan vacation can be daunting, but these two travel bloggers along with their puppy and a driver cruised through Himachal Pradesh’s mountains to live ‘the vagabond life’—and that too during the pandemic. Here’s their story. By Harry and Nikita of The Vagabond Stories
Himachal Pradesh In A Caravan
COVID-19 was at its peak between July and October last year. But being travel freaks, we were itching to hit the road. It had been six months since we travelled anywhere, and being locked in the house was getting a bit too mundane. We longed to breathe fresh air, be amidst nature, and even take our puppy, Oreo, with us. Taking public transport was out of the question, and air or rail travel was a big no-no for us. Road travel seemed like the only conducive option.
This is when a company called Carvaa Travelers approached us. They spoke to us about a new way of travelling in India: caravans. Although it is pretty popular in the West, we didn’t realise this trend had found its way to India as well. Since it would mean that we would be on the road and isolated from crowds, it seemed like the perfect adventure! We agreed for the association and took their vehicle for a spin to the mountains. As for our COVID-19 concerns, they told us that the vehicle was completely safe and sanitised—with its own private toilet, too!
We prepared for a three-day trip in the caravan and packed all essentials. The caravan had a kitchenette as well, so we packed a lot of ready-to-eat food. We were scheduled to depart at 07:00 am on October 23, and we couldn’t contain our excitement! We’d finally get to see the caravan we’d been dreaming about. The moment it arrived, it took our breath away. We knew instantly that the vehicle would be the talk of the town wherever it went—it just looked so damn cool!
The five-seater caravan had all the amenities you can think of: a plush three-seater bed with two bunk beds; drinking water; a private kitchenette with a stove and sink to wash utensils; a private bathroom with an attached shower; and a mini-fridge. We were enthralled to see the interiors! They had arranged for a driver too, who was our constant companion during the trip. Since we weren’t aware of caravan rules and parking spaces in India, we decided to wing it as we went along. It’s only later that we learned about the hefty road taxes.
Our first destination was Kasauli, a small hill station in Himachal Pradesh which isn’t usually crowded, and hence, a seemingly perfect pick. It took us seven hours to reach the destination and we were pretty tired. The following day, we decided to explore the city such as Mall Road. We ate steamed momos, walked around and took in the serenity of the place.
By evening, we had started wondering how to plan the next few days. Our driver suggested we bid farewell to Kasauli and go to a village called Sadhupul next. We surfed the internet and found that the village was located in a valley with a small, shallow river cutting through. We were sold by the thought of parking our caravan by the riverside.
It was a couple of hours away, but the bumpy ride through the mountainous roads was worth it. We reached just in time to catch the sun setting behind the mountains and casting beautiful orange hues all around us. We pitched a tent, lit a campfire and made some really good memories there. The night in the caravan was admittedly very cold since we were right next to the river. The morning views, however, made it worthwhile.
We decided to end our trip by visiting Chail. Pine trees surrounded us, blue skies welcomed us, and we couldn’t be any happier! We parked our caravan in the parking lot and spent the day trekking around the city.
The caravan made this trip memorable. We cherished every moment in this vehicle, and hope that we will be back at it again—this time, for a longer tour to live the vagabond life for real.