From Tea Shop To World Tour
There might not be a single person on earth, who hasn’t dreamed of traveling the world or visiting a particular country at least once in their lifetime. Most of us forget about it when we grow up or keep it aside due to various reasons or might be lazy to put in all the effort. The lucky ones visit countries as part of their job. But very few of them who love traveling more than anything, actually make an effort to save each penny and bring their travel dream to reality.
And that is exactly what a couple from Kerala did. Residents of Kochi, Mr.Vijayan, and his wife Mrs.Mohana have been saving from their daily wages for the past 56 years to travel the world.
They run a small tea stall named ‘Balaji Coffee House’ from which they save 300 rupees a day. Growing up in poverty in the streets of Kochi, their common dream of traveling the world has kept them happily married for the past 45 years.
Vijayan started selling tea on the streets in 1963 at the age of 13, to pay for his travel dream and has been continuing to this date.
With the savings that they make from their wages, the couple has traveled over 23 countries so far. In a vlog with the travel blogger Drew Binsky, Vijayan says that his favorite countries are Switzerland and Singapore. He also loves the city of New York.
Posters of all the countries are hung up on the walls of his tea shop. The couple also collects bills from each country they visit and hang them in glass cases on the wall, which is a source of admiration to the visitors and customers.
Their tea is claimed to be very tasty and generates around 300-400 customers a day. But their tiny shop is not much popular outside the city and so the money they earn at times is less.
Vijayan and Mohana will always keep their expenses minimum in order to meet their travel expenses. They also don't have any employees. “We are the workers and managers”, admits Vijayan to Binsky, thus following a simple and effective money-saving strategy.
Apart from their savings, they also take loans from the bank at times to meet their travel requirements. They spend very little during their trips and after their return back home, they spend around 3 years repaying the bank.
When asked about what the couple had learned from traveling the world, Vijayan says, ”It will change your mind and your culture”.
Even now entering their 70s, Vijayan and Mohana still plan to travel to more countries. They plan to visit Sweden, Holland (Netherlands), Denmark, Greenland, and Norway.
Their story has become a global sensation and a documentary was made on it called ‘Invisible Wings’ by filmmaker Hari M Mohanan which won the ‘Best Film in the Non-Fiction Category’ at the Filmfare Awards, 2018.
The Chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra retweeted Binsky’s vlog and said, “They may not figure in the Forbes Rich list but in my view, they are amongst the richest people in our country. Their wealth is their attitude to life. The next time, I’m in their town, I am definitely dropping by for tea & a tour of their exhibits.”
Vijayan and Mohana are living examples that you don't need to be rich to have a happy life. It's all about how much you put in to make your dream come true, be it big or small. Their story challenges us to work hard for our dreams and live life to the fullest. There is no age limit or any other barriers to dream about something, you can always make it come true if you work for it.