Get vaccinated and stay safe. Spreading the positive message through travelling from Kochi to Kashmir.
What are rides meant for? Fun? “Not just that, there’s much more to a ride”, say two young men from Kerala. In a scenario where the number of covid-19 cases are alarmingly increasing, who can even think of going on a trip? Tourism across the nation has also come to a standstill. Though the government has opened certain tourist locations when the impact of covid-19 has gone mild, it also has sent warning bells owing to the overcrowded tourist spots where there was no following of pandemic rules. Wouldn’t the third wave hit when people go around without paying attention to the rules? Why would any wave stop if people are not concerned about themselves? On the other hand, there are majority of people who love to travel but owing to the fear of containing the virus, they restrict themselves to homes. Both the cases are into extremes. Either people are not following the rules and are indiscriminately travelling or people are afraid of the situation and are not stepping out. On this note, two young men from Kochi, who are travel freaks, decided to spread awareness and planned a ride from Kochi to Kashmir. Let’s know more about their journey and the goal they are trying to accomplish through it.
Ambarish Mukundan hails from Kochi, Kerala. He is an Engineer, a Blogger and a travel enthusiast, while his friend Sreejith V C, who also hails from Kerala is an automobile consultant. Both are travel freaks but haven’t travelled in the recent times owing to the pandemic. However, when relaxations were provided and travel restrictions were lifted, the duo’s enthusiasm to travel woke them up to hold their gear rods. However, this time, they wanted their travel to be constructive, informative and enlightening. Amidst the prevailing situations, they noticed how people’s behaviours are to the extremes. Either they don’t follow the rules at all and move as they like or they are totally clouded by fear and don’t go out at all. Also, though the process of vaccination started, people are afraid and are sceptical about taking vaccines. The two youngsters from Kochi thus wanted to direct their ride in order to spread awareness among people regarding these aspects.
Getting Ready On The Wheels:
Ambarish and Sreejith decided to set off from Kochi and planned a 60-day trip to reach Kashmir. Their main aim was to reach as many people as they could, with a potential message. They titled their ride as “Get vaccinated and save your life”. Ambarish mentioned that their aim is to assure people that vaccination is safe and helps to fight the virus to a greater extent. Talking about their observations, Ambarish said that majority of the rural population from northern India have apprehensions about vaccination. “Unlike Kerala, people in the northern states have apprehensions about vaccination. We want to assure them that there is no need to fear vaccination and it's safe.”, says Ambarish. When they observed and understood how few people are not even wearing masks, they set on to educate them. “We noticed that many people in rural areas were not even wearing masks. We educated them about the seriousness and need to wear masks, especially when the cases are increasing day by day”, he said. During their trip, the duo also distributed masks and sanitizers to the people. They have also designed and distributed pamphlets listing all the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Awareness On Safe Travel:
In order to tell people how they can enjoy travelling by following rules and protocols, Ambarish and Sreejith made their travel “contactless”. They arranged a foldable tent on the top of their car and embarked on the trip. They made this contactless trip, a means to show people that travelling can be made safe and fun if all the COVID protocols are followed. “Travelling has restarted in the country and the tourism sector is limping back to normal state. However, many travel enthusiasts are still reluctant to travel due to safety concerns. We aim to clear their doubts through our contactless trip where we are avoiding hotels to stay and also cooking our own food instead of depending on food from restaurants,” said Ambarish. For this contactless trip, Ambarish and Sreejith modified their vehicle and gave it an overlanding unit on the top. These overlanding units are rarely available and are also highly expensive. Thus, the two youngsters designed their own overlanding unit with the help of their friends who knew welding. “After our vehicle was ready, we made a trip to Munnar. We were planning an all-India trip but that is when the second lockdown was announced owing to the rise in the coronavirus cases.”, they said. The two men have already covered Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and will cover other states in the days to come.
Challenges On The Way:
When Ambarish and Sreejith had set up on this journey, they knew why they are travelling and what they want to convey through their travel. It is this passion of theirs that kept them moving ahead despite of challenges. Speaking about what they had to face during their journey, they said that finding clean and accessible toilets was the main concern. They also found it difficult to find a safe spot to camp after calling it a day. “Many times, people would come and enquire about our purpose of visiting that place. We have scheduled our destinations for each day and plan to cover the places according to the plan,” said Ambarish.
Hats off to the two young men who are on their journey to show people how we can enjoy travels while being safe. Without getting in close distance with anyone, without opting for food at restaurants or dhabas, the way they have made their travel safe, we can also make our travel fun, safe and fulfilling. Let’s not forget getting vaccinated. Let’s follow all the COVID protocols and enjoy the goodness of everything.
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