Overland Truck Tours is Home Away From Home

Capt Suresh Sharma and The Overland Truck at Kila Raipur, Punjab

MRF 79th Kila Raipur Sports Festival 2015 was from 29th January till 1st February. During visit and walking around stadium area I saw a customized truck parked nearby fields. I walked nearer to know what actually it is – something related to nomad travel? – I guess. I too had similar dream since years but this is what I am watching in real. A middle-age handsome gentleman was sitting next to the truck with a friend preparing tea. He invited us for tea. Upon request to know more about the  customized truck below is what he said:

I am Captain Suresh ex-army officer (served army for 6 years) from Panchkula nearby Chandigarh. I was lucky to meet right kind of people (during fifth year of service) who were working on herpetology – study of snakes and reptiles. I took leave and joined them and it worked. It was like their project was mine and mine was theirs. I was running a project to teach people about snakes and its bites. I do not want to run an NGO. It was my duty to give back something to society and nature because whatever I am it is because of nature and society. Then a thought who will fund my project? Getting funds is a challenge in India. And I started self funding by giving lectures. Yes, if you wish bigger impact you need external source such as corporate support. So in short it is a self funded project.

To have my own freedom and self funding I started tourism because I love traveling and I can handle this type of machine – Eicher 2010. Only the chasis is shorter because of mountain travel.

Total cost of the vehicle is in lacs after customization. 8 people can sit inside. There is a tent on top of the van which comes out and 4 people can sleep under it.

I question - who drives the van?

He said – He only.

And a helper?

Currently there is no helper.

And he introduced me to Dr. Desai who is from Mumbai joined him on his overland truck tours few days back. He is also a photographer and on 3rd trip because the caravan trip is 3rd trip only. Few times wife joined but due to busy schedule she is at home.

I am traveling for past 25 years. I was having first caravan in the year 2000 which was also customized out of Tempo Traveler. Then I thought of having something which helps to get self funding and I have freedom too because I am a photographer, wild life expert specially for snakes and travel. So total three subjects I know.

Another question - How you convince people for overland truck tours?

If you make a good product you dont have to convince people. Your product tells about you – He said.

Do you have a website?

Yes – I do and I am very active on internet too. I conduct planned tours. Dr. Desai recently joined for one such tour for 4 days from Chandigarh to Kila Raipur and back. Next trip is 3 days Hola Mohalla and next is Teerthan Valley > Mcleodganj and all – 10 days trip.

If in winter I am traveling it will be for example: Chandigarh > Hanumangarh > Churu > Tal Chappar > Sambhar Lake > Jaipur one trip then from Jaipur will take another trip so Jaipur > Tal Chappar > Pushkar And then another tour Pushkar > Bikaner > Kheechan > Jaisalmer > Jodhpur. Another group Jaisalmer > Barmer > Churu like that. By that time it will be summer and I will be back home.

Tea was ready. Thank you – said I. Tasty it was.

Continue talking..

I have two toilets in field which I made via a machine which will dig a hole in the field and a tent over it and a folded seat inside to sit for toilet. I believe spare tyre of vehicle should be the best tyre.

How was the sleep last night – I question to Dr. Desai.

The sleep was very cozy inside the van. It is home away from home. Even during overland truck tours we don’t have to stop for food anywhere. We make tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner ourselves. Its fun to tour together and make eat food together.

I can feed 50 people on board – Captain Suresh said.

Very interesting project. I wish you best of best wishes. And I walk towards overland truck to have a inside look.