How to travel when you are broke


With hardly any money left and desperate to go home we packed our backpacks and left the hustle and bustle of coimbatore behind us and hitchhiked.

Destination was 1000 km away, did we make it or we gave up?

I saw people do this in films but never in my wildest dreams did  I imagine I would do it myself one day. It all started out as a joke, because the ticket prices to Hyderabad from Coimbatore skyrocketed as it was Pongal ( Sankranthi), a festival of harvest in reference to the deity of Sun.

We were running low on cash but really wanted to go home. Without giving much thought to it I said why don’t we hitchhike. Little did i Know that we would actually make this sign board and set off on an 1000 km adventure. The three of us pooled in our cash and it was around 1000 Rs = 15 $ ( 333 Rs per person).


It was Friday evening 7 pm and we packed our bags only with the essentials, like sleeping bag, warm clothes, first aid kit, flashlight, toiletries, a bluetooth speaker to keep ourselves entertained. We didn’t have much of a plan other than that Hyderabad is our destination. The first challenge was to get out of the city during rush hour, we decided there is no point in asking for a ride in the city, so we hopped on a non stop bus to Salem which is 170 km away from Coimbatore. We paid 270 rs in total as bus fare and hoped to get off the bus before we entered Salem city limits. Luckily enough the bus driver made a stop after 80 km for tea near Erode.

cmb to erode

It was in the middle of nowhere, only the the truck lay-by and a guy selling tea and some snacks. After having some tea we took our luggage and started walking towards the highway. Suddenly three or four people started screaming “HELLO !!, the bus is here where are u guys heading there are still 100 odd km to go”. They were all worried about Lasse, because he was a European traveling in the night with public transport. we explained them our intentions and they were not really pleased to hear that and tried to convince us to get into the bus an drop the idea of hitchhiking because its dangerous.
We politely asked them to carry on with their journey. When the bus actually leaving, I became a little unsettled. Now we were really on our own in the middle of the Highway and it was 11 pm. I thought may be this is what it literally means to come out of your comfort zone.

We started waving our sign board and asking for a lift to every vehicle that zoomed past us, we jumped and waved hands to seek attention but nothing really worked. The possibility of someone stopping their car in the middle of the night to give lift to three random strangers was pretty low, 40 mins have passed and we were coming in grips with the reality. The enthusiasm was low now but

before we set off we decided on one thing, does not matter what happens we will not give up and stay patient.

Then finally breakthrough…


At first the lorry went past us and stopped at a distance,  I turned around and couldn’t believe my eyes , jubilant and over joyed we all started running towards the lorry. The driver only spoke Tamil and luckily Anudeep who was living in Tamil nadu since 4 years was indispensable.

If you haven’t got on a lorry in your life then first thing you realize is getting onto it is not easy. But once we were in it, we were ecstatic and just couldn’t stop smiling and thanking Mohan anna for stopping his lorry.

It was astonishingly comfortable, loads of space and legroom and Mohan anna had good choice of music. The classics of Ilayaraja, AR Rahman in the background was just apt, none of us were in a rush, not even the lorry. We cruised at 40 km/h singing along and just being in the moment, feeling alive.

mohan anna

We asked anna which places in he India he has travelled to and this might not come as a surprise but there is literally no place in south India where he hasn’t been. He has an offline version of google maps in his head.
Later Mohan anna asked us if we had our Dinner, it was a long time ago but we were not really hungry and most importantly we had to save our money as well. Soon we stopped at a place which anna recommended and said this is one of his favourite places on this highway.
A really sweet old lady was making Dosas and you just go take a seat and she will start serving you hot Dosas. You don’t order 1 or 2 dosas but eat until you cannot eat no more, she was like my grandma and her only goal was to make us fat.

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Finally when I tried to pay she told mohan already paid for us all. I told no please take this cash. Mohan insisted he will pay for us, he knew we were broke.

He told us he might be poor but it’s not the money that makes a man rich but his character and he just wants to help us.

I was blown away and humbled by his thought. The more you distance yourself from material, the closer you get to humans.

But sadly our time with Mohan anna would soon come to an end, he was heading towards the east and not towards the north. we covered about 120 kms with him and bid our farewell. we were really thankful to him for everything.
It was around 3 am in the morning  and with 200 kms done in total and 800 to go, we were again confident that we are going to make it. But first we had to walk for about 7 kms to go to the next junction where the other Highway would connect to Hyderabad.

Even while walking for long distances we were full of joy and good spirits, we felt every step we take now in the right direction is getting us closer to our destination……

There is still a long way to go and we just started out, the story will be continued. Follow our blog and our journey.
Some other local heroes we met along the way and eye opening 
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