Published: 09th September 2017
I live in my car: 40-year-old Mangalorean explains what it is like to be on the road for the last seven years
Ever wanted to go on a road trip that could last a lifetime? Merwyn Couhinto is your guy!
Let's be honest here! We all have wanted to have a life where we could wander and not care about anything materialistic. But each time that thought popped in our heads, we would have some bills to pay or would be involved in maintaining a status in the society. But there are a few who look beyond this and break the chains, Merwyn Couhinto nails the profile if not wins it.
When Edex called him first, he was in Rajasthan. He asked for call 15 minutes later and by then, he had entered Gujarat. That's his life in a nutshell where movement is the more important deal for Merwyn. Merwyn sold whatever he owned and bought a 1989 Land Cruiser as his aim was to move and not be stuck anywhere. With his seven-year testimony of not having a roof and living in a car, he doesn't need any words to tell why comfort means something else to him. It is not coming back to a bed or a house after a long day of work, it is not knowing that where he is gonna have his next meal or it is not accumulating bank balance. It is rather having his house in form of a tent which he can build any time he wants. It is having the two meals of the day in two different cities. And it is also knowing that the "road will take care you."
The word travel comes with a different meaning. Travelling is having an FB page nowadays. I have moved on from traveling. It is not traveling as we know it. It is just a movement. While travelling, I started facilitating stuff for people in the village with my corporate background. Once you are caught up, movement gets restricted
Merwyn Couhinto, freelance writer who lives in his car
road taking care of you is one of the many beliefs that keeps Merwyn going. "No plan, no timeline and no destination" is another phrase that he lives by. When Merwyn started seven years ago, he only had 10K in his account which burnt down from his travel from Mumbai to Delhi. "It was when it boiled down to having to meals a day. All you need to do is earn two meals for the day. It can't be that hard that you can't do what you really want to do in life," he starts off narrating his journey. When you resign yourself to the road, road does take care of you. Whenever I needed fuel there was money. I believe that if I believe in the road, the road will take care of me," he says.
Things he owns: 1989 Land Cruiser, laptop, and a phone
As his "plan is to have no plan", he never has a map for his future. And that, according to him is the most liberating thing ever. But, as they say, there is some order in the disorder. Where does he find that? "For me, this is the order, this is normal." He has worked in a dabha, as a driver, freelance writer and even as a farmer. As he has traveled across all the states of India, he has often stayed with families in villages. For instance, he recalls living with a family in UP who owned a peanut farm. "As I volunteer for work wherever I have my stays, I offered help to the family. They readily accepted but the problem was matching up to the stamina they had," he says. Among other things, taking showers in the rivers is one the best things he enjoys.
Like anyone, even he had to deal with initial challenges of dealing with the emotions of his family. "I really give them a choice as I have always led an independent life. They didn't understand initially. I mean, who will. When everyone talks about having an ambition and I didn't have any ambitions. But the progress that road has shown me is tremendous. And it is worth leaving all that behind," he says.
The place that has made him stay the longest is the North East. He calls it the 'wild wild east'. He has crossed all the states in the country, probably quite a few times. After having done all this, he doesn't have a plan. He doesn't like any plans. "The rule is that there are no rules. The first thing I learned when I hit the road was that I have to unlearn a lot of things and here I am with no plans and I am happy," he signs off.