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Mohammed Hafiz (left) and Hijas with their Kerala-registered Made-in-India SUV, after reaching the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Two young sons of two former truck drivers from India in the UAE have embarked on an ambitious road trip in a Made-in-India SUV from their hometown in Kerala and chose the UAE as their first stop.

Mohammed Hafiz, 19, and Hijas K.I, 22, are currently exploring the UAE in their recently-bought Mahindra Thar four seater 4WD vehicle for the shipping of which they have taken Carnet De Passage (CPD). CPD is an international customs document that covers the temporary entry permits of motor vehicles across different countries.

Speaking to Gulf News from Sharjah, where they were driving on Monday, the youngsters said they wanted to see the world and different cultures through their trips. “We are distant relatives,” said Hafiz. “Both our fathers [Backer and Iqbal] used to be truck drivers in the UAE. We owe a lot to this country that has given everything to our families. Hence, we chose the UAE as our first destination,” he said.

The duo has placed the images of flags of various countries that they are going to visit, as well as a big image of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on their SUV.

From Kerala to Africa

Hijas said their aim was to cover nearly 50 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa, in a year. “We have planned this as a Kerala-to-Africa trip. We want to prove it is possible in a Made-in-India vehicle,” he said.

They have named their travel vlog ‘KL-17 Unknown Destination’. KL17 is the prefix of the registration number for vehicles registered in Muvattupuzha, Kerala. Their car registration number is KL17W2866.

However, the duo has a clear idea about their destinations. “We have taken UAE residence visa because it will help us get a visa on arrival in many countries,” said Hijas.

A diploma holder in electronics and electrical engineering, Hafiz said he had got inspired to go on such a trip when he came over to visit the UAE in March 2021.

“I have already finished an all-India drive from Kerala to Kashmir in another SUV. That gave me the confidence to take up this trip,” Hafiz said.

Loans to quench wanderlust

The duo, who run a plastic material trading shop in Kerala, said they had taken the profits from the shop and additional loans for meeting the trip’s expenses and were also looking for supporters in countries that they were visiting.

Having explored six out of the seven emirates since they first landed in Dubai, the youth said they had been warmly welcomed by Indian expats, especially those from their home state.

“We have friends, relatives and well-wishers here. But, when we go on to other countries, we will be on our own. We are expecting the same warmth from the people in other countries also. Once we are out of the UAE, we will be mostly sleeping inside our vehicle only. We have set up beds like in a mini ambulance,” Hafiz said.

They said they were vaccinated and were hopeful that the current spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 would not pose a threat to their itinerary. “We are urging Indian missions in all the countries that we are visiting, to support us with travel permissions,” added Hijas.

The wanderlust youth are set to leave for Oman on December 27.

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Planned Route

UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Congo, Central Africa, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Mauritius, Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar.