NEWS - For months, the Instagram community has been captivated by the incredible road trip of German couple Nina and Kai Schakat. Their journey began when they invested in an old 83-seater bus and transformed it into a stunningly renovated vehicle fit for adventure. But the Schakats didn't stop there.
They, along with their two children, embarked on an ambitious journey across Asia, documenting their travels on their Instagram page, 8feet6wheels. From the bustling streets of Madurai to the stunning vistas of the Himalayas, the Schakats have been sharing their experiences and educating their 8,327 followers along the way.
This family's journey is not only a testament to their adventurous spirit but also a source of inspiration for those seeking to explore the world in a unique way.
A Dream Realized: The Genesis of 8feet6wheels
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nina Schakat's father passed away, prompting her to reevaluate her priorities. She didn't want to wait until retirement to start living and traveling with her family. Thus began the idea of a grand adventure across Asia on a renovated bus.
“We challenged ourselves to think if such a trip is possible to enjoy with the kids when they are in the right age to understand the journey and still keen to travel with us parents." – Nina Schakat explained in an interview with CNN Travel.
It took the Schakats nine months and $6,000 to restore the old bus to its former glory and to outfit it as a mobile home. Another $40,000 was spent on converting the bus into a fully equipped living space with a kitchen, household appliances, and ample storage for food and supplies.
Kai Schakat, a professional truck driver, described how they could live comfortably on the road:
"We have a fully equipped kitchen with a big household fridge, freezer, and washing machine. We have everything [we need]. We can spend one week somewhere without needing water or power, and we have enough food supplies [to last us]."
Kai also said in a separate interview that this dream of traveling with his wife stayed within the family for as long as they’ve been together. He also shares the same mindset as his wife that they don’t have to wait for retirement to see the world.
Interested individuals can also watch Nina talk about how the family planned the road trip in a Facebook live stream.
Amidst the 14-month journey of Nina and Kai Schakat's family on their renovated 83-seater bus, the couple made sure that their children, Ben and Leni, would continue their education.
Since the kids won't attend school during the trip, the Schakats enrolled them in iCademy, an American online school that is also accredited by Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). With this homeschooling approach, the children can continue their studies while on the go, experiencing the cultures and sights of different Asian countries.
Money Matters Matter
The Schakat family's 14-month road trip across Asia is not just an adventure, but also a strategic financial decision. With a budget of Dh200,000 (about $54,400), the family plans to cover essential expenses such as fuel, food, logistics costs, and other travel expenses. They will also use part of their budget to pay for admission fees to notable destinations. However, this means that the couple won't have a stable source of income for the entire trip.
To fund their journey, Nina, who works at PMKConsult, a project and commercial management consultancy company in Dubai, was granted a sabbatical for the entire travel period. This will allow her to assist in recovering the funds spent during their 14-month adventure. Kai owns a small carpentry business and will reopen his company after the journey.
Despite the financial risks, the Schakat family's journey is a reminder that with careful planning and a spirit of adventure, traveling the world can be a reality for many families.
Overcoming Travel Obstacles: The Schakat Family's Journey Across Continents
The family intended Iran to be their first destination. From that country, the German family would travel to Pakistan.
But the plan didn’t work out as heavy floods ravaged multiple parts of Pakistan. That means that the family had to abandon that route and search for a new path.
The Schakats soon found themselves traveling to Turkey, particularly in Cappadocia’s central region. Here, the family would spend some time looking at the “fairy chimnies” before attempting to return to Iran.
Another roadblock would soon set it in as civil unrest happened in Iran as a Kurdish Iranian woman died under unclear circumstances. Although the Schakats were able to enter Iran, they didn’t have the time or the safety to visit the country’s locations.
Instead, the Schakats chose to enter Iran and get out of there as quickly as possible. Again, another undertaking appears as the country’s borders closed. That also meant that Iran’s government can’t process any visas going in and out of the country during that period.
With no other choice left, the Schakats decided to stay in Iran for two weeks. Thankfully, the family managed to secure their visas for Pakistan after about 10 days of staying in Iran. An armed escort even accompanied the family as they drove from Pakistan to India.
With the extended and uneventful stay in Iran, the Schakats had no choice but to remove some planned destinations from their itinerary.
German Family's Epic Adventure: Overcoming Challenges and Celebrating Christmas on the Beach
The Schakat family's journey is a remarkable tale of perseverance and adventure. Despite facing numerous roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances, Nina, Kai, and their kids continue to travel across various countries and experience different cultures.
Related Read: 10 Best Christmas Vacations In The US
Their travels took them from Germany to Iran, Turkey, India, and Nepal, among others. However, their plans were disrupted by heavy floods in Pakistan, leading them to seek a new path. Civil unrest in Iran also forced them to cut short their visit and stay in the country for two weeks before securing their visas for Pakistan.
Despite the challenges, the family continued their journey and found themselves celebrating Christmas on a lonely beach between Goa and Mumbai. The family of four spent quality time together while enjoying the beautiful scenery and soaking up the local culture.
The Schakats' adventure is not yet over. They plan to visit Cambodia and Laos before returning to India, passing through different states in India to enter Nepal, and then returning to Pakistan before heading back to their home in Dubai.
Their journey is not only a testament to their resilience but also a source of inspiration for anyone who wants to embark on an epic adventure. Follow their journey on social media and discover the beauty and diversity of the world.