On the road for six months,Austrian family reaches Chandigarhhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/on-the-road-for-six-months-austrian-family-reaches-chandigarh/

On the road for six months,Austrian family reaches Chandigarh

The travel plan is fluid,the journey eventful. There are no agendas at any stopover,but only stories to share at every place.

Will meet children at orphanages,create live show for community radio back home

The travel plan is fluid,the journey eventful. There are no agendas at any stopover,but only stories to share at every place.

Michael Schedlberger,Toinja Landerl and their five-year-old daughter Iparia have been on the road for more than six months now,travelling from Austria to India in their caravan,stopping along the way in Turkey,Iran and Pakistan. On Wednesday,they reached Chandigarh from Dharamshala.

For the next three days,the couple will spend time with the children of two orphanages – Kalyani Maa Sewa Trust in Chandigarh and Bal Sadan in Panchkula. The interactions with the volunteers will be followed by a live show for their community radio (Radio BO-138) back home in Kinchdonf,Austria.


At Mcleodganj,the family met Kalpana Ghai,who runs the two orphanages,and the Italian volunteer working with her,and decided to come to Chandigarh for interviews with the children.

“We want to share with the people back home the amazing stories of people who work for something they believe in and not just money,” said 34-year-old Michael,a furniture designer by profession.

The husband-wife duo converted an Austrian Mail service bus,a 1977 make Mercedes into a caravan and equipped it with a gas stove,bed,refrigerator,make-shift beds and a small separate area for Iparia,for the trip.

“I am a psychotherapist and we both love travelling,which adds so much value to our lives. We have also created a community radio where people can do their own shows. Along the course of this journey,we have created live shows on our laptops and sent them back home for broadcast. We are really excited about our stop in Chandigarh,” said Toinja (37). She said they go along with the people they meet on their way and explore new places,which is how exactly the Chandigarh trip happened.

Michael said a trip to India is a fulfilling experience,“except for the traffic and the bureaucracy”.

The couple also shared their experiences in the Muslim countries – Iran,Turkey and Pakistan – where they said the divide between the public and private life is huge.

“There’s so much bad news floating around,but really things are not so bad. People are very warm and they just want peace. We were welcomed wherever we went. People cooked for us; and frankly the journey has given us so much faith in human beings and their goodness,” said Michael.

In Pakistan,the family had to travel under police protection for two weeks.

“We recorded awesome Sufi music in Lahore. In Iran,where no musicians are allowed,we interviewed a DJ who described how they produce music,while in Mcleodganj,we understood the philosophy of Buddhism,non-violence,and the Tibetan community’s pain. We went up to the Himalayas and felt so humbled,it’s tough to create those on the move,especially the editing,” he said.

Rishikesh,Rajasthan,Mumbai,southern India…the journey will continue till February,after which the family will head home.


“The journey is a self-introspection and we can only say it’s great to step out of the comfort zone,take a new steps and share the energies,” added Toinja.