A Route was taken by Kamran from Germany to Pakistan and Beyond

Kamran Ali, also known as Kamran On Bike, is a Pakistani adventure biker and photographer. He has cycled around the world for the past six years, covering 50,000 miles in 43 countries. Visit his website to learn more about his world travels.

1. When did you start riding your bike around the world?

For the past ten years, I’ve been cycling around the world. After a decade, I decided to cycle from Germany to Pakistan. I quit my job to be able to go on that trip. I bought a bicycle and loaded my cameras into panniers so I could go exploring on the open road. I’ve been on the road full-time since 2015.

2. What compelled you to abandon your well-established software development career and embark on a round-the-world bicycle journey?

Perhaps it was fate’s will.

I was born and raised in Pakistan. I was accepted to a university in Germany in 2002, and I flew from Islamabad to Frankfurt. As I looked out the plane window, I was captivated by the vastness and landscape that stretched below. I imagined myself as a tiny dot moving across the rugged terrain on an endless tarmac strip. While the plane was still in the air, I made a secret promise to myself: “One day, I’m going to cycle from Germany to Pakistan!”

I earned my Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Germany while also working as a software developer. The dream of my parents and my entire family had come true. I paid off my debts, bought an apartment and a car, and established a secure future for myself. But something didn’t feel quite right.

I couldn’t think of a single day when I didn’t remember this dream. I was unable to get a good night’s sleep. I’d be sitting in on an office meeting while my boss drew project data flow diagrams on the whiteboard, but all I could see was a map and a bicycle route. At home, I used to spend a lot of time staring at the world map.

I reminded myself of my promise every hour. I began to question the meaning of life because I was unable to pursue my dream. I approached my boss and requested a sabbatical, but he told me that I needed to work for the company for another ten years to qualify. A few days later, I handed him my resignation letter. Then I surrendered everything, including my apartment and car. I was on a 10,000-kilometer bicycle trip from Germany to Pakistan a few weeks later.

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3. Were your loved ones supportive or opposed to your decision to leave your job?

When I told my family I was going to cycle to Pakistan, they were all taken aback. “While my boys who live abroad rush back home, you have chosen the most time-consuming route possible!” Mom was ecstatic.

“You’re wasting our time,” said my older brother, who once sold his motorcycle to help me pay for my university tuition. “Why would you choose a vehicle owned by a poor man?”

Our family is from a working-class family. They couldn’t understand why I would leave a well-paying job in Germany for the sake of cycling, despite the fact that they had always suspected I was insane.

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4. Which countries have you traveled through on your motorcycle?

My cycling journey has taken me across 43 nations on four continents, for a total distance of 50,000 kilometers. The following is a list of countries:

Europe consists of the following countries: Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, San Marino, Malta, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and England. Europe consists of the following countries:

Asia includes Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, and Pakistan. Europe includes France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

South America includes the countries of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Central America consists of the following countries: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize.

Mexico, the United States, and Canada are located in North America.

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5. What advice or suggestions would you give to someone just starting out on an international bicycle trip?

Please, take your time! Don’t overextend yourself. Instead of concentrating on the road ahead and attempting to reach the next city, take a moment to reflect while driving.

Consider looking to the right and left, waving at people, and making frequent stops to talk, take photos, and exchange stories and gifts. Slowing down allows new perspectives and details to emerge, allowing you to experience the world from new and varied perspectives.

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6. What have you learned from your international riding adventures thus far?

In 2016, while cycling across Peru, I met a mystic who taught me three important lessons:

All doors will open for you the moment your heart is overflowing with love.
Make your wishes, but don’t hold your breath.
Instead of only thinking about yourself all the time, consider what you can do to help others.
Imagine how many times I was in a vulnerable or asking position over the course of 50,000 kilometers of cycling, but help was always on the way. These teachings served as a beacon for me throughout my journey, and they helped me develop trusting relationships with strangers, who in turn taught me valuable lessons.

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7. What have been your favorite locations for cycling across the world?

I have had a memorable time in all countries. But if I have to name a few, they would be:

  • Patagonia (Chile and Argentina),
  • Altiplano in Bolivia,
  • Highlands in Peru,
  • Guatemala,
  • Baja California in Mexico,
  • National Parks in the US,
  • The road from Dawson City to Tuktoyaktuk in Canada,
  • Dalton Highway in Alaska,
  • Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, and
  • Karakoram Highway in Pakistan.

8. What kinds of experiences do cycling around the world provide that other modes of transportation do not?

Long-distance cycling provides a unique perspective on the world, and it is growing in popularity. You will not only visit hotspots, but you will also learn about the areas in between. It gives you the opportunity to take your time and reflect on each interaction. It makes you more receptive to kindness from complete strangers. It promotes a sense of belonging to a larger community.

Riding a bicycle gives you a strong connection with mother nature. You can feel the wind, see the gradient and road surface, and enjoy an unobstructed view from the saddle while being completely exposed to nature’s elements.

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Every mile you travel must be earned. Every stretch of road is either exhilarating or painful, and you will remember it for the rest of your life. You travel at a leisurely pace, allowing you to wave at people and respond to their greetings and questions as they arrive. Because you can’t travel very far in a day, you have to stop frequently for food, drink, and a safe place to sleep in between towns. Those who live in remote areas away from the main route must be approached. This allows you to learn about their way of life while also gathering stories and lessons.

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9. What advice would you give to those who want to leave jobs that have bound them in order to pursue their dreams?

There is a reason why we want something specific. Our deepest desires manifest as dreams as they grow from the depths of our souls. Nothing defines us more than our ambitions for ourselves.

Because the universe is made up of puzzle pieces, our dreams are ways for the universe to guide us so that we can play our part in the bigger picture.

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The goal of life is to realize our full potential and to accept who we are as individuals. And in order to do so, we must embark on an adventure into the unknown, guided by our inner voice. Once we begin this journey, every risk is worthwhile because it brings us closer to our true selves.

Place your trust in your inner voice. Despite the fact that you’ve spent your entire life growing feathers, you’ve never flown! With a simple leap of faith, you’ll be flying through the sky!

Live a liberated existence!

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