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Kamran’s adventure to Africa continues!

Last year, Kamran embarked on a cycling journey through the Middle East, dreaming of eventually reaching Africa. He managed to cycle from Oman to Jeddah, but his journey was interrupted by the war in Sudan, prompting his return to his homeland Pakistan.

With renewed determination, Kamran and his Santos are now back on the road to continue chasing his dream of cycling Africa. He has touched down in Ethiopia, the starting point of his African odyssey. Wondering what keeps moving him? Seven answers-from-the-heart!

 Kamran Ali
Bicycle Santos Travelmaster 3+

Why are you so keen on continuing this adventure?
Africa has always held a special place in my heart, with a decade of reading books and anticipation building up to this moment. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the rich tapestry of African culture, exploring its heritage, and traversing its wild landscapes.

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What makes bicycle travel unique?
On a bicycle, you are not only touching touristic hotspots but also everything in between. The slow pace helps you reflect upon every encounter on the road. You feel the wind, experience the gradient and surface of the road and have an unobstructed view from the saddle while fully exposed to the elements of nature. You have to earn every mile. Every section of the road is either pain or joy, and you will remember it forever. You travel at a speed where you can wave at people and respond to their greetings. Since you cannot cover very long distances in a day, you often have to find food, water and a safe place to sleep in between cities. Thus, you have to approach strangers. This allows you to experience their way of life and collect stories and lessons.

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How long are you planning to stay away?
Maybe a year or two? I don’t really know yet. My itinerary is as flexible as the open road itself. The goal is to escape the materialistic and ego-driven world we inhabit; to embrace the unknown. I'd rather endure the challenges of the road and feel lost in the vastness, than navigate the familiar.

What will make this trip truly special?
Those never-ending climbs, the stories shared by strangers, and the long hours looking at the vast horizons—these are the experiences I yearn for—the moments I'm ready to live and die for. I want to travel so far that the outside world fades into silence, even my own thoughts. I just want to feel and be in the moment. I believe that all the suffering on the road will help me discover my true self.

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Why have you chosen this specific route?
My route will trace back to the origins of humanity, where our species ventured out to populate the globe. I want to experience a moment of silence at that point. Above all, I'm curious about the beliefs of the people I'll meet along the way – discovering what unites and divides us on a fundamental human level.

Why do you carry so much photography gear on your bicycle?
Photography plays a significant role in my bicycle travels. It gives me the motivation to go out and listen to the stories of strangers. It helps me find out what divides and unites people across borders and forms a larger picture of the world. For me, traveling is not only about seeing cool places. It is also about meeting new people. There is an Indian proverb, “learn all the time, teach all the time!” Through travel, I learn about the world. Through photography, I share what I have learned.

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Your first thoughts when pedalling in Addis Abeba?
I don’t know how this journey will pan out or how long it will take, but one thing is for sure: as soon as I am on the bicycle and once I get out of the metropolitan chaos and have the horizon in sight, I will talk to my bicycle, I will wave at people, I will smile at the sky, and I will sing for the wind. Africa, here I come—ready to surrender myself to the road, just pure love of cycling and a burning desire to be one step closer to the essence of my being!

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