A year ago on this date, I finished my 33,100 km Argentina to Alaska bicycle trip that took me three years and nine months, almost 10% of my life. Unlike my first tour from Germany to Pakistan that took 13 years from inception to realization, this one was a rather an impulsive decision.
From the second day of my trip, Patagonian winds started crushing me day after day. One evening, I took shelter in an abandoned cabin in the Pampas. I spent two nights there, praying for the wind to stop. It didn’t. Before leaving, I left my signatures on the wall “Ushuaia —Alaska?” The question mark at the end signified how unsure I was about this travel.
I ran out of money in the first two months of my travel, took loans, and kept pedalling. Somehow, I made it to the end of South America. When I feared I could no longer continue without funds, people started contributing money. “You are living my dream!” they would leave a note.
You can imagine over the last five years, how many times I found myself in a vulnerable situation, but help came from unknown sources even before I asked for it. One door opened after another as if a divine power wanted me to take on this journey. Before leaving on this tour, I probably knew one or two people along the entire route, but now I feel a personal connection with every place because I know people living there. Albeit I lost the sense of strong attachment to the home, I gained a sense of attachment with the rest of the world as my new home.
The biggest outcome of this journey is that the world is indeed a beautiful place; pristine mountains, vast deserts, magnificent lakes, mighty rivers; but what makes it even more amazing is the beauty of human kindness. This beauty is no less than that of Patagonia or the Canadian Rockies. And this human kindness is not tied to a particular region, religion or culture but a common trait among all human beings. My journey is a testimony of human kindness.
I have experienced it first hand every day on the road. It is because of the human kindness I have been able to cycle so far, and it is because of the love from strangers, I’ve always felt at home!