A LOVELY RIDE
ALONE AROUND THE WORLD ON MOTORCYCLE
This is the story of Bharadwaj Dayala’s journey around the world. In the annals of adventure travel, few tales stand out as boldly as Bharadwaj Bharadwaj’s world tour on a motorcycle in the year 2006. At a time when smartphones were in their infancy, and Google Maps was not yet the ubiquitous guide it is today, Bharadwaj embarked on a daring journey that would become the stuff of legend.
The Genesis of the Dream:
It all began with a simple desire for exploration and a thirst for adventure. Bharadwaj, an intrepid traveler from India, decided to break free from the mundane and set his sights on a global expedition on a motorcycle. With a world map, a compass, and sheer determination, he mapped out a route that would take him through diverse terrains, cultures, and climates. Though born in a poor family Bharadwaj always strived for excellence in whatever he did and the world tour was just an example of his grit and determination to chase his dreams no matter what stood in his path.
Bharadwaj specifically wanted to take an Indian-made motorcycle and chose a Hero Honda Karizma, a 220cc street bike. He customized it to withstand the challenges of the journey. He added large steel panniers to carry the spare parts, tools, camping gear, and many other things that would be necessary for the journey. The bike never let him down. Though he faced some breakdowns he was never stranded on the road even a single time. It became more than a motorcycle to him and he understood the machine and the machine understood him and took good care of him. He completed the world tour without a single mishap or accident.
Navigating the Unknown:
Unlike today’s travelers armed with GPS and real-time navigation apps, smartphones and Go Pro cameras, Bharadwaj relied on paper maps, a compass, a large video and still cameras, and the kindness of locals for directions and help. A single smartphone would have reduced his luggage by half. Every day brought new challenges as he navigated through unfamiliar landscapes, faced language barriers, and encountered unexpected roadblocks. There were times when he had to backtrack thousands of kilometers due to political and terrorist situations.
The journey was not just about conquering miles but immersing himself in the rich tapestry of global cultures. He could have completed the 47,000 km in six months if riding around the world was the only goal. But Bharadwaj wanted to experience the world first-hand, and so he engaged with locals, and stayed with them, learning their customs, traditions, and languages. From the bustling markets of Iran to the beautiful Mosques of the Middle East to Mount Moses where Moses got his Ten Commandments, he embraced the diversity that makes our world so unique.
Challenges and Triumphs:
The road was not always smooth. Bharadwaj faced mechanical breakdowns, extreme weather conditions, and bureaucratic hurdles at border crossings. Getting visas to so many countries itself was a mammoth task that took him two years. He traveled alone through some of the most unforgiving terrains and tricky and troublesome areas. In fact, he was brutally beaten and robbed in his first country. Each challenge, however, became a testament to his resilience and resourcefulness. His story of overcoming adversity and finding solutions in the most remote corners of the world captivated the imaginations of armchair travelers around the globe and he became an inspiration for the whole generation of youngsters.
Capturing the Journey:
One can call him the father of Vlogging. He took a huge Sony professional video camera and shot videos of himself in various places. Back in 2006, in an era before ubiquitous social media, Bharadwaj documented his journey through photographs, videos, handwritten journals, and occasional postcards to family and friends. These artifacts would later become a treasure trove, offering a glimpse into a bygone era of travel where the world felt vast and unexplored.
Legacy of the Journey:
Bharadwaj Bharadwaj’s world tour on a motorcycle in 2006 stands as a testament to the spirit of adventure and the human capacity to explore the unknown. His story continues to inspire a new generation of travelers to seek out the extraordinary, reminding us that the journey is just as important as the destination.
Below is a short description of Bharadwaj Bharadwaj’s overland journey through each country, highlighting the unique experiences and challenges he might have faced while traveling by road:
Starting from his home in Visakhapatnam, he traveled to Mumbai to airlift his motorcycle to Tehran, Iran as Pakistan refused to give him a visa due to the security risks.
Entering Iran, Bharadwaj encountered a rich tapestry of history and culture. The roads stretched across vast deserts like Dust-e-kavir, mountainous terrain, and ancient cities like Isfahan and Shiraz. The warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people left a lasting impression on his journey. Yet the language problems and venturing into the unknown began. Safety concerns rose as he was brutally beaten and robbed. In Iran, international credit cards or debit cards don’t work. He had an option to quit and go back home or persevere and continue. He chose to continue no matter what and crossed Iran without food for many days and entered Turkey where he could finally get some cash from the banks. He says this was the best thing that happened as he developed a deep sense of danger and avoided any such situations and the incidents never repeated.
Bharadwaj says if you can travel to only one country then go to Turkey. Turkey offers a unique blend of East and West, deserts and snow, beautiful beaches high mountains, with its vibrant markets, historic sites like Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, and the scenic landscapes of Cappadocia. Navigating the roads, Bharadwaj experienced the meeting point of various civilizations and a diverse culinary landscape.
In Syria, the road took him through ancient cities like Damascus, Aleppo, and Hama. The journey was tinged with both the historical richness of the region and the awareness of the challenges faced by the country in the years that followed. He was fortunate to visit places like Palmyra, which were later destroyed by ISIS.
Entering Jordan was special to Bharadwaj as he saw Lawrence of Arabia which was filmed in these areas. Bharadwaj explored the mystical city of Petra, the vast desert of Wadi Rum, and the historic sites along the King’s Highway. The unique landscapes and the hospitality of the Jordanian people made this leg of the journey memorable.
Then Bharadwaj crossed the Red Sea and entered Egypt. From the ancient wonders of Cairo to the laid-back atmosphere of Luxor and Aswan, Egypt offers a diverse range of experiences. The road that followed the longest river in the world, the Nile took him on a journey through ages.
In Greece, Bharadwaj’s journey took him through a blend of ancient ruins and picturesque landscapes to wonder coastal towns. From Athens and the Acropolis to the charming islands of Santorini and Crete, he experienced the rich history and natural beauty of the country.
Italy brought a sensory overload of art, history, and culinary delights. The road led through Rome and the Vatican offering glimpses of iconic landmarks, Renaissance art, and the diverse Italian countryside.
From the romantic streets of Paris to the lavender fields of Provence, France offers a variety of experiences. Navigating the well-maintained roads, Bharadwaj enjoyed the culinary delights of each region, from baguettes in Paris to wine in Bordeaux.
10. UNITED KINGDOM:
Crossing the English Channel, Bharadwaj explored the diverse landscapes of the United Kingdom. From the historic streets of London to the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the road offered a mix of urban exploration and scenic drives. The small meandering roads and the beautiful cities of Edinburg and Glasgow he enjoyed made this part of his journey very special. Also, UK was like little India. He met a lot of Indians who welcomed him with warmth and awe. They were all ears to listen to his story of exploration.
Bharadwaj crossed the Atlantic Ocean and entered Toronto, Canada with his motorcycle. Then he explored the east coast of Canada through places like Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. Then he crossed the huge landscape to go to Winnipeg. From Winnipeg, he took a long train to Churchill town which is known as the polar bear capital. He saw the huge white animals wandering in their own habitat. Later he once again came back to Canada at Vancouver after shipping his motorcycle from Los Angeles to Australia. He took a Jeep and drove all the way up to the northernmost inhabited city of Tuktoyaktuk, driving 2,000 km on roads covered with ice.
12. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Bhardwaj traveled extensively to all the four corners of the United States. He entered at North Dakota and then rode to New York, all the way to the East. Then he came all the way down to Florida the southernmost state. From there he crossed a vast country and went to Los Angeles on the west coast. Then he went all the way up to Vancouver, in the North West. From the bustling streets of New York City to the Grand Canyon’s awe-inspiring vistas, Bharadwaj experienced the diversity of America’s cities and natural wonders. Enjoyed meeting and chatting with the Indian diaspora spread across America.
This was a relaxing break. He shipped his motorcycle from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia. He utilized the shipping time to explore this island nation. He visited the famous island where the film Cast Away was shot.
14: NEW ZEALAND:
In New Zealand, the journey took a turn towards pristine landscapes and outdoor adventures. The road wound through the Southern Alps, Fiordland National Park, and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, providing a contrast to the urban landscapes he had encountered.
From the vibrant cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the vastness of the Outback, Australia offers a diverse range of experiences. The road took Bharadwaj to the iconic landmarks of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday islands showcasing the country’s natural beauty.
Navigating the archipelago of Indonesia, Bharadwaj’s journey included encounters with diverse cultures and landscapes. From the bustling streets of Jakarta to the serene beaches of Bali and the volcanic landscapes of Java, Indonesia presented a unique blend of experiences.
Returning to the Indian subcontinent, Bharadwaj’s journey reached its final leg in Bangladesh. The road led through the bustling streets of Dhaka, the serene landscapes of the Sundarbans, and the cultural richness of historic sites like Bagerhat.
RETURN TO INDIA:
Completing the circle, Bharadwaj returned to India, bringing with him a wealth of experiences, memories, and a unique perspective on the diverse cultures, people, and landscapes he encountered during his overland motorcycle odyssey. He travelled across 5 continents, 16 countries, 47,000kms, in 18 months and returned safely.
This book narrates his entire world tour in detail. It will inspire everyone who reads it. Bhardwaj says “It’s easier to ride around the world than write a book about it”. He became busy catching up with life that he left a long back and finally, he decided to publish the book in 2024.