By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Traveling to more than 80 countries, some of them on a bike, has been a dream come true for Pakistani-German biker and vlogger Abrar Hassan. He recently completed a long journey covering some 9,000 km on his motorcycle from Germany to the Saudi holy city of Makkah, passing through five countries in 50 days, including Kuwait.
From being afraid to ride a motorcycle to becoming a motorcycle traveler, Hassan took Kuwait Times on his journey to the world, telling the story of his beginnings and how he became a famous adventurer with his bike.
Kuwait Times: Tell us more about yourself.
Abrar Hassan: I am Abrar Hassan, a Pakistani-German traveler. I am an aerospace engineer by profession and have been working in the automobile industry for the past 12 years.
KT: How and when did you start traveling?
Hassan: I’ve been traveling since 2008, but started traveling on a bike from 2020. I couldn’t continue doing what I was planning due to COVID restrictions, and had to cut short my trip and go back to Germany to continue my job.
KT: How many countries have you visited so far?
Hassan: I have visited probably more than 80 countries, with 16 countries on motorcycle.
KT: How was your experience in Kuwait? Where did you go?
Hassan: I had a great time in Kuwait. Unfortunately, I only spent a few days there as I wanted to be in Madinah for the start of Ramadan. But the time I spent in Kuwait was wonderful with great memories, and I wish to go back to explore Kuwait properly.
KT: What did you learn about Kuwaiti culture?
Hassan: The people are extremely friendly and welcoming. It is a multicultural country and people from different backgrounds living there is something unique.
KT: You are touring countries on a low-budget trip. How does this work?
Hassan: Well, it is hard to manage a budget, especially in European and Middle Eastern countries, but I was comfortably traveling within my budget of $50 a day in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The hotels are probably the biggest issue for the budget, but by camping, we can reduce the cost.
KT: Why did you choose to travel on a motorbike? What challenges do you face?
Hassan: I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone, so I learned to ride a bike in 2019 and 2020, then left home to travel the world. It was probably the best decision I ever made, even though every day is a challenge. Often, border crossings or issues with the bike make it difficult, but it is a learning experience that makes travel even more memorable.
KT: How did the pandemic affect your travels? Where did you stay?
Hassan: I had planned to travel to Mongolia, but due to COVID, I couldn’t go further than Iran and had to get special permission to even enter Pakistan, where I stayed for a few months. But I could travel in Pakistan, and had a great time riding in probably the most beautiful mountains in the world with not many tourists and cheap accommodation options.
KT: Tell us more about your trip from Germany to Pakistan. How was it?
Hassan: It was challenging, a great learning experience, and full of memories. I was probably also lucky that most tourist places, hotels, etc were empty due to the pandemic, which made it a lot easier for me to explore.
KT: What did your childhood look like? Did you imagine yourself as a motorbike traveler?
Hassan: I’m from a small village and it had always been a dream to travel, but we couldn’t afford to go even on family holidays. After graduation, a well-paid job in Germany helped me to save money to fulfill my dream of traveling. I was always afraid of bikes, but my fear led me to learn to ride one to get out of my comfort zone and have an adventure every day I’m on the road.
KT: What is the scariest moment you witnessed during your journey?
Hassan: The scariest moment was riding off-road in Turkey (Bayburt to Trabzon on the D915) in bad weather with no visibility in the mountainous area with a huge drop on one side. The other time was while crossing the border from Iran to Pakistan, when I faced a very uncomfortable interrogation to assure Iranian authorities that I hadn’t filmed anything illegal there.
KT: How do you plan for your travel? What do you prepare?
Hassan: I do spend a lot of time planning my travel and go through blogs, YouTube, and news about the areas I will visit to get as much information as possible. I mainly prepare for the route and things I should see along the way, so I can be well prepared to share them with my audience. I spend some time learning the history, culture and geography of the areas.
KT: Tell our readers about the lessons learned from your journey and how someone can start their trip on a motorbike.
Hassan: There are a lot of things I have learned and changes I have seen in myself, especially the patience to deal with difficult moments, respect for other cultures and people, being friendly and not judging others.