Muscat: One man, one machine and the endless road. No, this is not a movie plot, but a real life story of a man, who sold his house to go biking around the world.
Atul Warrier is currently in Oman and is on the second leg of a gigantic trans-continental expedition. In June last year, Warrier quit his lucrative job at a leading media firm in Bangalore and sold all his properties to set off from Kanyakumari and has so far covered 18,000km across Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Bali, Australia and finally arrived in Muscat.
“A lot of people have tried to travel everywhere. But I was largely inspired by Gunther Holtorf’s incredible journey that lasted for 23 years during which he travelled to 172 sovereign countries, 17 dependent territories, six special territories, and five de-facto states,” Warrier said in a freewheeling conversation with the Times of Oman.
“Travel has really always inspired me. I like to travel. I like to meet people. I’m curious to see different countries,” he added.
After years of living a dull life in the corporate world, Warrier took a break to set his mind right. “I made my first solo journey exploring the whole of South India for an entire month. That totally changed my perspective towards life.
The interactions and experiences that I had with unknown people were truly an eye opener. I genuinely felt alive as the more I explored, the more I came into contact with the essential parts of myself,” Warrier said.
40 countries in 550 days
This is when Warrier realised that he wanted to live this dream rather than just chase it. “The biggest fight was to convince myself. I finally decided to take a career break and answer the call of self reflection, freedom and connecting with people around the world,” he said.
Preparing for the journey that is expected to cover 40 countries in 550 days was not easy for Warrier. He had to first sell his house to save the money for the trip and to do that he had to first convince his family.
“It was tough to convince them but I was determined to go for it and they couldn’t stop me,” he said. The next big challenge was to choose the vehicle for my travel. He modified his bike—a 2002 Royal Enfield Thunderbird.
“I call it the Black Pearl. So far it has been my best companion,” Warrier said.
In addition to getting valid visas for all the destinations, Warrier also needed a Carnet de Passages en Douane or CPD, a passport of sorts for the vehicle. And after 18 months of preparations, Warrier the ‘Warrior’ began his dream ride of a lifetime.
For Warrier, the trip so far has been an “amazing” experience. “This trip has changed my perspective about life. In the last few months I have come across strangers, some of whom are great human beings,” he said.
“In Laos, near the Kong Lor cave, it was the villagers, who helped me and my bike across a river during a massive storm. In Bangkok, I even survived an accident while riding from Cambodia. “People came running to help me and they even repaired my bike without taking a penny from me. Not a word they spoke to me and I was on the road quickly. I do not know who they are but that’s when you realise how blessed you are,” he said.
Riding on a bike, according to Warrier has been a “challenging” experience. “It’s not that easy as one might think. Riding a bike might be easy, but travelling this long is not,” said Warrier, who lives on fruits and juice. “I make sure that I don’t end up eating in a plum restaurant or a five-star hotel. That’s how I save money for this long journey,” he said.
Warrier, who has been in Oman for the last two weeks, has already fallen in love with the beauty of the Sultanate. “The people of Oman are as beautiful as the country,” he said. “I have already explored some places here and riding my bike in this country has been an amazing experience,” he said.
Recalling his journey so far, Warrier had this to add: “The more you travel, the more you realise how little you’ve seen. And the more you’ve seen and experienced, the more you want to continue seeing and continuing experiencing.”