The Man Who Tapped Out to Ride Around the World
Everyone has that one moment of reckoning – a moment that sets the course for life as you know it, and nothing is ever the same after it. For Atul Warrier, that moment was when he saw his brother lying in the ICU on a ventilator, his life flashing before his eyes. The uncertainty and unpredictability of life were staring him right in the face, and in that moment of clarity, he realised that the rat race he found himself running in was for nothing. For no one. He decided, instead, to live his dream. What dream, you ask? Only to ride his bike around every continent, every country, across every ocean in this world. And ride he did.
Warrier’s love for bikes started when he was a tiny youngin’ – he could name almost every bike on the road by the age of 5. He had started riding by the age of 18, and the rest as say they say, is history. He began with a solo trip around South India for a month. “During this time I stumbled upon a video of a German traveller, Mr.Gunther Holtrof who had travelled for 25 years on road. That what sparked interest in international travel. That spark coupled with my solo travel experience triggered the birth of Warrier’s Trail – the solo travel trip across South East Asia, Australia, Middle East & Europe” he tells us.
To realise his dream, Warrier decided to sell everything he owned to make it happen. Selling his house was the easiest, he says as he was completely convinced of his dream. “I felt lighter as if I have lost many strings attached as part of selling all this. It’s a very simple formula: Fewer assets, fewer strings attached, more freedom, which results in peace of mind. This, however, was only the beginning. To plan for his trip entirely, Warrier took about 20 months – he researched into this kind of travel, planned the route, got his visas and permits for his bike, shipping formalities and rebuilt his bike (he had to research all the different modifications he would have to make for such a ride).
As for how his family took to his decision, Warrier went through an entire process with them. He recounts, “I had been working on this project for months. I was sharing all the information especially videos and blogs of other travellers, especially women travellers. This was to convince them that such a dream can be fulfilled. I sat with and every member of my family and answered all their questions. The biggest area of concern was the safety aspect. If life is uncertain and we are aware that anything can happen to us, then what’s the point of not living your dream?” And with that, he was off.
Warrier began his journey from Kanyakumari in June of 2016, and went through South East Asia, through Australia, and then went on through the Middle East and all the way through Europe – riding through 26 countries in total on this one journey, no small feat. As true as ever for someone who rides the untrodden path, Warrier had his fair share of experiences that collectively changed his world view. He tells us of a time when he met with an accident in a tiny village in Thailand. “ I was edged out of the road by upcoming traffic and I slipped and skidded into the bushes. Luckily I had no injuries, but the bike had some damages. The locals came to help, but none of them could speak English. They called their friends and found that there is a mechanic in the next town. They accompanied me to the next town and explained to the mechanic what happened. The mechanic repaired the bike while I cleaned myself of all the dirt. In 1 hour I was back on the road riding to Bangkok. All this happened without me speaking a word and to add to it, they didn’t charge me a penny.”
As for what’s coming his way, Warrier has decided to simply keep his plans as open as he can and just accelerate and cruise with Castrol POWER1 CRUISE flowing through his engine. He leaves young riders with “When you’re on the road, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. But there will always be someone to help you.” If that isn’t enough for you to want to ride off chasing the sunset on your bike, we don’t know what is.
© 2020. Gut and Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.
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