July 15, 2024

NEW DELHI: Raj Phanden reached Saudi Arabia on his around-the-world bicycle journey 10 days in the past and deliberate only a transient keep, however the hospitality he was met with made him prolong his go to to discover the Kingdom.

An Ayurvedic physician by occupation, Phanden, 45, began his journey all over the world in September 2016.

He needed to discover a new function in his life after shedding each his mother and father that yr and nonetheless mourning his spouse who handed away just a few years earlier.

He related the bicycle journey with efforts to lift environmental consciousness. He has already lined over 100,000 km and, in response to his calculations, visited 102 international locations prior to now seven years.

“From my childhood, I’ve been aware of the atmosphere as a result of I come from a household of farmers. Once I turned a health care provider, I used to fulfill younger sufferers affected by bronchial asthma and different lung-related ailments brought on by unhealthy air and air pollution,” Phanden advised Arab Information over the telephone from Riyadh.

“The world tour has been liberating for me and helped me come out with my emotional trauma and establish myself with a bigger aim to serve humanity.”

He financed the primary months of his journey by promoting off a bit of his ancestral land in Haryana state. Now, he runs the Cycle Baba channel on YouTube, which has over 670,000 subscribers and generates sufficient revenue for him to maintain the journey.

On this photograph shared on social media on Dec. 14, 2023, Raj Phanden reveals his bicycle subsequent to a street signal on a freeway in Saudi Arabia. (Raj Phanden)

Phanden reached Saudi Arabia from Qatar on Saturday, as a part of the Gulf leg of his voyage.

“Earlier than I entered Saudi Arabia, I used to be undecided what sort of reception I’d obtain, however in three days of my keep to date, I’ve been overwhelmed by the type gestures coming from the locals,” he stated, referring to the various events when individuals who noticed him opening his tent or stopping to relaxation would provide him their houses to remain or would be sure he had sufficient meals and water to proceed his journey.

“The Kingdom is a watch opener for me, and the hospitality right here has made me revise my plan and I need to keep right here longer earlier than I transfer to a different vacation spot … Saudi Arabia is without doubt one of the finest locations I’ve traveled to date. It’s a brand new expertise and much exceeds my expectations. Persons are so good.”

Within the final seven years, Phanden has returned to India solely twice.

The primary time was in 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns introduced all journey to a halt, and the second time was final yr, when he wanted to bear surgical procedure and needed it to be in his dwelling nation.

His subsequent locations after the Gulf area would be the North Pole and the South Pole, after which he plans to relaxation and write down his experiences to date.

“I’ll take a break for just a few months in Europe and end my e-book earlier than transferring to the following vacation spot,” he stated.

With 102 international locations lined, greater than half of Phanden’s journey is already behind him.

“I don’t know when I’m going to return dwelling, maybe in 2030,” he stated.

“I need to cowl all of the international locations earlier than returning to India.”