Riding 75 days on motorbikes around the South East Asian and South Asian countries including Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar, India, Bhutan, the team of Globe Riders arrived Kathmandu on 15th November. Six riders rode across more than 10000 kilometers with the banner “Nepal Back on Top of the World” promoting Nepal as safe travel destination.
Mr. Helge Perdersen the leader of the trip
Here we have an exclusive interview with Mr. Helge Pedersen, the leader of the multinational motor-biking expedition.
EH: Overall experience of riding on the roads of Asia
We have done various tours before this. Some roads were a little bit familiar but some were very very different. Some of the highlights were Yanun, Unan provinces of China, they were very beautiful. And of course, Tibet and Myanmar and also Nagaland in India were also nice places. We loved Bhutan and most of the places we rode to, because the ride had a lot of new territories we haven’t been before.
And in Nepal it was quiet. When we entered Nepal from India because of the fuel shortage, there was almost no traffic and it was good. We enjoyed Chitwan and the tour of Kathmandu very much.
Globe Riders journey in the Asian Roads
EH: About the slogan Nepal Back on top of the world
I think it was a good slogan “Nepal Back on the Top of the World”. Suman (President of Explore Himlaya) came up with this idea when we met him at Bangkok. And it goes a little further back, I have been planning this trip for almost two years and this is just an exploratory trip and then I want to do more with bigger group. Like 15-20 motorbikes in the future, but first we have the small group and check it out. And when the earthquake hit Nepal, some of the guys who were planning this trip said “we cannot go because the infrastructures situation in Nepal at present might not be that good”. But I said “No perhaps, we are going to Nepal six months after the quake”. I believed on renovation work going on here and I also wanted to support the country that relies heavily on tourism.
During the meeting with Suman at Bangkok, we had a long discussion about this. And I think with today’s media and social media, everybody was convinced that terrible things had happened because of the earthquake. Everybody thought the whole country is devastated and that’s not true. And if you don’t go to a place like this which depends a lot on tourism you’re not helping. I think you are helping if you come here, which will help run businesses and opportunity for the people to get employment. So when Suman proposed the slogan, it fit perfectly in with what we were doing.
Globe Riders in China
EH: Promotion of Nepal by the slogan to the countries you rode across during the trip
I think it promoted beyond that. We have written articles on our journals and sent Newsletters about the trip to people who were following the trip. We have promoted this trip through our pages in Social Medias. And in response to those people, who are acknowledging that we are traveling, we tell them the story and people get encouraged.
EH: Safety issues during the trip
Oh yes, of course! People who saw us riding could see that we were tourists and everyone was nice to us.
EH: About the news in media that Nepal is totally devastated after the quake
I worked as a journalist for many years. And if there is a something going on like war or earthquake you take a picture of it. You take a picture of the devastation, you don’t take a picture of nature and post “look at the nature it’s beautiful”.
It’s just like when 9/11 hit New York, everyone thought it’s not safe to travel to America but it was just a small part of America in. But everybody looks all over the world, in Nepal too, you see on the media and say it’s terrible. Like now in Paris. They are all small places. So it’s the problem with the media, that people easily panic and we cannot go to Nepal.
I don’t know how to fix that but it’s the only thing you can is to write stories and tell “Hey, you should come here and see it’s still a beautiful country and the people out there need your support and the best way you can do it is by going there”
EH: Worst part of the trip
The worst part is always those custom and paperwork. And we had some bad roads in Bhutan during the trip due to the weather. Other than that, the saddest part was we couldn’t go to Tibet which was on our original plan because the road was closed we were disappointed although it was nobody’s fault. so that was a disappointment but it was nobody’s fault.
EH: The best part
The best part was like always meeting new people and learning about the culture of the place where you travel. Moreover, to see the cremation process at Pashupatinath was so beautiful. Though loved ones of someone passed away, the way to farewell them was so unique, respectful and beautiful that we stayed there for hours watching it. We don’t get to see this in the western world and at Pashupatinath to sight the procedure to farewell the loved ones was totally a new experience.
Globe Riders finally in Nepal
Photo Credits: Globe Riders
I look forward to working with your team on future treks when I am able to return to Nepal - perhaps as September 2010 with my wife.