Ride across europe and asia, on yamaha Tenere

Back to the roots: Epic journey from Holland to India

There are some who ride and travel the world on a motorcycle because they can. There are some who do it because they need to. Other people do it to take a break from the life that they do not want to live anymore. Why do they ride? Every one has a reason. And this man’s reason is something that is unique in the world of adventure motorcycle travellers today.

Sander Parmentier, a dear friend, fellow traveller and biker brother from Netherlands rode halfway across the world to India; partly because of his roots in this part of the world, but mostly because he was really  wanted to experience different cultures and people. “I did this trip, partly because of my roots from India and Pakistan, but mostly because, I was in different countries, and new cultures fascinate and intrigue me. In this case, riding a motorcycle through a mix of cultures in Iran, Pakistan and India was an experience. Their traffic…. If you drive your motorcycle through Indian traffic, you are really alive!

“Dream it, wish it, do it”

dream it, wish it do it

Starting from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Sander rode his Yamaha Super Ténéré XT1200 through the countries of Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, before entering the Eurasian countries of Turkey and Iran, and further into Pakistan, and finally ending his adventure in India. Within India, he covered an incredible 2,000km, visiting various places in the northern and southern India, and Nepal, before making the return journey to the Netherlands.

Sander’s roots are varied. Part Indian, part British, and part Dutch. He wanted to experience different cultures around, and how people live in different parts of the world. And he did that in the best way possible: making a round trip of nearly 32,000km across Europe and Asia on a motorcycle. “It is really satisfying travelling slow. You can get used to different situations, the food, for example. You shouldn’t change from Dutch food to Indian food in two days, that would be catastrophic!” he laughs as he says that.

Map

The roads were quite dangerous in those days (2012), with conflicts in the middle east, and violence in the Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan borders. Camping in those regions was a strict no-no, but Sander did it anyway. Dead and decaying camels, friendly locals, and soaring temperatures were all part of his epic ride. Many parts of Pakistan were violence prone and travellers had to be escorted by the police or the military.

Together with Cappadocia Lake Van in Kurdistan are my favourite places in Turkey to drive through.

lake cappadocia in Kurdistan

Me and my Blue Camel… Riding down the highway in Iran.

rider on Yamaha Tenere Iran

Even the hardiest of beasts have to fight to survive in the soaring temperatures in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

yamaha tenere dead camel

Did I already mention how rewarding it can be to camp in the wild? Camping near the Afghan-Pakistan-Iran border came with its own risks and excitement. Mostly risks.

camping in the night sky baluchistan yamaha tenere stars

East or west, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, we are all human beings. And inside, we are all the same.

man in baluchistan, pakistan

man in Karachi, Pakistan

young boys in karachi, Pakistan

boy with traditional muslim hat

I felt very fortunate to be able to visit a girls school in a small village in Darbelo, Sindt province. During the floods in 2010 this area was completely under water. Luckily life was back to normal. At first it seemed impossible for me to capture the children on photo. Foreigner, man and making photo’s in an Islamic country. 3 time strike out. But with some patience the ice broke and their smiling faces appeared.

If the pictures didn’t impress and motivate you already, Sander also has a video of his adventure. From riding across various places of Eurasia, to crossing narrow, hanging bridges across raging rivers in Nepal, to roads that are not meant to be ridden upon, fire dancing, and one of India’s most popular landmarks: The Taj Mahal, the video has a bit of everything.  Check it out below, and don’t forget to share.

Life, as we know it, is short, but it is long enough if lived meaningfully. Sometimes, it is not the road, it the ride. It is not where you go, but it is how you get there. And for some, motorcycling is the means to live.

motorcycling in Pakistan, little girls having fun

Disclaimer: All photos/video in this article are properties of Sander Parmentier and are reproduced with permission. The pictures cannot be reproduced/downloaded/shared without explicit permission from the owner/linking back to the original post. For more information, contact Sander directly.

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