A motorbike, with a full fuel tank all the time, and a mind overflowing with optimism.
That is all it took 37-year-old Ali Said to travel 12,000 kilometres from Sweden to Kenya through 16 countries in three months on a motorbike.
Said’s love affair with motorbikes started when he was 12 at his family’s Malindi home in Kilifi County.
That was also when the travel bug bit him.
Every year, he travels to different parts of Kenya and says he is proud to have visited all the 47 counties.
This year, he decided to challenge himself and do a European tour.
“It has been a dream for me to do a Europe to Africa trip on two wheels to make other Kenyans travel with me through this amazing adventure. I like adventure, including travelling and visiting new places to explore different cultures. Also, the idea was borne out of marketing Kenya and bringing more tourists to the country,” Said tells the Daily Nation in an interview.
He flew to Sweden, bought a KTM 1290 Super Duke R 2022 bike (aka The Beast) there and started the journey. On August 15, he hit the road, hoping to be in Kenya within a month. However, due to logistics and shipping of the motorbike, it took longer.
The three-month journey was full of sleepless nights because of the adrenaline rush.
“Some days I slept in hostels and cheap guest rooms while other times I was forced to spend the night outside under the sky. In other areas, they had small towns that had bad rooms full of insects and crawling bugs,” he recalls.
Some days were good; he slept comfortably and got a parking slot for his motorbike.
“I focused on my goal, which was to get home safely. I was alone all along, of course, and I faced challenges too. In Greece, I was denied entrance because I had exceeded my stay, even though my visa had not expired,” he says.
“My passport pages were full and I was denied a visa to Sudan, I had to travel over 950km to reach Aswan in Egypt, and this is where I got my visa approval,” he says.
Said hoped to use the trip to tick many boxes, key among them passing a message on road safety and Kenya as a tourist destination.
“The aim was to educate anyone I came across about Kenya and the magical adventures attached to it,” he told the Nation.
The journey took him to 16 countries, including Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria among others.
“I can say the objective of the trip was reached. When I arrived in the country last week, October 5, I was received by more than 150 bikers around Kenya and a police escort. I hope I will instill the things I learnt in my day-to-day life,” he says.