My mission: Cycling and photographing the world to create a better understanding of our planet and its people
I am Kamran Ali, a cyclist and a photographer, born and raised in a remote city in Pakistan called Layyah. I studied and worked in Germany for many years before deciding to quit my job as a software developer in the year 2015 to travel the world by bicycle. To date, I have pedalled 30,000 km crossing 34 countries.
After riding from Germany to Pakistan, in January 2016, I set out for a 32,000 km journey from the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina to one of the northernmost cities in the world, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. This journey, which runs across the entire length of South, Central, and North America will take me two and half years. After 3 years and 3 months and some 28,000 km of cycling, I have reached Canada!
The main objective of my bicycle journey is to take the time to document and share visual stories of human compassion and resilience, in hope to create a better understanding of this world. Since the beginning of my current journey, I have published 59 photo essays, several reports, and have run numerous single-picture features, giving insight to places, cultures and the way of life of people in distant lands. I believe that increased familiarity and understanding of the world can help us overcome the fear of 'the other’, reduce discrimination, and help create a more humane world.
Check out the interactive route map of my journey!
My Journey and Its Challenges
When I quit my job, my savings were only meant to last from Germany–Pakistan, but after finishing that trip, I took a leap of faith with whatever I had left and embarked on my current adventure. My savings lasted only for the first couple of months. Despite camping most of the time, it was much more expensive than I had thought.
Secondly, staying in accommodations to sort out and edit photographs and to research and write detailed reports consumed a lot of time and resources. Approximately, one photo essay with 50-80 pictures takes me about 2-3 full days of work to publish, costing about 40-60 USD. This does not include the cost of the equipment, travel, and shooting pictures.
Thirdly, there have been many unforeseen costs in the trip, such as waiting for a month in Quito to get the U.S. Visa, and high import fees to replace gear damaged on the road. There was also an incident when my emergency cash was stolen from my hotel room.
Due to a lack of funds and unexpected setbacks, my travel has come to a dead halt on a few occasions, but I took loans and hit the road again. Later, I started receiving help from friends and followers who sent me donations. I have also sold pictures to a couple of magazines to partially support myself.
I considered seeking financial sponsorship from companies and media houses, but then decided it is best to seek help from those who are following my journey on social media. Being an independent photographer helps me share my experiences in the most genuine way possible, without any sensationalism and fact-distortion that usually comes from the mainstream media. I do have partial sponsorships on gear but no financial sponsorship from any organisation. However, this lack of corporate financial support enables me to decide my own route, travel at my own pace, cover stories which I consider important, and publish them without any external influence or editorial control, without seeking any monetary gain.
I have tried to sell my pictures and photo essays to magazines, travel websites, and publications a number of times, but managed to sell only a few.
A crowdfunding campaign has been at the back of my mind almost since the beginning of this journey, but I kept postponing it, as I am not comfortable in asking the public for funds. However, I have reached a stage where I have to ask you for your support, otherwise, I will not be able to make it any further.
Who Will Benefit?
I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of a traveller to document the travel experiences faithfully and report to the public. Therefore, the main objective of my bicycle journey is to take the time to document and share visual stories of human compassion and resilience, in hope to create a better understanding of this world. Since the beginning of my current journey, I have published 36 photo essays, several reports, and have run numerous single-picture features, giving insight to places, cultures and the way of life of people in distant lands. I believe that increased familiarity and understanding of the world can help us overcome the fear of 'the other’, reduce discrimination, and help create a more humane world.
I also believe that such information should be made available to everyone for free. That's why I publish all the content on my website as well as on my Facebook page KamranOnBike which has 84K followers.
Help Me Complete This Journey and Publish More Photo Essays!
As I mentioned, I have completed 50% of the journey and it will take another 15 months to cycle the remaining 13,000 km across Central and North America. The cost of travelling in North America, especially in the U.S. and Canada is significantly higher. The money raised through this campaign will cover my travel expenses and to create the photo essays I publish on Facebook and my website, available to everyone for free. Part of the money will also be used to upgrade my camera equipment which has taken a lot of toll during the past two years of cycling.
Following is the breakdown of funds required for 15 months of travel.
|Expenses in US&Canada (40 EUR/day for 6 months)||7,200|
|Expenses in Central America (25 EUR/day for 9 months)||6,750|
|Health Insurance (Worldwide with US & Canada)||1,000|
|Flight from Alaska||800|
|Boat from Colombia to Panama||200|
|Camera Equipment Upgrade||2,650|
|Total Amount in EURO||20,000|
I have waited until exhausting all my sources and efforts to start this crowdfunding campaign.These funds are needed urgently in order to continue my travel in North America.
If I reach my goal, I will be able to finish the rest of the journey through the North America by June 2018.
Update: I was forced to take a 6-month winter break in Canada due to the harsh weather. Now, I plan to reach my destination in July 2019.
Other ways to donate
Apart from donating here, there are other ways to send a donation. For more details visit my website.
Please know that no donation is small. I appreciate your support and kind sentiments!
Other Ways to Help
Apart from donating money, there are several other ways you can help me reach my goal:
- Spread the word by sharing the donation link on your Facebook timeline and asking your friends to do the same.
- Introduce my work to websites, publications and magazines that may be interested in publishing and purchasing my photographs/photoessays.
- Find me a free/cheap accommodation along the route.
- Refer me to companies for sponsored gear.
- Send recommendations for route and places.
- Suggest stories to cover and people to photograph.
- Follow my Facebook page and share it with your friends.
- Cook spicy Pakistani/Indian food for me. (last, but not least!)
Thank you all for your support. Your generosity will not only help me to complete this journey, but it will also inspire others to believe that dreams must never be surrendered. As Paulo Coelho writes in The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.
Can you help me achieve this dream?