Synergyzer: As a Travel Vlogger your recent 50-day motorcycle journey to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage is truly remarkable. Can you share the personal motivations that led you to embark on such an extensive journey?
Abrar Hassan: After my Germany to Pakistan journey, I kind of got stuck in Pakistan due to border closures during the covid time and initially wanted to cross into India but unfortunately, I couldn’t the middle east has always fascinated me but due to strict visa policy of Saudia Arabia till 2018-19 it wasn’t possible to visit as a tourist. After Saudi Arabia opened up, I decided to embark on a journey that is the dream of many from Pakistan and India – to perform Umrah and explore the country. It was a way of fulfilling my dream and living the dreams of many who are following my journey on YouTube.
Synergyzer: Sponsorship plays a significant role in supporting travel vloggers. Could you discuss some of the struggles you’ve faced when seeking sponsorship for your trips and how you have overcome them?
Abrar Hassan: Unfortunately, the Pakistani market is very small, and it is very hard for all newcomers to survive there. To this day, I haven’t secured enough sponsors to support my travels. PR agencies often prefer to allocate campaigns to individuals with whom they have previously collaborated and are not open to supporting other content creators. I discovered this in the initial days of my journey and decided not to rely on any sponsors. Instead, I focused on monetizing my content on YouTube effectively, such as by adding subtitles to reach a wider audience in foreign countries. My primary source of income is from YouTube, and without it, I wouldn’t be able to travel.
Synergyzer: Traveling across continents and countries as a travel vlogger exposes you to various cultures and cuisines. What are some of your favorite regional dishes or food experiences from your journeys?
Abrar Hassan: I’ve been very fortunate to live my life the way I always wanted and explore different cultures, cuisines, histories, etc. I’ve loved my travels through India, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman, etc. I love the food in India, and the biggest surprise was the difference in local food from Kerala to Punjab. Every state has its own food, which is completely different from neighboring states. My favourite foods in India were Dosa, Chicken Parotta wrapped in a banana leaf, Fish Thali in Goa, Misal Pav & Vada Pav in Maharashtra, Vegetable Thali in Gujarat, Rajasthani Thali, Cholay Batooray in Delhi, and Amritsari Kulcha. During my time in the Middle East, I absolutely loved Lebanese and Palestinian foods.
Synergyzer: Managing expenses during your extensive travels is often a challenge. Could you provide some insights into how you budget for your journeys and any cost-saving tips you’ve learned along the way as a travel vlogger?
Abrar Hassan: Managing expenses is very important to me, and I prefer to travel without luxury and spend money on experiences. I avoid staying in luxury hotels, and eating expensive foods and instead carry my own tent for camping. Since I’m making videos, I stay more frequently in hotels so I can charge my equipment, edit my videos, and have good internet to upload my videos. This has increased my travel costs significantly, as I often have to stay all day in a hotel to edit videos on the go. My personal tips would be to carry your own camping equipment, be flexible with your itinerary, and try to meet locals as much as possible. This can help in finding cheap accommodation, and sometimes, locals may even invite you to stay with them.
Synergyzer: How did you decide to leave your stable job to pursue vlogging and travel on a bike? What was your family’s reaction? What advice do you have for those considering similar career transitions to follow their passions?
Abrar Hassan: I have always loved traveling, and from the day I started making videos, I aspired to turn it into a full-time job. I worked very hard, and after four years, I was able to quit my job. My family has always been very supportive, and without their support, I couldn’t have done it. The advice is simple: do what you love and give it your 100%. My passion is traveling, and my job is making videos. I strive to come up with good content all the time. I create my videos for my viewers, not for myself, so I plan accordingly. Their likes and dislikes matter a lot, so it is important to analyze them from time to time.
Synergyzer: During your friendship tour of India, you covered 7,000 kilometers in 30 days, fostering connections despite historical tensions between India and Pakistan. Can you share some heartwarming interactions or experiences from that journey?
Abrar Hassan: That was an incredible journey, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Perhaps one day, I will sit and share more insights. I recall meeting a Sindhi Hindu family in Kolhapur along the highway. They brought homemade Biryani for me to taste, showcasing their hospitality. Similarly, I stayed with a Sikh family in Punjab, and in Jaipur, I enjoyed a home-cooked breakfast at the residence of another Sikh family. The meet-ups in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Punjab were amazing, providing opportunities to connect with many friendly locals.
Synergyzer: You’ve had the opportunity to explore over 80 countries. Are there specific destinations that hold a special place in your heart, and what made those places stand out for you?
Abrar Hassan: I love exploring every country, and hopefully, I will be able to fulfill my dream. There are still regions I have yet to explore, such as Central Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia. One day, I aspire to ride from Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina. South America is amazing and incredibly diverse; I visited a few years ago but wasn’t creating any videos at the time. Every place I’ve visited holds special value, and the destinations I have yet to explore are already on my to-do list. It’s challenging to pinpoint a specific place that holds more in my heart. Perhaps a second tour in India, with much more to explore in Kashmir, Leh, Ladakh, etc.
Synergyzer: Many of your journeys involve motorcycle travel. Can you share some of the challenges you’ve faced on the road, from border crossings to bike-related issues, and how you’ve navigated these challenges?
Abrar Hassan: Motorcycle journeys are demanding and challenging. It is crucial to plan a bit before setting off for a specific destination, remain flexible, and having some local contacts along the way can often be very helpful. I’ve been fortunate that the majority of my travels have gone smoothly. I recall an incident in Iran where I had an accident, and the locals were very helpful
Synergyzer: Traveling on a low budget has been part of your journey. Can you share some practical tips for budget-conscious travelers looking to embark on similar adventures?
Abrar Hassan: Staying with locals, choosing hostels, camping, and dining in places frequented by locals can help reduce costs. It is also important to visit countries that are less expensive and offer good value for money.
Synergyzer: What’s next on your travel itinerary? Are there any specific destinations or adventures you’re excited to explore in the near future?
Abrar Hassan: My next destination is most likely Africa, and following that, I’m considering a motorcycle journey from Pakistan to Central Asia and then on to Southeast Asia, and so forth.