Let us start with your introduction? Tell us about yourself?
My name is Andrew Murphy. I am from Australia. And I am cycling around the world for 5 years. So I began cycling from my hometown, “Australia”. I have been through Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Nepal. Now I am in Pakistan.
How you finance your trips?
I finanaced my trips by saving extremely hard for a few years. Luckily I am from Australia and we get paid quite well in comparison to the rest of the world. I took the decision to sell all my possessions before I left, so everything I own is on my bicycle. When hearing of my journey my former employer Kingston Estate Wines provided some sponsorship as they wanted to support me in any way possible.
How did you fell in traveling or I should say in adventurous trips like bicycling at Karakoram?
I travel by bicycle and we have a pretty close community. If there is any questions or ideas I can usually get in touch with people that can give me assistance. For the Karakoram Highway I used a combination of local advice, people who had already cycled the route and online forums
Any 3 money-saving tips for travelers?
3 tips for saving money would be
1) cook your own food. By cooking just 2 meals a day you can save a stack of money by not eating at expensive restaurants.
2) Traveling by bicycle allows me to forego spending money on transportation and I can then funnel the money I would have spent on transportation to money spent on food.
3) Never make decisions when tired, hungry or rushed. Quite often I cave into spending money on an expensive room because of the above. Take some time out and then think it through before making a decision.
Is it your first visit to Pakistan?
Ya my first time in Pakistan.
What was your perception about Pakistan before your trip?
It isn’t tourism. I never really thought I would come to Pakistan but I was in the .. doing some research on trekking and I found facebook group of Karakoram club. And ever since then I have seen some photos of Passu, Saust, Khunjraab, and I was ever since that I must come to this country so ya right here I am.
The first I heard if Pakistan was obviously cricket. I mean Australia and Pakistan are great cricket crazy countries. I remember watching cricket on TV Inzimamulhaq Shahid Afridi you name it. But then 9/11 happened and my perception changed little bit you know the media that we see in Australia shows negative things about Pakistan. So my perception was probably, I was little afraid to come here and especially as a tourist.
But after here for four months it is completely different here. So my perception of Pakistan now is one of the friendliest countries in the world.
What makes Pakistan different from countries you have visited so far?
I think firstly there are no many tourists you know I have been to Thailand, Malaysia, India. You always see tourists everywhere. Pakistan is untouched for Westerners that is one of the main things.
But secondly, it is one of the friendliest countries in the world I have ever been to especially on the bicycle as well I am putting my trust into the people into the random strangers who I don’t know they can take all my possessions and probably kidnap me whatever. But in Pakistan I had never fear or what so ever. Because I know the people are friendly they are looking for me and yes that has been a nice time.
Which cities have you visited in Pakistan? Which one you liked the most? And why?
Lahore, Pindi, Islamabad, Naran, Gilgit, Saust and now in Karachi. My favorite city is Lahore. It is a crazy city, so much to do so much to see. Nice architecture good food. It is really a happening place.
If you get a chance to visit Pakistan again, which 3 destinations you would like to explore?
I would love to go to deosai plains, Peshawer and Kalash Valley. There was just not so much time. It is beautiful and confusing as well to understand the security situation. Hopefully, things will get better and then definitely I go there.
What were some of the problems you faced in Pakistan as a foreigner?
Too many selfies! No I think only the security situation. I was in Karakoram highway in Gilgit. I was looking to get the bus back to Islamabad but the Karakoram highway was shut for 3 days for Ashura. And I didn’t even know what was happening so. I guess sometimes it is difficult. But there is always a way around it.
What will be your answer if anyone asks you, “Why Should I visit Pakistan?”
It’s one of the most amazing countries you will ever go to. It will change your perception of Islam it will change your perception of Pakistan. It will change you for sure.
I don’t think my perception was too different. I have been to many Islamic countries before but I think especially in the West we are sort of saturated with the negative impact of Islam.it is always terrorism. So coming to Pakistan, visiting Islamic countries you start to learn it is a peaceful religion the people are friendly and they just love people from home or anywhere else in the world.
I think if you are nervous about Islam or traveling to Islamic countries actually you actually go on and see a completely different side.
With this Jovago Pakistan finished their interview with Andrew.
Source: Jovago Pakistan