Meet Boas Kragtwijk, from the Netherlands. He left the low lands with high expectations: to ride from Amsterdam to Singapore. Boas is only 24-years-old, but he engineered a clever plan and carried it out!
His father is a motorcycle enthusiast; he passed on his passion to his son. Boas grew up surrounded by motorcycles and bought his first one when he was only fourteen: a 1973 Honda Dax.
“I’ve always loved motorcycles or anything with an engine. I have been riding bikes since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My first motorcycle was an original 1973 Honda Dax; I worked on it with my father.
That’s when I learned the basics of motorcycle mechanics. Later on I bought my first real motorcycle, a BMW f800GS.”
When Boas was sixteen he did his first big trip: backpacking through Thailand. The travel bug bit him and made him realise he would need to find a lifestyle that would fit his new ambition: to see the world and all its diversity.
Later on Boas added a motorcycle to his trips; his passion quickly, and irreversibly, developed into an addiction.
“I just really enjoyed the feeling of freedom and adventure. Riding makes me calm and gives me a rush at the same time. I call it “the freedom high”. From that point I started riding more and more abroad trying to raise the barwhenever I could.”
He first rode around Europe, then risked the north of India, riding a Royal Enfield through the Himalayas and eventually ended up going to Vietnam.
In 2018 he saw the first opportunity to combine his studies with his travelling passion; he took it without hesitation. He orchestrated a quite clever plan!
FROM AMSTERDAM TO SINGAPORE
As marketing and communication student Boas had to do an internship last year. Instead of applying for an existing job he managed to create his own and transform his internship into a solo riding adventure from Amsterdam to Singapore. 25.000 km that would change his life forever.
“I created the internship myself. It was a personal project. I needed permission from school, however. My job was to create creative content for different kinds of websites and magazines.
I decided to make a solo riding adventure to Singapore, and use it as “creative content”. It was an amazing project and I weekly wrote for the Manify, The Hike and Magmedia-websites”.
Boas managed to narrow down the preparation to only four months; he got plenty of help from other travellers and did some extensive research.
Apart from having to obtain the carnet – plus the international driving license and riding insurance – getting the right visas took most of his time. This is normal for people riding from Europe towards the East.
Boas was happy enough to have Motortrails help him.
“My plan originally started with this romantic idea of jumping on a bike and start to ride east. But after doing some research I found out this was not realistic.
You do need to take care of all the visas and licenses to avoid to get stuck on the way. I also needed some kind of direction in order to know when winter was kicking in on the different places.
For example, you can’t go into Russia when you leave The Netherlands in September. It will result in temperatures of – 30ºC when you arrive in east Russia. Impossible riding conditions.
And it is almost impossible to ride through China, because the permits are too expensive. Plus, there are some dangerous areas in-between: you can’t ride through Afghanistan, Iraq or parts of Pakistan.
At the end I was able to draw a line on the map from point A to B and establish a plan. A funny fact is: I didn’t look at the map once during the entire trip.”
BIG WIN FOR IRAN….AGAIN!
Twenty-two countries – and all the cultures, people and diversity of landscapes – provided to be a game changer. In Boas’ words: “It was a big eye opener!”
The media tend to cover foreign places, especially the middle East, with a veil of danger.
The truth is that we keep on hearing from many travellers that this isn’t a fair picture. For most of them felt very welcome in those countries. Boas felt exactly the same. Iran was the country that impressed him the most.
“Every place has its own charms, but there are two places I’m never going to forget: Iran and Pakistan. Starting with Iran, this place really got me in my heart.
People in Iran are just the most generous, warm and proud people I’ve ever met. Besides the people, this county has a lot to offer. The landscape is just incredible; you can go skiing in the North and lay on the beach in the South.
The desert areas are mind blowing and the cities, man! I can’t compare them with any other cities in the world. The other country that had a big impact on me was Pakistan. This was just a really special experience.
I’m not sure if I would do it again, but I’m glad I rode through! I drove with the army for 12 days, slept in prisons for safety and met a guy from the Taliban.
I talked to people on the streets that were living in a war zone. It was very special and it surprised me how positive and good-willing people were in those areas.
These 25.000 km are best described by the pictures on @boas.biking. You can perceive the “euphoric yet calm” feeling he talks about and you can definitely get very jealous!
Risk to be inspired by this young adventurer and keep track of him as he is already planning the next big trip.
“I learned a lot about the world and myself and I came back with tons of crazy stories that I’m never going to forget.
For example, driving trough abandoned Olympic villages in Bosnia, joining an illegal rave party in Iran, meeting a big leader of the Taliban in Pakistan and meeting the most inspiring beautiful people from all over the world.
I drove through the biggest mountains, forests and desert areas. I got lost a lot of times but always managed to safely get back home.
I learned that being alone isn’t the same as feeling alone. It gave me confidence, it taught me to be calm and it showed me how genuinely kind people are all over the world.”