leisure

Expat to embark on Dubai-to-Moscow road trip

Munir Bhatti will tackle remote highways this summer on Dubai to Moscow

Mariam Jheran, Special to Gulf News
14:28 April 5, 2018
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Dubai: A former Dubai resident will embark this summer on a three-month road trip from Dubai to Moscow adding a few more visa stamps in his travel-worn passport.

NAT_180405 Munir BhattiNow retired and living in Vancouver, Canada, Munir Bhatti, 63, has already encircled the globe many times travelling to more than 50 countries and 200 cities in only six years.

Bhatti, who was born in Pakistan, has been cross-country driving since 2012 and has already driven through all of the USA, Canada and parts of Europe and Asia. His thirst for travel was first inspired by a Canadian highway drive through the Rocky mountains.

“Canada really influenced me, everyone there drives and takes road trips,” he says, noting that he rambled along remote highways for 64 days from Vancouver to Alaska with wife Shamsa Kausar in their small Suzuki Jimny.

Since then, he has travelled more than 85,000 kilometres by road and has driven through deserts, jungles, forests and much more.

As he finalises the plans for his next adventure, Bhatti says his time spent as an experienced and seasoned road traveller will serve him well.

“I decided to never be afraid,” he says of travelling alone in sometimes obscure conditions. “You have to prepare yourself mentally, it’s very different than travelling by aeroplane,” he adds. “I consider every day as the last day for me, so I want to enjoy it.”

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Taking risks is worth the rewards.

“The best part about all of these trips is getting to know different people, cultures, religions and better understand the world,” says Bhatti.

Bhatti also visited Nasa headquarters in Washington, D.C., and recalls that it was a “life-changing experience”. He says seeing all the high technology influenced him to really take advantage of his resources and tools and “use them to see the world”.

Bhatti plans his trips well in advance and takes a break of about six months to a year between each trip.

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He is also now in the process of mapping out his final trip in 2020, when he plans to visit Africa and South America.

When he stops travelling, Bhatti focuses his time on the Karim Foundation based in Canada that he built with his family. The foundation gives back to the community and provides food, care and essentials to homeless Canadians.

Bhatti tries to encourage and inspire as many people as he can to get out and see the world, citing travelling as the best way to learn.

“What you learn from tourism, you can’t learn from education. Tourism is the best teacher,” Bhatti says. “We are one people, one family, we have to love and take care of each other.”