Conquering the fear

Solo round-the-world trip on a motorcycle
19 May 2017
Russian biker Oleg Kharitonov has been riding his motorcycle around the world for more than two and a half years. Last week he completed the African stage of his journey and, not to lose time, flew to South America. Since the beginning of the trip, he has covered 110 thousand km and visited 61 countries. Welcome2018 tells the story of this incredible undertaking.
In Thailand. © Photo from personal archive
It all started with a tandem bicycle. Together with his eleven-year-old son Misha, Oleg covered half of Europe - three thousand kilometers from Berlin to Prague through Paris and the Alps. The adventure became a life school - lack of experience of long cycle trips made Kharitonov learn a lot on the road. Later Oleg said that the reason for the first time to go on such a long trip was a misunderstanding in the relationship with his son - it was overcoming common problems that helped their relationship to reach a new level of trust and intimacy.
Oleg Kharitonov travel map. © From personal archive
When Kharitonov returned home, he did not stop there. Over time, the plan for a new multi-day trip was crystallized: 800 days, 155 thousand kilometers, 65 countries and five continents. This time he ventured out alone. In this journey Oleg decided to give up the bicycle - the schedule and the scale of the trip required a more powerful mode of transport. As a result, Kharitonov's choice fell on a motorcycle - high speed combined with low fuel consumption and relative ease of transportation between the continents. The inspiring examples were bikers who had already achieved great results: the American Alex Chacon, who traveled 132,705 km in 503 days, the Englishman Walter Kolbatch and the Estonian couple Margus and Karina, who circumnavigated in 2009.
In Myanmar. © Photo from personal archive
Despite the ambitious plans, Kharitonov never considered himself a motorcyclist and was not a member of any motorcycle clubs. As a rule, great motor-travelers started with trips around their native land, sooner or later they felt they were ready for greater things and went to conquer the world. In Kharitonov's story, the very idea of international travel was primary. The motorcycle, although it was his hobby since childhood, appeared in the story only because it is one of the best means of transport for a long-term journey.
The beginning of the trip, Russia. © Photo from personal archive
Oleg describes himself: an ordinary man, who does not stand out among other ordinary people who lead ordinary life. But he has a mission that he intends to accomplish at all costs - to prove by his own example that everyone can rise above themselves, step over their own fear and set off on a journey of lifetime if they really want to .
Kharitonov left Moscow on August 20, 2014, crossed Russia to the east, made a circle around Southeast Asia, the Middle and Near East, traveled all over Europe and descended the west coast of Africa from Morocco to South Africa. So far, the most difficult journey was the African stage. In the Republic of the Congo, Oleg got malaria, in Nigeria, he was attacked, in Namibia muggers attempted to rob him, and in Burkina Faso he had to run away from elephants.
In Laos. © Photo from personal archive
Сurrently Kharitonov is in Argentina and he's moving towards the southernmost city of Ushuaia. "There ends the mainland, and there will be a very important, crucial moment of my journey: from Ushuaia I will go home," Kharitonov said. According to him, he does not have a clearly defined travel plan for the day, and he does not know exactly how his route will run. "I have a sort of a rule: I never study in detail what's ahead, so the first thing that awaits me is the unknown, and this is the most interesting thing."
In Italy. © Photo from personal archive
After Argentina, the traveler will go to Alaska, and then travel all over Russia to Moscow. Kharitonov plans to return to the Russian capital in August 2018. Now Kharitonov has 110 thousand kilometers under his belt.


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