Zenith Irfan: 1 Girl 2 Wheels
Zenith Irfan is a young girl of twenty years of age, residing at Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently enrolled at Lahore School of Economics, majoring in Finance and Marketing. She recently took a passion totally diverse from her course of studies, of travelling around the country on her motorcycle thus setting up a totally different picture of Pakistan and for Pakistan. We recently interviewed her asking her questions on different aspects of the journeys that she has taken or plans to take in future to provide a vantage point to all those who plan to take up travelling expeditions in their near future.
When and how this journey of travelling started, what is your inspiration behind this?
My father was and is my inspiration behind this journey of travelling. He wanted to travel around the world on a motorcycle but before he could start unravelling his dream he passed away at the age of thirty-four. When I discovered this fact about him later on, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, why can’t I go instead and travel all around the world for him’. And, so here I am.
Your idea of travelling on two wheels, which also constituent your Facebook page, is a unique one. How you came up with such an idea and what were few of the fears you had in mind while you were thinking of taking it up?
Well, initially the main inspiration was my father’s unrealized dream to adopt a motorcycle as a travel buddy. I came up with the Facebook page later on, which has now become my identity.
I had no such fears, because I realize the fact that if I am fearful something negative is bound to happen. Therefore, whenever I am about to embark on a long distance journey, I cleanse myself from whatever negative energies I possess within me and close my eyes, say a small prayer and pump the accelerator.
Tell us about the places that you have travelled so far, and which one of them, in your view is a must follow for travellers? Also tell us about your good and worst experiences so far?
I have completed around 3000 kilometres on a motorcycle. Some of the places I have travelled to are: Islamabad, Naran and Kaghan Valleys, Shigar Valley, Deosai Plains, Skardu, Gilgit, Hunza Valley, Sust and Khunjerab Pass. The most beautiful among these places were Shigar and Misgar Valleys, I can spend days over there and get lost in their oneiric scenic beauty and not even keep a track of time.
No worst experiences at all. every kilometer was breathtaking.
Have you visited both North and South in Pakistan, do you think travelling in Pakistan is mostly restricted to Northern areas? If yes, what are the reasons behind it?
I have not travelled the South of Pakistan yet. I think it is more about personal preferences. People of Pakistan mostly like visiting the Northern side because of the hot and humid weather that we face for major part of the year but I believe that the Southern side has its own grace. I am planning to travelling all around Pakistan, soon.
Do you plan to visit other countries in future? If yes, would the travel be on two wheels?
Of course! My plan is to ride all over the world on two wheels. I mean what’s the fun of flying to that place when you can ride there.
You are becoming quite popular among social and broadcast media, and I am sure you will be inspiring many. How do you plan to manage this popularity for a better use, for yourself and for your country?
I feel like the tension and the hatred that is very prevalent about the border across is welling up quite a lot over the recent months, I personally believe that no country or place is as a whole bad in itself, and I would like to eliminate this kind of hatred and negative perception. I also plan to take up charity work while I am on the road.
Read Interviews of Pakistani Instagrammers: Instagram Pakistan Series
You are a trend setter in a society where we have very less number of people taking up such ventures, what advice would you like to give to those who are thinking of taking up such expeditions in the future?
Trust yourself. If you believe in what you are about to embark on, just don’t be careless about it. Give your one hundred percent, listen to your intuition and most importantly, go with the flow of things.
Do you plan to take up travelling as career, and do you think travelling has a career in Pakistan in near future?
I don’t see travelling as a money-making venture. I travel because I want to see world in a different manner and I want to experience how does it feel to be outside your comfort zones, I take it as a challenge. However, I do encourage other travellers to pursue their hobbies in future and to take it to a next level.
Do you think gender places any barrier in travelling in general and travelling in Pakistan in particular?
No, never. Gender is just a prescribed limit of your identity as a human being. it should not interfere with what you want to do. If you want to dance, it shouldn’t be like if I am a guy I’ll look stupid while dancing. It should instead be framed as I want to dance and so I shall dance. In the nutshell, do what your heart tells you to do and go wherever it leads you to.
Do you prefer travelling alone or in groups? And are there any groups/ adventure clubs in Pakistan that other adventurers can join?
I prefer to travel alone, or in small groups consisting of two or three people. I don’t fancy the idea of travelling in large groups since you have to be depending on every member of the group for the riding plans while travelling. Riding alone gives you the room to explore and discover places and cultures at your personal pace and absorb every little detail as you along.
Has travelling helped you rejuvenate your energy for daily life chores?
Okay, so I must admit I am the most active person when I am out there on the road and the most lazy person when I am home. So, to be honest, I don’t know if it has really helped me in becoming an active person in my daily routine.
How do you manage travelling and daily life working routine?
I usually head out on the road when I have vacations, so I keep in mind my vacation dates to plan my route in accordance. it’s easy to manage when you have two months of vacations from your university.
What is your favourite time of year to travel?
When it’s almost Autumn, and the summer sun is about to descend, that’s from July to September.
What are the essentials that you think one needs to keep in a backpack while taking on a journey?
A pair of warm socks, sanitizer, mosquito repellent, energy bars and lots of coffee candies to keep you going.
Has your family been supportive?
Yes, I live with my widowed mother. In fact, she is the one who told me about my father’s dream at first place and provided me with the boost to start off with riding. She is an awesome Ma!
How do you feel now that you have achieved this in life, what are your future plans?
More and more of riding, probably across Nepal, India and all of America.
Any piece of advice for travellers in general and girls travellers in particular?
Don’t let the fact that you are a woman, obstruct you from achieving your dreams.
Like Zenith’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zenithirfan.zi
Follow Zenith on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zenu_zenith/
Interviewed by Bina Awan