Asil Özbay is no stranger to Africa where she took a 60-day trip to Morocco but for the first time, she is embarking on a journey of the continent on her own. The academic, who teaches at Istanbul's Gedik University Faculty of Sports Sciences, wants to set an example for fellow women for solo world tours.
She already traveled thousands of kilometers in dozens of countries across Europe and Asia for a dream of touring the world by motorcycle and in Africa, she aims to shoot a documentary of her solo journey.
She is set to start her Africa journey later on Tuesday with a flight to Kenya as she could not use the highway due to security and pandemic reasons. As she did in her previous trips, she plans to shoot documentaries reflecting on tribes, village life and the daily life of the African continent.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) about her 19 years of passion for motorcycles, Özbay said motorcycle journeys are filled with challenges and charm. "I especially prefer to visit less-traveled geographies,” she said, adding she enjoys producing objective digital content and sharing them with communities. Özbay, who hits the road with the goal of bridging different cultures, said that this year's Africa trip has different aims than the previous ones. "This time, it is both a trip and a discovery journey, and I will also be open to scientific collaborations,” she said, adding that together with her university, they plan to offer scholarships to promising students who would like to study in Turkey.
She is also trying to create a profile of a Turkish woman who travels alone across continents by land for the world media. Pointing out the social aspect of her solo trips, Özbay said she receives hundreds of inspiring messages. She tries to prove to people that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with passion. She said that she would produce both daily and feature digital content in Africa and that she wanted to convey the wonders of the continent as much as possible. She pointed out that motorcycles are generally associated with men, and added: "People are surprised when they see me on that huge motorcycle. This makes me happy and motivated.”
Özbay said she is planning to document the tribes that still exist in Africa and she is so excited about it. Traveling alone with a motorcycle, she said, improves one's sense of responsibility and it improves one's ability to produce solutions in moments of crisis.
Prior to her trip, Özbay prepared for the hot weather that she will face on the continent and took a tent with her that will serve as a home. "I will set up my tent and stay in places that I find safe, but I prefer hotels and hostels that have parking lots and will ensure the safety of my motorcycle,” she said. "In terms of security, I first research the country I will go to, I try to establish connections before I go. But I always have pepper spray with me. I've never used it, and I hope I will never have to.”
She will start her African adventure, which will cover approximately 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) in six months, from Kenya and will continue in sub-Saharan countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia.
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