Anselm Nathanael Pahnke

Anselm Pahnke at his bike
  • Name: Anselm Nathanael Pahnke
  • Time on the road: 2.9 years
  • Kilometers cycled: 35.000
  • Visited Countries: 35

Anselm Nathanael Pahnke

Anselm Nathanael Pahnke is a 27-year-old geophysicist from Hamburg, Germany and has traveled the world by bike for the past 2.9 years. After 30,000 kms and 33 countries, he comes full circle in Laos. At the moment, there is no end to his journey and daily adventures in sight.

Where have you been and prior to your journey, where did you want to go?

A lot of tours were in Europe at the beginning, e.g. along the Mediterranean Sea from Portugal to Greece. In my first big solo tour, I led myself across the gigantic Rocky Mountains to Vancouver Islands in Canada.

Now I’m in vast China and 25,000 km are behind me. A rather unusual route took me here after I covered Myanmar and the Philippines in South-East Asia among others. Zigzagging through enormous and wild Africa starting in South Africa up to Israel. From there and with a couple forbidden treks into Iran by airplane and always towards the East across the roof of the world, the Pamir, then down to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to China. I travel quite spontaneously, that’s how such a route comes about.

Were there any breakdowns while you were on the road?

I was in the Egyptian prison since I tried to cross the Suez Canal with a small ferry. I got captured in the most spectacular way and I had to hand in all my digital media and written correspondence as my fine. I was tracked down by park rangers at the border to the Kongo and had to pay a lot of ransom. Africa is full of adventures but way safer than you would think at the same time. In the end, my steel frame broke, but it could be welded.

What’s your ultimate tip for traveling by bike?

Do things for yourself only, not for others. Get inspired and give yourself maximum flexibility, which allows you to live thinking to the future as little as possible. Meaning, plan less and be present. Many riders are in a country and their thoughts are already in the next. Try to experience your travels unbiased. You cannot plan an adventure. Adventure comes to you.

What is more difficult: to leave heading out into the unknown or to come back to reality?

I had my difficulties to trust the freedom. After a regulated life at home, having all new possibilities every day proved more difficult than I thought. Since I never planned to stay away that long, the decision and the goodbye weren’t hard. Coming home means a different set of challenges for me, which is manageable.