T: A short bio about yourself? 3-4 lines that best describe you, what you do for a living and so…
Z: My name is Zahariz. I’m 36 years old and originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m a traveller. I live my life as a nomad and the road is my home. I’m also a filmmaker and photographer. I film my travel stories into a series of travelogue for a living. So far I’ve been travelling for 6 years since 2010 in various mode of transportation including horses and forest ski but mostly on a bicycle.
T: What would you want to be known for besides travelling? (something that no one knows about you)
Z: I love photography and videography! When I was younger, I love to draw and paint. In fact, before I went travelling, I was freelancing and teaching motion graphics, visual effects and 3D animation. I’m interested in architecture and industrial design. I basically love and appreciate beautiful things.
T: What inspires you to travel?
Z: I wanted to show and share the beauty of God’s creation with my friends on social media, to be honest. Life is so beautiful, but sadly we always take it for granted. Everything around us is beautiful and if you can’t find anything amusing anymore, it’s a sign that you should probably take a minute and look at life from a slightly different perspective. I started my blog in 2010 to share my stories in the form of writing and images. Then, I expand it to my personal Facebook and Instagram to reach more viewers.
I’m so happy that I finally got the chance to flourish it into film, where I get to share my experience and emotion deeper with the combination of videos, narration and music. So far my travelogue has been playing repeatedly in Malaysia and Singapore TV Channel. I got really positive feedback from the viewers and am so happy that people really appreciate my work.
T: Besides photography, What excites you more while travelling? Meeting new people? Experiencing a new culture?
Z: All these can be simplified into just one word; experience. I just want to collect as much experience as I can. Experience is the best teacher, the road is the best school. We can read as many books as we can but nothing beats experience. Reading a thick book that describes the taste of coffee is never the same as drinking the coffee itself. There are many things in this world that cannot be represented by words. We need to experience everything to be able to understand them. And we’ll learn so many things and have a better understanding of the concept of “tawakkal”, which means we accept everything that comes in life, the good and the bad.
T: Your favourite local destination and why?
Z: All the places I’ve been is incomparable since they have their own unique characteristics and beauty. Personally, I love mountains and extremely cold places like the Arctic. I love loneliness, darkness and quietness, it gives me peace of mind.
T: Your best travel incident/story that might inspire young Muslims to travel.
Z: I had so many near-death experiences. I fell inside a frozen river in the wild of Swedish Lapland, almost hit by trucks while cycling inside a dark tunnel in Norway. I almost died of thirst while crossing the Taklamakan Desert (I crossed the 600 km dessert with my bicycle ). I almost attacked by a pack of wolves in the Tien Shan mountains while I was crossing Kyrgyzstan with my horse.
However, these were balanced with good moments too, there are so many kind-hearted people in this world. Strangers gave me money and food without even asking my name, some hotels even let me spent the night for free, a cashier once paid for my groceries in a supermarket in Norway and many more.
Let it be Muslims or not, do spend some time in life to travel and see the world whenever you’re capable to do so. When we travel, we get to see and discover more of God’s creation, and it’ll help us to get closer to Him and understand our religion more.