Samer Abouhamad found two passions throughout his go to to his mother and father’ homeland in 2020: how “very proud” he’s to be Lebanese and the way exhilarating bikepacking is in Lebanon.
He returned to Boston with the concept rising in him to bike his method in a unprecedented journey from his hometown all the best way to Patagonia in South America, which he has been presently enterprise for a bit of greater than 4 months now.
It’s on his bikepacking method now that 961 caught a second with him. That is his story.
Samer Abouhamad is the son of Lebanese emigrants, Rania Matar and Jean Abouhamad, each graduates of the American College of Beirut (AUB) and who had fled Lebanon through the civil warfare in 1984 to settle in the USA.
His mom is none apart from the multi-awarded Lebanese-American photographer, Rania Matar, who has reached a excessive stage of fame.
Samer graduated in Enterprise Administration from Wake Forest College, which led him to land “good jobs,” specifically in finance and actual property.
The 28-year-old preferred dwelling in New York Metropolis till the Covid-19 pandemic began and adjusted the whole lot, leaving him looking for new adventures.
Having had the possibility to go to Lebanon throughout his childhood, he returned once more to his nation of origin together with his mom a few months after the Beirut port explosion of August 4, 2020.
They visited the explosion website, the place they noticed the rubbles of the blast, and in addition among the destruction in Beirut harking back to the civil warfare.
Samer had seen the photographs of the Beirut Blast from Boston, and wished he may do one thing to assist Lebanon and its folks.
Therefore, reaching Lebanon after the blast, he joined the Lebanese NGO Offre Joie as a volunteer. It was “a life-changing expertise,” he stated. “I confirmed up in October 2020 not figuring out anybody nor anticipating something.”
He volunteered with Offre Joie serving to restore and restore properties destroyed by the blast, and obtained to fulfill folks from world wide and locals. He additionally obtained the chance to (lastly) be taught the Lebanese language.
Throughout that go to, he determined to discover the fantastic thing about Lebanon. He took his bike and set off on many adventures to discover the nation and reconnect together with his roots.
It was throughout these biking adventures that he obtained the concept to cycle from his residence in Boston all the best way to Patagonia in South America, and he went for it, taking the roads on his bike to his far vacation spot in April 2022.
To date, he has taken two breaks: a 3-week interlude in California and a 10-day layover in Mexico Metropolis.
When requested about what impressed him to go on such a journey from the U.S. to Patagonia, Samer informed 961 that it was resulting from how a lot he loved discovering Lebanon from his saddle.
“I appreciated the tempo at which one can journey with my bike- quick sufficient to cowl giant distances however sluggish sufficient to absorb all of your environment to the max,” he stated.
He additionally shared that he had the possibility to hire a motorbike and journey throughout France by bike final summer time.
“This was a tremendous expertise for me and I started studying the tales of former bike adventurers who traveled the world (Al Humphrey’s 2 books in particular- he handed by Lebanon in 2002!),” he stated.
“There’s additionally a German Heinz Stucke who traveled the world on his bike for 50 years after leaving from his residence in 1962,” he informed us. “So these guys (amongst many others!) confirmed me the infinite potentialities of motorcycle journey, all in an period earlier than cellphones, the web, and GPS!”
Samer stated that he had initially wished to go from Paris to Beijing, “nevertheless it was a bit extra difficult logistically so I made a decision why not go away from my residence and head as far south as attainable!”
When requested about his relationship with Lebanon, Samer voiced that he grew up having fun with visiting his grandparents and prolonged household yearly for just a few weeks.
Nonetheless, as he shared with us, he “by no means felt absolutely Lebanese” as a result of language barrier.
“I wasn’t in a position to communicate Arabic and felt like an outsider wanting in at instances. After I moved to Lebanon after the blast, I really feel as if I used to be in a position to reclaim this a part of my identification,” he stated.
“Whether or not it was working to assist rebuild after the blast, hand in hand with different Lebanese, or biking by my grandfather’s hometown of Rashaya (and even getting detained on the police station there for a bit),” he informed us that this allowed him to attach with Lebanon.
“I’d say I’m tremendous proud to be Lebanese,” Samer acknowledged.
Nonetheless, the passionate explorer-by-bike remains to be attempting to determine his future journey after he reaches his vacation spot, as he informed us.
“A part of me desires to proceed and bike all the world. However a part of me can be wanting ahead to returning residence to the Boston space and constructing my life there,” he defined.
“No matter what I find yourself doing, biking, touring, and outside will stay an enormous a part of my life going ahead.”
Samer has a dream for Lebanon, a long-term purpose he has set for himself, as he shared with 961: “To prepare and convey an ultra-distance bike problem to Lebanon, which might carry cyclists from world wide to compete on a circuit that might spotlight among the nation’s most lovely locations.”
Till then, the “proudly Lebanese” Samer Abouhamad is on his strategy to Costa Rica and goals to succeed in Patagonia round April 2023, earlier than it begins getting chilly there.
If you wish to be taught the spoken Arabic language, then head to the Lebanese Arabic Accelerator to be taught extra! Lebanese Arabic Accelerator