Guliafshan Tariq: An Adventurer, Motorbiker, Thriller & A Traveler
Adventure, thrill, traveling and passion!!! These are all the words which come to my mind immediately when I met and talked to Guliafshan Tariq. A computer engineer by profession, a cyclist, a paraglider pilot, a certified parasailing pilot, and a traveler by passion! What an inspiring personality and diverse hobbies she has! I can’t wait to share my talk with her. So, without any delay, let’s read our conversation with Guliafshan.
1. Tell our readers about yourself.
I belong to an army family. My father was a Major in the army. He was fond of traveling and he went to Saudia Arabia taking her mom for Hajj via road. So, all the passion I have for traveling is basically inherited from him. I love motorbiking. My intention is to travel around the globe. I already did my first international bike ride that which was motorbike rally in whole Bahrain.
2. Tell us about your passion for traveling.
I traveled North of Pakistan till Khunjerab, Pakistan on my cycle in 2015. I covered areas including Gilgit, Hunza, and Karimabad. On my motorbike, I have traveled throughout KPK in just 20 days. It was my national record attempt where I covered D.I.Khan, Karak, Bannu, Peshawar, Shandur, Chitral, Naran, Kaghan and other KPK areas. This attempt was also registered in Pakistan Book of Records. My upcoming plan is Punjab Ride in 10 days InshaaAllah planned in August. For now, my focus is to travel in Pakistan. I will also cover Sindh and Balochistan. And my intention is to travel my dear country via bike by the end of this year or the start of 2019.
3. Does your family support you regarding traveling?
In the start, my family was not very supportive. Because my father is not with us, and my mother had some serious concerns over my such bold traveling attempts. She was not in favor of my traveling. But when she saw that traveling is something which gives me immense pleasure, and I can’t live without it, then she started to change her attitude. On the other hand, my brothers have always been very supportive from the first day.
4. Did you do all traveling via your motorbike?
Now, I mostly travel via my bike. But, my first long trip was on cycle with my other fellow in 2015 till Khunjerab, Pakistan. But normally, in my daily life, I use my bike. I have YBR of Yamaha which I have customized accordingly and that is my traveling mode. Whether to attend office meetings or grocery shopping, the bike is always with me.
5. Who accompanies you on your journeys?
Initially, there was no one when I started biking in Lahore. I biked in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and areas like Taxila alone. But in my 2015 record, Haider Ali who is a filmmaker accompanied me who made a documentary of my whole trip which got a chance to release on many platforms. Now a whole documentary production accompanies me. The purpose is to portray internationally the beauty of Pakistan. I wanted to let people know that how enriched and different Pakistan actually is than what media portrays. It is one of my aims to present the softer peace image through my traveling documentaries across the globe.
6. Did someone forbid you?
Yes, a lot of people. Especially when I shared my KPK trip plan, many people came forward to argue that it is not a safe place for girls. Don’t go there alone especially they told me not to go to D.I.Khan. But, eventually, I DID IT. And when I went, I realized that it is not at all like that, people portrayed to me. They are really safe and beautiful places. So, I would say, ignore what media depicts, and try to explore on your own to get the real facts.
7. What actually attracted you to do motorbiking?
As I told you earlier, I was a cyclist before. When I traveled to historical places to Lahore with my friend Faheem, I asked him to teach me a motorbike. Because it is a faster means of transport and I can cover places quickly with it. I told him that I know how to balance, and I think I can learn how to ride a bike too. He took the challenge and I grabbed an opportunity. And that’s how I learned to ride a bike in 2015.
8. From where did you learn to ride a bike?
My friend taught me who is also a guide of mine. He was with me during my Lahore trip to cover all historical places including all famous gates of Lahore, Bhatti gate, Lohari gate etc. He used to take me to different sights, and from there, I used to bike alone. I learned to ride in Lahore.
9. Can you also handle technical problems on the bike?
Now, I can handle my bike technically as well. Because there are many areas especially in northern side, where you don’t find mechanics for such bikes. So, I learned to change tires, punctures, fuses and all major aspects of my ride.
10. What do you think, is biking more dangerous or driving a car?
Definitely biking. Because it needs balance and more concentration. It is really tough to ride a bike on mountains because it happens most often that a bike slips on muddy roads. Even on carpeted roads like of Islamabad, I feel that biking is a tougher option than driving a car.
11. Share any of your most memorable experience regarding biking and traveling.
The most memorable experience is when I was riding from first to the last city from Shandur top. I was coming down and saw few young girls in uniform which was really shocking to me. I stopped my ride and asked what they were doing here. And they replied that we are coming from school. Their answer really gave me goosebumps that in such places where there are not many facilities available, and there is no proper infrastructure, where you don’t see people for miles, and no proper roads, there are some courageous girls who go to school and taking their education. Being a lady, it was really a very proud moment for me. And I really felt that things are changing now. That sight showed me a very positive aspect of Pakistan.
12. Your favorite destination.
I love Kalam. Its color of river and trees are really a treat to watch and you fall in love with it. It is really a mesmerizing and calm place.
13. The best thing about motorbiking?
It is a quicker mode than cycle obviously and you can feel the nature while riding. I love this aspect.
14. Anything you don’t like about biking.
No, I just love motorbiking (accompanying a loud laugh). I relate myself to each and everything of my bike, like its gears, helmets, tires, the bike itself, I like everything about it.
15. How do you manage the negative comments and awkward looks when people point out and say, ‘O look, a girl is biking’?
People say a lot about me. They keep on shouting, gazing at me, pass negative comments even when I’m on Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi roads and bazaars. I give a damn about them, put my hands-free in my ears with a light music and keep going my own way. I just ignore all of them. Because I think, I can’t change their mentality at the moment. I just try to break typical stereotypes that YES! girls can actually ride a bike in Pakistan. And I have to bear all this negative feedback. I can’t stop it single-handedly.
16. Any message you want to give to those girls who have some adventurous plans but looking for guidance and support.
There is another problem that you don’t find any trustworthy platforms and people for ladies who plan your trip and guide you correctly regarding your northern trips and adventure trips like paragliding, cycling, and biking. So, I think anyone having such passions can contact me through my facebook page, Guliafshan Tariq. I can guide you by myself and I will even try to connect you with authentic people. Other than that, I also feel that it is very difficult for ladies to do some adventure sports in Pakistan.
17. What are your future plans?
My next 10 Days Punjab trip is coming in August, where I will attempt to make a record of maximum kilometers covering in minimum time across Punjab.
18. Are you intended to teach girls biking?
I have already launched All-Girl Motorbike Academy and I am planning to execute it physically by connecting with young ladies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad initially. And, If I get a positive response from these areas, I will spread it to other cities of Pakistan. I want to see the ladies on two wheels in Pakistan. That’s it.
19. Your remarks about Tubelight.pk.
Thankyou tubelight.pk for approaching me. You guys are doing really a wonderful job spreading the message from different people from different stories across Pakistan to portray a softer image of Pakistan. Thank you so much.
And that was an end of our conversation with an energetic and ambitious Guliafshan Tariq. We wish best of luck for her future trips 😊