Chinese Adventurer Sets Out on Solo Motorhome Journey Through Kazakhstan

ASTANA – While Kazakhstan and China offer visa-free travel, citizens are taking this opportunity to explore boundlessly. Jason Feng, a 35-year-old Chinese adventurer, has embarked on an ambitious solo journey aboard a motorhome with a dream to travel all over the world. In an interview with The Astana Times, he shared insights into his brave expedition.

Jason Feng living a dreamlife traveling the world aboard a motorhome. Photo credit: Jason Feng.

Jason always had a passion for adventure. His early experiences included his first solo train trip at the age of seven, when he traveled around 400 kilometers away from his city, stirring his father’s concern.

As he grew up, his love for travel evolved into backpacking, taking him to various countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and several European destinations, including Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

However, Jason found backpacking inconvenient when exploring deeper into countries, especially rural areas. This realization led him to fulfill a dream by acquiring a minivan and transforming it into a motorhome.

“Although it’s not perfect work, I’m okay, I wanted to do it all by myself.” – Jason about his motorhome. Photo credit: Jason Feng.

Preparing the vehicle  was a big challenge, Jason noted, but despite lacking hands-on skills, he insisted on making it himself instead of hiring some professionals.

“The journey begins when you make the decision,” he said. “To convert this van to a motorhome is already part of the traveling for me.”

His trip was dangerous from the very beginning, as he traversed the 5,800-meter-high mountains in Tibet to reach the Kyrgyz Republic border, where a lack of oxygen nearly cost him his life.

“It was very hard, very difficult, and dangerous, but it was the only way to cross that area,” he shared. “I saw lots of wild animals, including wolves.”

“The most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen.” – Jason captures a photo on the way from Karagandy to Astana. Photo credit: Jason Feng.

After skiing in the Kyrgyz Republic, he continued his journey through Kazakhstan, visiting Almaty, Balkhash, Astana, and Pavlodar. He noted that visa-free travel is very convenient for Chinese people, as they need visas for many countries.

“I feel so happy about it,” he shared. “I appreciate it a lot.”

In Astana, he met with Aliya Yessenbayeva, an English teacher who taught him a bit of Russian, showed him the city, and introduced him to her friends.

Jason was impressed not only by the capital’s beauty but also by traditional Kazakh food. For the first time, he tried horsemeat, which turned out to be “delicious, but a little bit salty.”

He then traveled to Pavlodar near the New Year holidays, particularly impressed by the city’s riverside, considered the most beautiful in the country. 

“It was a special experience for me.” – Jason about trying horsemeat. “It was very good.” Photo credit: Jason Feng.

All restaurants were closed at the time he arrived, but people helped him to find a place to eat. He then found a house through a software called Couchsurfing, where he had dinner and a hot shower, appreciating locals for their hospitality.

“Kazakhstan’s people are very, very friendly. I didn’t expect that. They are very kind,” he said.

The journey, however, posed challenges for Jason, such as extreme weather conditions during an almost 500-kilometer stretch from Astana to Pavlodar, including snowy weather and fog.

“I was extremely tired,” he recalled. “I have a heating system in my van, but it’s not for minus 25 or 28 degrees Celsius. I didn’t know it would be this cold.”

Jason noted the challenges of solo travel, emphasizing the need for constant driving without the option to rest whenever tired. Sometimes, he needed to drive for 12 to 15 hours, which was a “little bit dangerous,” but he had no choice.

Reflecting on warnings from people in China about potential troubles during his trip, Jason found that many misconceptions were dispelled during his travels. Contrary to warnings, he encountered kindness and generosity in places such as India and Kazakhstan.

Jason recalled an incident when he slightly exceeded the speed limit, leading to a police officer pulling him over. Jason apologized and explained to the officer that it was his first time in the area, and at times, he struggled to comprehend the local road signs due to variations in rules between China and the current location. The understanding police officer advised him to be more cautious in the future, emphasizing the potential harm excessive speeding could cause, and let him off without issuing a fine.

Jason’s motorhome, equipped with all the essentials needed for daily living except a shower, has enabled him to travel in comfort, cook, and document his journey.

The preparation for his trip, including documentation, visas, and insurance, took him six months. 

Currently in Yekaterinburg, Russia, with 13,000 kilometers behind him, Jason plans to continue his journey into Europe, aiming for a total travel duration of nine to ten months.

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