Imagine traveling the world on merely a bike and 90$ to spend. Only a brave soul could embark on a 10-year journey across the globe. Believe it or not, that is what the Omidvar brothers did back in 1954. Throwing their film-making gear on their bikes, they hit the road to see the most outlying people they could encounter. An extraordinary documentary of a vanished world was made of these people, cultures, and even countries that no longer exist.
Abdollah and Issa Omidvar, born after the Second World War, lived in the suburbs of Tehran. They have always had a taste for traveling and probing, inspired by the stories their father used to tell on the long nights of the winter. Their dream was to visit all the hidden corners of the world. In Iran, they were part of a mountaineering club with which they climbed Mount Damavand, the highest volcano in Asia. The Omidvars were not seasoned travelers, professional filmmakers, or elite members. They were two men in their early 20s who wanted to learn more about the world.
Why Traveling with Bike?
Issa participated in a speed and endurance race that ranged from Karaj to Tehran and won second place. Sometime later, he finished fourth among all the participants in a speed cycling race. Another reason that caused more motivation to travel by bicycle was the French cyclist Lionel Brans, who planned to go from Paris to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, on a bike. He was passing through Tehran on the way and was welcomed by the mountaineers of the club. This meeting and acquaintance made Issa’s determination to travel by bicycle more.
Preparing for adventure
Issa decided to go on a motorbike trip to the west. He crossed the border of Iran to travel to Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This four-month journey was exhausting with graveled and dangerous roads. Yet, he was welcomed by the people and finished his 4-month adventure. Meanwhile, his brother Abdollah was exploring southern Iran by bicycle with his friend. The Omidvars’ determination and gentle approach – outlined in their motto attached to their bikes, “All different, all relative” – was the perfect motive for their journey.
Start of an Endless Journey
The first journey of the Omidvar brothers took seven years, passing through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India and traveling to Tibet, Southeast Asia, and Australia. After crossing the Pacific Ocean, they traveled to Alaska, North America, and South America. Finally, they arrived in Europe after crossing the Atlantic Ocean. After a brief trip home, a new round of adventure in a 2CV begins. They drove through Africa, managing to get the vehicle through the Congo and the challenging barrier of the Ituri forest.
Omidvar Brothers Documentary
During their trips to different parts of the world, the Omidvar brothers filmed their observations. They launched the documentary they made on various networks around the world. This documentary includes the life and adventures of these two brothers. They had to hang around the Africans, live alongside primitive and dangerous Amazonian tribes, and eat raw animal meat with the Eskimos. And when you ask them about the hardships of their journey, they say: travel makes a person resistant, and the more a person deals with problems, the more resistant he becomes.
Omidvar Brothers Museum
When their journey ended, Abdollah settled in Chile, founding a successful film company, and Issa returned to Iran as a celebrity. Then, in Tehran, in an 18th-century Pahlavi palace, he constructed a museum to house all the artifacts he and his brother had collected. Visiting artifacts, such as a real severed human head, monkey skulls, and elephant tusks will absolutely amaze you. It’s a place very much worth a visit. If you traveled to Iran, make sure to visit Omidvars museums to learn more about the adventures of these two world travelers.
Omidvar Brothers Book
This is the Omidvar Brothers travelogue. There is also an English version of this book available. If interested, you can order the book from their website http://www.omidvarbrothers.ir. You can learn anything and everything there is to know about their journey by reading this book. In the book, you will find pictures, maps, and memories of the brothers written in the book; these will fascinate you, as these can only be found in Omidvar Brothers Travelogue.
The End of Omidvar Journey
According to the announcement of the Lamunda Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile, Abdollah Omidvar died on July 15, 2022, at the age of 89 in Chile. Abdollah Omidvar (1932-2022), a producer, filmmaker, and, most of all, the first Iranian adventurer who traveled to more than 100 countries and made up to 120 documentaries, is truly an icon in the hearts of Iranians.