On March 10, 2010, at the United Nations Office in New York City, Lhakpa Tsering took off on his Free Tibet World Tour riding his BMW R1200GS to call attention to the plight of Tibetans living under the Chinese occupation. That specific date was chosen as it was the 51st Tibetan national uprising day – and the trip’s terminus was supposed to be Dharamsala where the Tibetan government lives in exile. Even on a trip of obvious significance and with such honorable goals, Tsering has run into an issue which has stopped him in his tracks – Indian customs.
Anyone who has traveled internationally knows how tough it can be to deal with immigration and customs in any country, but India’s can be especially frustrating. The problem Tsering is facing has to do with his brand new BMW and the papers he needs to get it into the nation. Customs authorities in Chennai will not release his motorcycle to him; they claim that his paperwork is not in order.
However, before he arrived in India, Tsering had already been through borders in Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, England, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan and Australia…and many more. It makes one wonder what other information India would need to allow him to ride on their roads.
Until Tsering is successful at liberating his BMW, his tour will be on hold. His scheduled arrival at Dharamsala will be delayed, but the purpose of his ride is not forgotten. Throughout the journey, he has met many wonderful people and has even found that many Chinese people support his position – even if the Chinese authorities do not (they have already censored his website www.freetibetworldtour.com). Go ahead, take the link and help Lhakpa Tsering finish his world tour.
UPDATE (8 October 2010): After waiting 16 days for his BMW GS to clear Indian customs, Tsering is back on the road again! The authorities there finally relented and he will be on the road to Dharamsala as this is written. Once the journey is complete, Tsering will return to New York to be with his wife and four-and-a-half-year old daughter. Please join me in wishing him a safe journey!