Naresh Kumar has successfully completed an epic bike ride, from India all the way to Germany — and it's one for the record books.
Kiwi-Indian Kumar set off from Chennai, India, on February 27 and arrived in Hamburg, Germany, on May 25 this year.
His intercontinental tandem bike ride has just been recognised by the International Book of Records and the Indian Book of Records. Kumar is currently awaiting confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records.
He rode 8646km across 13 countries in two continents, sometimes solo, sometimes with strangers and friends helping him pedal some of the way.
A whole 87 days, 11 hours and 30 minutes after setting off from Chennai, he arrived at the Hamburg Town Hall.
"This mission was to raise awareness of human trafficking and generate funds to help the victims of bonded labour slavery," he told the Herald.
"Though it was a solo and unsupported mission, the random acts of kindness from strangers across 13 countries is what really helped me to successfully complete the mission," he added.
"Vulnerability is the key to human connection. I used technology like Google Translate to get around where there was cell reception. The languages were never a barrier and people from all nations came forward to help me in every possible way."
Kumar recalls the time in Iran where he was caught in a bad storm. "A shepherd took me under his wing and provided me food, dry clothes, and shelter in his humble hut where there were five other shepherds that were already holed up.
"It was a brutal storm that lasted for nearly 14 hours but they treated me like family and showered me with their hospitality and kindness and fed me all the kebabs and tea.
"Though I couldn't speak any Persian, seeing my vulnerability, they treated me like family and ensured that I was well taken care of. Truly restored my faith in humanity that day."
This isn't the first time Kumar has gone on an epic mission to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.
Back in 2015, he ran the Te Araroa trail in winter, in sandals, solo and unsupported.
A couple of years later, he completed his "Freedom Seat" project, when he rode a tandem bike from Cape Reinga to Bluff by picking up random strangers along the way.
Both of those missions on New Zealand soil were completed to raise funds and awareness to help the victims of sex trafficking.
Kumar said he discovered that was his "mission" on a trip to Nepal, where he encountered "the ugly face of sex trafficking".
A man tried to sell him sex with a minor. "I said no and walked away but it broke my heart to see a vulnerable child being sold in the market as a commodity and I wanted to do something about it," he said.
"Freedom is the highest form of living and yet there are an estimated 40 million people in slavery and 25 per cent of them are children under the age of 18."
This horrifying statistic became Kumar's "why", the reason that keeps him investing his time in raising awareness for this cause.
He uses "extreme human-powered adventures" as a way to share this story and raise awareness to help victims of human trafficking around the world.
Kumar has lived in New Zealand since September 2014 and uses the country as his base in between adventures, as well as the ground for some of them, like Freedom Seat and his Te Araroa run.
In fact, New Zealand has been the birthplace of many of his best adventure ideas.
"My life in New Zealand started with an epic adventure where I decided to run/hike the Te Araroa. For the expedition, I partnered with Tear Fund NZ to raise funds to help the victims of sex trafficking," he recalls.
"I was the first recipient to be awarded a medallion for completing the mission by [Invercargill] mayor Tim Shadbolt. I was also the runner-up of Wilderness Outdoor Hero of the year for this feat."
Still travelling the world and slowly making his way to New Zealand, Kumar is now working closely with charities who are helping in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the victims of bonded labour slavery in India and other parts of the world.
Ultimately, his goal is two-fold: He wants to raise awareness of the evils of the world, such as human trafficking, but he also forces himself to rely on the kindness of others during his grand adventures, to show just how much good there is in the world as well.