On the Road
Moin on a Mission
Photo by Ali Khan.
In August, Moin Khan (B.A., ’11) embarked on an ambitious journey -- from San Francisco to his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan -- on a motorcycle. In October, SF State Magazine checked in on his progress.
We heard that you totaled your bike. Are you OK?
I’m in Romania right now, crashed in Arad and broke two ribs. When I called my father, he told me, "Start looking for a new motorcycle and resume your journey. Don’t let these minor obstacles keep you from achieving your goal." With that kind of support, my will to continue is stronger than ever. A month of bed rest and I’ll get back on the road. I hope to reach Pakistan before the end of the year.
Why are you doing this?
Growing up in Pakistan, anyone with an American product was the coolest kid in school. If you drove an American car, you were famous. But the war in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan changed that image of America. And in the U.S., I encountered a negative image about Pakistanis and Muslims in general. I wanted to tell each side, and show that no matter what you think of a government’s actions, its people are still amazing and helpful.
Do you think you are accomplishing what you set out to do?
I try to get many of my experiences on camera. I want to show Pakistanis how wonderful people are in the West, and I think I’ve been successful in doing that. If the Turkish, Iranians and Pakistanis are nice, I can show the West that the Eastern side isn’t all that bad either.
What has surprised you most about the people you’ve met on this trip?
When strangers take me into their homes and stay up all night to listen to my experiences and share their stories with me. I never thought it would happen, but it has happened to me so many times on this trip that I’ve lost count.
What brought you all the way to SF State for your degree?
After completing high school in Pakistan, my parents thought it would be fun to ship their hyperactive kid to California and teach him a lesson by letting him figure out stuff himself. I landed at SFO, got an apartment in Sunnyvale and started going to De Anza College. After two years, I transferred to SF State and it was the best thing I ever did.
Is there anything you learned at SF State that has helped you on this trip?
I was a very shy kid all my life. I had no public speaking skills whatsoever. After I took a business speech class at SF State, everything changed. Suddenly, I could talk to strangers. SF State made me who I am today. I’m more open minded, more accepting of different cultures and traditions -- a better person than I was before I went to SF State.
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