• 私の名前はDnyanです
  • Mi nombre es Dnyan
  • मेरा नाम ज्ञान है
  • 내 이름은 Dnyan이다.
  • Ich heiße Dnyan
  • ฉันชื่อ Dnyan
  • My name is Dnyan

Dnyaneshwar Yewatkar is on a bike – and on a mission. With only a tent, a bicycle, and Google Translate, he’s on a four-year journey to meet, and learn from, a world of people.

Last year, billions of people used Google Translate to read menus, ask for directions, or decipher street signs in more than 100 languages. But at its core, Translate is a tool to help people facilitate conversations and explore the world. For Dnyan Yewatkar, Translate is indispensable: It’s how he connects with the people he meets on a four-year bicycle journey around the world.

70,000 kilometers

Every morning, Dnyan Yewaktar does what millions of people do: He gets ready for a bike ride. The difference? His destination is never the same. It might be a Buddhist temple in South Korea, a hostel in Tokyo, or a baseball stadium on the outskirts of Havana. For the past two years, he’s been traveling from country to country, riding his bike through small towns and big cities, with a singular focus: He wants to walk in Gandhi’s footsteps, spreading peace, love, and compassion. To do so, he hopes to meet as many people as he can, learn from them, and share what he knows about the world.

Dnyan riding his bicycle.

75 countries

Dnyan considers himself to be a student of the world, and this trip is the ultimate crash course. “This is a very big school,” he says of all the cities and towns he has passed through.

“This journey isn’t about traveling. It’s about meeting people. Once I spend time with them, I can learn from them, I can understand them, and they can understand me.” While striking up a conversation with a stranger in a foreign land might seem intimidating, he’s found his bike to be a great icebreaker. “Cycling is my medium for connecting with people. People see the bike and they stop me, they want to talk with me.” The more Dnyan travels, the more he experiences the good in people through their willingness to help him on his way.

There was the family in Thailand who took him in after he suffered a severe dog bite. The man in Cuba who dropped what he was doing to show Dnyan around his village and introduce him to his family. And the American man he met in Myanmar who opened his Indiana home to Dynan over a year later. All strangers at first; all friends now.

In 2018, the World Cup took Russia by storm. On any given street, one was likely to hear dozens of languages. During this time, usage of the Google Translate mobile app was twice as high as expected. The power of the beautiful game brought people together, and the power of communication, with an assist from Translate, helped people connect.

“Maybe I do not know your language, but I would like to find out who you are.”

Dnyan

Dnyan

50+ languages

When language is a barrier, “I have two options,” says Dnyan. “I have the universal language, which comes from the heart, that people can comprehend just by looking at each other. The second language I have is Google Translate.” Dnyan doesn’t measure his journey in the miles he’s traveled or the sights he’s seen. Instead, he measures it in the people who have left an imprint on his soul.

In 2018, over 30 trillion sentences were translated, with translations from English to Spanish and English to Chinese being the most common.

Meet some of Dnyan's new friends

Two of the most common phrases translated with Google Translate are “how are you” and “thank you” – phrases Dnyan puts to use as he makes his way around the world, learning from the people he meets.

Scroll down to meet some of the people who had a lasting impact on Dnyan.

Meet some of Dnyan’s new friends

Dnyan has traveled to 16 countries so far, and he’s met some people who have had a lasting impact on him. Click on a hotspot to meet some of them for yourself.

  • India
    • Central India
  • Myanmar
    • Hpa-an
  • Thailand
    • Surat Thani
  • Taiwan
    • Taichung
  • Japan
    • Hiroshima
  • South Korea
    • Busan
    • Daejeong
  • USA
    • Indiana
    • New York
    • New York
  • Cuba
    • Havana
    • Catalina
  • Mexico
    • Somewhere
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days traveled

kilometers traveled

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Dnyan

Central India

Languages: Hindi

“मुझे लगता है कि मैं इस दुनिया में करीब 80 साल जिऊंगा. उन 80 सालों तक मैं खुशी से जीना चाहता हूं और ज़िंदगी के इस सफ़र का मज़ा लेना चाहता हूं. इसलिए, तीन साल पहले मैंने फैसला किया कि मैं साइकिल से दुनिया घूमूंगा. मैं नए अनुभवों के लिए तैयार हूं. मैं नए लोगों से मिलना चाहता हूं.”
“I believe I will live some eighty years on this earth, and for those eighty years, I want to live joyously and enjoy the journey of life. So three years ago, I decided that I would roam the world by bike. I am ready for new experiences. I am ready to meet new people.”

Dnyan

Panida

Surat Thani, Thailand

Languages: Thai, Hindi

The dogs had attacked out of nowhere. Blood cascaded down Dnyan’s leg, which pulsed with pain. Local hospitals turned him away without insurance, so he biked on. For eight days, he biked on. He reached a small town, and it was there that the pain overcame him while speaking at a school. He passed out. Panida, a teacher, took him in and helped him mend, even using YouTube to learn how to cook Indian food. Thanks to her, Dnyan’s journey continued on.

“उन्हाेंने मेरे लिए जाे कुछ भी किया, उसका शुक्रिया अदा करने के लिए मेरे पास शब्द नहीं हैं. यही असली प्यार हाेता है.”
“There are no words that could bring justice to the depth of my gratitude for everything she has done for me. That’s real love.”

Dnyan

Gyan

Taichung, Taiwan

Languages: Taiwanese, Hindi

The phrase “it’s a small world” took on special meaning for Dnyan in Taichung. Famished after a day of riding, Dnyan stopped at an Indian restaurant for a late-night dinner. After striking up a conversation with the restaurant’s owner, he realized he had stayed with the man’s brother in eastern Taiwan a few weeks earlier. The brother had given Dnyan the address of the very restaurant he was in, but Dnyan had lost it. And yet he found it anyway.

“उसने पहले मेरे बारे में सुना था और मैंने उसके बारे में, लेकिन आमने-सामने की मुलाकात अलग ही होती है.”
“He had heard about me before and I had heard of him, but meeting directly is a really different feeling.”

Dnyan

Dnyan and new friend, Gyan, pose for a selfie together at a restaurant. Dnyan, Gyan, and another friend, Ravi smile for a selfie.

Dnyan

Hiroshima, Japan

Languages: Hindi

“पिछले कुछ महीने मुश्किल भरे रहे हैं. लेकिन फिर, मैंने अपनी यात्रा का शुरुआती दौर याद किया. पैसे के बिना, मैंने दो साल पूर्वी एशिया की यात्रा की. मुझे वे दोस्त और साथी याद हैं जिन्होंने यात्रा के दौरान चावल और सब्ज़ियां दीं या अपने घर में जगह दी. इससे मुझे आगे बढ़ने की हिम्मत मिली.”
“The last few months have been difficult. But then, I think back to the beginning. Without a penny, I have traveled across East Asia for two years. I remember the friends and well-wishers who have helped me along the way with gifts of rice and vegetables, or stays in their homes. This gives me the courage to continue.”

Dnyan

A mountain in Japan. Dnyan leaping with arms stretched out on a hike in Japan.

Venerable Shim San

Busan, South Korea

Languages: Korean, English, Hindi

In South Korea’s second-largest city, a Buddhist temple beckoned Dnyan. This specific temple was remarkable for a very special reason to Dnyan: On its grounds is South Korea’s only statue of Gandhi. The purpose of Dnyan’s visit was twofold: He wanted to pay his respects to the person who inspired his journey, and he also wanted to receive a blessing from a monk to continue on his way. The monk happily obliged.

“이곳에서 여행을 시작하는 당신을 환영하며, 여행의 시작을 축복해 드리고 싶습니다.”
“We welcome you starting your journey here, and we would like to celebrate the beginning of it.”

Ven. Shim San

Thomas

Indiana, USA

Languages: English, Hindi

How far would you drive to help a stranger? Dnyan was lying on his back, bloodied and dazed after a nasty spill. Thankfully, his phone still worked. He placed a call to a man named Thomas, who was to be his host for the evening. Thomas drove over an hour to pick him up and bring Dnyan to his house, where Thomas’s wife helped patch Dnyan’s wounds. After a meal of Indian food, the trampoline beckoned.

“It’s nice to see someone in this crazy world spreading the message of peace and friendship. We will forever be friends.”
“It’s nice to see someone in this crazy world spreading the message of peace and friendship. We will forever be friends.”

Thomas

Moying

New York, USA

Languages: English, Mandarin, Hindi

Moying, a Chinese teacher, has called New York City home for almost 20 years. Now she opens up her home to travelers from all over the world.

“我喜欢了解不同的文化。在我给其他国家/地区的人们教授汉语时,他们也教给了我他们自己的文化。”
“I like to learn about other cultures. When I am teaching people from other countries, they are bringing me their own cultures.”

Moying

Larry the Birdman

New York, USA

Languages: English, Hindi

In New York City’s Washington Square Park, Dnyan watched in awe as the pigeons swooped and swarmed. In the center of the action stood Larry the Bird Man, who had what seemed to be a spiritual connection with the pigeons that call the park home.

“There are some men who respect every creature in the world. If you love all the creatures on this planet, they love you, they take care of you.”
“There are some men who respect every creature in the world. If you love all the creatures on this planet, they love you, they take care of you.”

Dnyan

Amalia

Havana, Cuba

Languages: Spanish, English, Hindi

Arriving in Cuba, Dnyan was excited about a reunion 18 months in the making. Dnyan met Amalia, a Havana native, while they were both in Indonesia. When he mentioned he was planning to visit Cuba, Amalia offered him a place to stay when he made it there. He greeted her with flowers and a smile, and together they strolled around Old Havana before heading to Amalia’s home for a meal prepared by her mother.

“आपने मुझे अपने घर बुलाया. आपकी मां ने बेहद लज़ीज़ खाना बनाया. उन्हाेंने मुझे प्यार दिया, आपने मुझे प्यार दिया, मेरा ख़्याल रखा - यह मेरे लिए बहुत बड़ी बात है.”
“You invite me into your home. Your mom cooked really delicious food. She love me, you love me, take care of me – that is a beautiful thing.”

Dnyan

Amalia and her mother smile for the camera. Amalia and Dnyan walking together through Havana.

Yoondi

Catalina, Cuba

Languages: Spanish, English, Hindi

Outside Havana, the gears on Dnyan’s bike were screaming. He stopped at a local repair shop where he met Yoondi. After chatting, Yoondi offered to show Dnyan around his village. They stopped by a school, a fruit vendor (Yoondi bought Dnyan a mango juice), and a baseball field before visiting Yoondi’s home and meeting his neighbors.

“उन्होंने जितने प्यार से मुझसे बात की और मुझे आस-पास की जगह घुमाईं, उससे मुझे ऐसा लगा कि मैं उनके परिवार का हिस्सा हूं.”
“The love he gave me while talking to me and taking me around made me feel like I was a part of his family.”

Dnyan

Dnyan

Somewhere in Mexico

Language: Hindi

“जब मैं छोटा था, तो मेरा सपना था कि मैं भी दुनिया के लिए कुछ करूं. अगर मैं घर पर रहकर ही ऐसा कुछ काम करता, तो कुछ बड़ा नहीं कर पाता. मुझे लगता है कि इस यात्रा पर जाकर, मैंने बहुत सारे लोगों का ध्यान खींचा है. मैंने दाे साल यात्रा कर ली है और अभी दाे साल की यात्रा और बाकी है. मैं आगे और नए लाेगाें से मिलने के लिए उत्साहित हूं.”
“When I was young, it was my dream to contribute something to the world. If I would have done that work by staying at home, it would have been limited to a handful of things. I feel that on this journey I have undertaken, I am attracting the attention of lots of people. I have spent two years traveling and have two years to go. I’m excited for who I will meet next.”

Dnyan

When Dnyan returns home sometime in 2020 – or maybe 2021, who knows, lots of problems can arise during a trip such as this, he’s learned – he wants to take this experience and put its lessons to use. He hopes to open a school for homeless children, to empower them with the gift of a good education. But before that, he has a lot of riding still ahead of him. He’s excited for what awaits. There’s South America, Africa, and the Middle East to visit. So many people he’s yet to meet. So many lessons he’s yet to learn. Maybe he’ll just have a pleasant conversation. Maybe he’ll make a new friend. While he can’t control how any encounter can end, he can control how it’ll begin – with a single word:

Hello.

Join Dnyan on his mission to connect with others. Share his story with your friends.

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