- 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.
Explore Dnyan’s Journey
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.
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 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.”
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.
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: