We found ourselves parked in too many places in the last 12 months, too much thinking, not enough riding. People who I correspond with know I was disappointed to have left Latin America. We’d learned (and loved) far more than we anticipated. It suited us. Arriving into beautiful NZ and Australia was a huge change. The drug I’d become addicted to was missing. The Australian north was as beautiful as anything we’d seen, our heart was getting some of what it needed, but most of the big-picture inputs had come to a halt. Old thoughts and considerations came back.
The bottom line is that the year was safe, a safety net 99% the time. In South America there were quite a few weeks where that wasn’t true. So perhaps it was the lack of ‘adventure’ riding that muted the last 12 months. But on the flip, we probably learned more this year digesting it all. What Australia had done was move us further along, without adding anything except time and distance. To use an abused word there were a couple of epiphanies, the type that are the reason for doing this ride in the first place. They crept up on me unexpectedly. I remember an Irish rtw rider who said in a movie you can’t go solo around the world for years and come back unchanged. I thought bullshit, there are no heavies, the only things that change are your travelling and riding skills become decent if they weren’t before, you become a seriously serious bore and people will avoid you, if they didn’t before, plus you’re way older. He turned out to be right. But all of those things, lol
On top of that I was slightly nervous about what followed, standard rider ‘what’s-ahead-looks-totally-weird’ thoughts. Asia’s densely populated, which isn’t our thing. Dili-to-Medan is notoriously difficult on a motorcycle. No open spaces for a long time. So we slowed down in Australia and hung out whenever an interesting place came up. It had become slow travel, which by some coincidence seems to getting praised as a concept right now.
But we need to speed up because by our rough mileage calculations we’re about 45% through our ride, but we’ve said that more than once before, but it really doesn’t matter, it’ll be what it’ll be.
Lucinda’s been what she is: badass and beautiful, a rare and thoroughbred super-enduro completely at home out here. No matter what new things she’s faced with, she goes head-down into it like this ride is her realization too.
In a few days we’re entering China with a guided group, not my first choice but they appear to be great guys and I’m sure we’ll have fun. From a purity p.o.v. I’m ok with it because it doesn’t spoil the ‘adventure’ track, as we enter and exit at the same place. After arranging this (previously the only practical way) we somehow scored a more favorable visa and it’s very possible we’ll re-enter solo later, after doing a clockwise ride through Laos and Cambodia. But all kinds of things come up and anything here could happen. Despite that, the big picture starting in India is fairly clear, we think 😉
One really large entry into my memory from the last year will be the extraordinary Australian outback. The colour, the clarity, the heat, the birds and animals, and the vastness. The other big entry would be the Indonesian people. Generous, smiling, beautiful.
We’ve been off-season for the entire 12 months. The only moderate weather was in Tasmania. The Australian summer and the SE Asian wet season. But when you think about it, that’s the only way to do it, travelling through the extremes. The downside was we’ve seen few riders. Only 4 long-distance riders, all rtw: Steph Jeavons, Shane Smith, Dylan and Lawson Reid. Friends for life.
Best day: somewhere in the outback
Worst day: the 15/16 hour night ferry from Kupang to Larantuka, Indonesia