Journalist, Adventurer, Motorcyclist
Defying the odds with a minimalistic approach to adventure
So here we are, riding around the world together on a Japanese one-cylinder motorbike. The engine won’t survive that, they said. There’s not enough space for all the stuff you’ll need, they said. A Greek and a German, hanging out 24/7 for three years without ruining their relationship is impossible, they said. Just 5 months of preparation are not enough, they said. But here we are, six weeks into the project of our life’s, enjoying the hospitality of the Iranian people – having a lot of fun and making many compromises. Compromises that we gladly accept.
Agreed, our endeavor is quite adventurous even in times that make overlanding seem like a new popular sport. But following your dreams doesn’t require as much preparation and precautions as you might think. So, here’s what we did…
From a call to the decision of a lifetime
It is the end of September 2015 and I, Benjamin, currently on a motorcycle trip through the alps, give my girlfriend Ellada a call, telling her about the idea of travelling around the world after seeing a bike with a lot of stickers showing different countries. She said “yeah, that’s a great idea!”. And that’s it. In November we talked about it again and decided to do it in May 2016. And with doing it I mean we DID IT. We started selling all our belongings, informed our friends and families, quit all the insurances that we hold so dearly in Germany and worked out a route for our first step: reaching Vladiwostok.
Minimalism is the best friend of every adventurer
We knew we’d have limited space on just one bike (and a really small one that is), so we decided to just take two sets of clothes with us. A mix of merino and synthetic fibre that combines sturdiness and the benefits of merino that dries quickly and doesn’t smell too horrible after being drenched in sweat several times without being close to a warm shower. Also only basic camping gear, a ultra light tent and the most basic electronics that blogging travellers need. The idea was: what we need for one consecutive week is enough for some years, too, as you can’t prepare for every eventuality anyway. And what you don’t bring along can’t break. Also you can’t lose it and you don’t have to carry it.
Six weeks into our adventure: Here’s what we’ve learned
It’s enough. No, it’s even too much stuff we brought to our trip. In Greece, after just about one and a half week, we send home a package of five kilograms with stuff we didn’t really need. Having just two sets of clothes is enough. You wear one and wash the other. Or just leave it our in the air for some hours, so that the sun can deal with any bacteria (she does a really good job at that!). What we’ve also learned, is that driving offroad with a pillion rider is doable, if you take it slowly and both learn how to move as one body. And you should learn it, because it let’s you use all the great roads less travelled, that bring you the scent of adventure that only the outdoors can give you. And people are awesome. You have a problem with your gear, or the bike? Ask the locals for help! If you start with a smile, people are kind everywhere you go. And as for the “relationship killer” called being together: what’s all that about? If you can only stand each other with some time off from time to time, then maybe something’s wrong. Seriously: It’s all about working out strategies to work out your anger and stress under difficult conditions, that you’ll definitively have to endure. And it’s all forgotten anyway if you are sitting in front of your tent after a hard day of riding, watching spectacular sunsets at places you’ve maybe dreamed of – but now you are actually there and it’s even better than you thought.
We are excited what happens next and keep you posted.
Elli & Ben