Monday, 26 June 2017

Thinking of hitting the road?

I am getting a lot of emails recently, asking questions about how to fund a dream trip, how to get to Antarctica, or even more generic, 'I want to ride around the world. Where do I start?'! 

In some cases I have been asked to put a spreadsheet together with all visa requirements, costings and exactly how I am funding myself!! 

Whilst I am very happy to help where I can (I asked lots of questions too when I started), some of these questions are not easy to answer and some of it you are just going to have to learn as you go. We all have our own set of circumstances, drivers, and styles. I am only an expert in MY WAY, but lets look at some basics for a moment......

Thursday, 15 June 2017

TIA - This is Africa!


I squeezed my stiff and slightly altitude swollen body out from between the two rather plump, hijab wearing, non-english speaking ladies I had just shared a rather intimate 10 hours with, and began to make my way down the chaotic aisle of the plane. I had arrived in Lome (West Africa), and expected a two hour wait for my next flight to Johannesburg. This was an opportunity to stretch my legs and I looked forward to doing so as soon as possible.

Not everyone was getting off it seemed. This plane was dropping some passengers off here and picking more up before continuing to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. My two companions were staying, and so I waved my goodbyes. They smiled and waved back as they appeared to breath out and fill the space I had just occupied!

As I was alighting the plane, one of the young and predictably beautiful air stewardess' asked me where I was going. I showed her my ticket and said I had a connecting flight to Joburg from here. She told me I was to stay on the plane as this flight would go on from Addis Abba to Joburg. I was not expecting that but after much discussion and checking of the ticket once more, I was assured that I should stay put. I double checked later with another member of the crew and it was confirmed I was in the the right place. I found a bigger space to settle back into as I couldn't bring myself the give these lovely ladies I had just left, the bad news!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

We are all individuals - I'm not!

Shipping courtesy of OTSFF.com
I sort my personal items into 2 piles; 'Can't live without for 6 weeks', and 'Can live without for 6 weeks'.  I say goodbye to my trusty steed Rhonda, as she goes into the box with the second pile of items (the first pile goes into an old Canadian Navy issue rucksack, donated by my friend, Pat!). I won't see Rhonda again for 6 weeks. From here we must make our own way to Africa. First, Rhonda will board a train to Montreal, and then a ship to Durban, where we will reunite. I will go by train to the US and then fly to our final continent.

Until then - I am just another tourist! I clean the hard-earned grime and grease from under my fingernails, and try desperately to get rid of my helmet hair, as I sit and contemplate what this means!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Across Canada!

The Rockies gave way to the rolling hills of Alberta and then suddenly there it was  - the Prairies. They say you can see your dog running away for days here. I didn't have a dog - only Rhonda and my drone Marvin, and if it just stopped blowing, it would be the perfect place to practice my drone flying skills.  

Some days it felt like I was just floating along in a dream like state, with nothing much externally to catch my attention. I actually like these days. Just me, the road, and my daydreams. Other days the weather forced me into reality with ever changing winds and gusts that unapologetically played with me, occasionally throwing me across the lines and trying my patience. On the good days, I would smile to myself and blast the 70's disco music in my helmet. If you can't beat it, get in the grove right? Go with the flow! On the bad days however, I would curse my aching body, tense up and go head to head with mother nature herself. Several hundred miles of this can be exhausting with not even a tree to hide behind! 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

For Tim - RIP

Yesterday I got the news that my good friend Tim Carrier had died in a motorbike accident back home.

I cannot attend the funeral and so I would like to pay my respects here on my blog. This is fitting as Tim had a very big part in this story and he never missed an update.

One day, at the end of 2013, as I was clearing out my attic in preparation for my big journey - I got a phone call. My phone was in my pocket and so I answered it in the dark and spider-infested hole I had crawled into.

'Hello. Steph speaking' I said, trying to sound like I was at a desk and not in an attic!
'Hello. This is Tim Carrier.', came the reply, 'I heard about your trip and I would like to help you get to Antarctica'.

I sat up at this news and promptly smacked my head on a beam! That was the first time Tim and I spoke.

Over the following months, Tim and I became friends. He was such a busy man and yet always had time for a chat or to meet for a beer and discuss any worries I had re my business or my upcoming trip. He was a calm and reassuring man who had a habit of just being there when you needed him.

Tim was there to wave me off when I left London in March 2014 and stayed with me throughout the entire trip - supporting my decisions, showing concern at times, and helping with money raising ideas or shipping solutions. He felt like part of the family as he was never judging of my crazier ideas and his support was unconditional. Tim was the reason I achieved a dream and made it to Antarctica.

I didn't know that much about Tim regarding the rest of his life. He was clearly a loving family man and a very good businessman.

Tim - You were a big and positive influence in my life. This trip had become partly for you. I wanted to finish it to repay you your kindness and show you that you were not wrong to believe in me. I looked forward to seeing you at Motobreaks in France where you had planned a big party for my homecoming in true biker style. I had always imagined giving you the biggest hug and celebrating OUR achievements together.

If I have anything to do with it - The journey continues and the party goes on! I may not be able to complete everything we had discussed without you but I will not miss raising a glass to you at the place we should have met.

Thank you for everything. I will miss you.

My thoughts are with your family xxxxxxxxx


Monday, 20 March 2017

Titan Arctic Challenge - Part 2

It was 9pm and -30°c. I watched the steam rising as I unceremoniously peed in the middle of the Dempster Highway! Just a few meters away, my three team mates were busy tending to the fire and counting fingers to make sure they were all still there - for they could no longer rely on sensation! I listened to the distant rumble of a truck, and it occurred to me that perhaps it was not so distant! Why does this always happen? I could be in the middle of nowhere, not see a soul for hours, and just as I drop my pants and get beyond the point of no return, someone shows up! Hurriedly, I finish my business and pull up my extensive layers, just as the big red truck comes charging angrily around the corner, snorting steam into the cold night air. My dignity is spared this time as my near frost-bitten bum is hidden from view once more!

It's not always easy being a woman on the road - but it sure is fun

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Titan Arctic Challenge


So all our camera equipment has finally arrived and tomorrow we head off to start filming our Titan Artic Adventure Challenge.

Mark and Budd (two Canadian adventurers) and I, will be putting the Nissan Titan to the test, driving north from Nissan headquarters in Vancouver, all the way to Tuktoyaktuk in the North West Territories.

The conditions will range between -10°F and -50°F, which will really put our camping equipment to the test, not to mention our smalls!  Covering 8,000km in all, the terrain will be varied and will include the ice roads that stretch along the Mckenzie River Delta, and through the treeless Arctic tundra, before reaching the frozen Beaufort sea (the Arctic Ocean).

About 850 people live in the Tuk settlement and many of the Inuit community still hunt, fish and trap as a way of life. They rely on Caribou in the Autumn, ducks and geese in the spring and fish all year-round.

We will have satellite comms and hope to post Vlogs and photos on a regular basis.

For me, the reward will be to see the Aurora Borealis in its full and spectacular glory. Let's hope she wants to play!

See you on the frozen road!

Follow: #TitanArcticChallenge




Thursday, 2 March 2017

Small Bike Invasion 2017

Check out my review of the latest small Adventure bikes for 2017 in the May edition of ADV Moto Magazine

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Dirt Church

I'm back in Canada after a few surprisingly wonderful days in Baltimore, at the Timonium Motorcycle Show. I say 'surprisingly', as Baltimore is often associated with trouble and in all honesty, last year was cold and all I saw was the inside of the hotel and the show ground. The city is certainly no stranger to crime, and is perhaps best known to outsiders for being the home of the 12 o'clock Boys. A notorious urban dirt-bike gang, converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public. These guys may be crazy, they may be reckless, but boy have they got skill. The gang is named this after the position in which they point their front wheel, whilst taking life threatening dashes through the city on their dirt bikes. Back wheel on the ground, and the other straight up to the sky! What those boys could do on a dirt track, given the right place, time and opportunities. It fascinates and saddens me.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Motorcycle Men

Had a great interview today with one third of Motorcycle Men today. Very honest, upfront and fast paced! 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Reflections

Hello from snowy Canada!

It's the longest time since I posted! Why have I abandoned my post? Well really my time staying still has meant that I can take an opportunity to write more, but I have to take the jobs that pay me good hard cash! That is the reality of it! My blog is for pleasure and a girl has to make her money somehow.  Getting across Canada, then over to Africa is not going to be cheap! Choosing an alternative lifestyle does not mean all play! Money makes the wheels on the bike go round and round! Romantic it is not, but it is what it is, and I kinda like what it is! I was never one for romance novels anyway! 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Thanks


My first 2017 sponsor. Moto Explorers have just come on board and are smoothing the way a little to ride East and over to Africa for my final leg.  Moto Explorers also smooth the way for riders wanting to get through China, from all directions! They have a wealth of knowledge from years of planning and leading tours in that area. Visit site

Thursday, 19 January 2017

ibook



The link on Facebook is no longer working via the blog, so for those of you interested in buying the ibook, please follow the link below....

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/embrace-the-cow/id1192844352?mt=11