Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Long Ride Home - Motorcycle Diary

Here is a motorcycle diary adventure story which you might want to think about for Christmas.  It's the story of Nathan Millward who was born in Mansfield in the UK, and who decided, on the spur of the moment, to travel home from Sydney Australia back to London on a 105cc Honda retired Australian postbike which he named Dorothy.

The journey took Nathan nine months and covered 29,000 miles and eighteen countries.  Like all truly spontaneous adventurers, he set off on a whim, with no planning and only two days preparation before he left, equipped simply with a 'one day at a time' philosophy. It is refreshing to find someone who just up and went without any planning for the adventure of a lifetime, it makes it all just seem that bit more do-able for anyone.

The Wizard of Aus

In 'The Wizard of Oz' Dorothy was transported to a magical land far away which may be why Nathan named his motorcycle Dorothy. Starting from Australia, Nathan and Dorothy set off together and travelled through many
magical lands on their journey home.

The author says that his story is not just a motorcycle adventure book but more of a story of his life -  why he started off in Australia and how he ended up riding Dorothy home to England.

 'I'd been out in Australia for nine months when I was suddenly told my visa was coming to an end. I had a return ticket to England, but was in no rush to get there and so I just set off riding, on the bike I already had, in the clothes I already owned, and made it up as I went along. I thought it might take me five months...'



Do you come from a land down under?

Setting off from Australia, his epic trip took him through many countries including East Timor, along Indonesia to Malaysia and Thailand before finding a way around Burma and on to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. India and Pakistan followed, and then he rode across the Himalayas on an 18,000 foot high road. He travelled on through China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, finally reaching England and home.  Just the sheer amount of groovy countries he travelled through make his adventures promising, how could you fail to have an interesting time travelling through such a variety of places and experiencing so many different cultures.

He says that his favourite countries were Thailand, East Timor and Pakistan and his book is full of his photos taken along the way.

True grit

The story is a human one cataloguing all his adventures as he trundled along on Dorothy.  Like all good adventures he had good times and bad and writes it all down, detailing what happened to him as he went along. He doesn't try to glamourise the story but gives an honest account of the highs and lows, the happiness, sadness, loneliness and fear and the true grit required to actually just keep on keeping on.

Post haste

Nathan's book was first released in Australia called 'Going Postal' but has been retitled 'The Long Ride Home' and had lots more pictures added for its international release.

Once he had finished the book his  feet started to itch again so he packed Dorothy up in a crate and put her on a plane bound for New York for a road trip across America taking in Route 66, The Rockies and on to Las Vegas and then eventually the Pacific and the Golden Gate bridge.

Interestingly he says that he found traversing America more challenging than his previous trip across the world, as the speed on the roads in America was much faster than Dorothy wanted to go and the routes more difficult! He felt lonely and vulnerable in the Mid West, and, just to be different, Death Valley was his favourite place.

And then...

Nathan plans to take Dorothy to Alaska in the Spring of 2013 and see what adventures await him there.  Let's hope Dorothy doesn't mind the cold  - perhaps he'll take some Fosters for her in case she gets homesick.  Nathan says that it is hard to stop once you have started on a life on the road:

'It's hard to stop once you've started because on the road you find so much freedom and space. No one is hassling you to do things or be someone you're not. You can just sit there on your bike and ride all day and get lost in the world, seeing things and meeting new people. After Alaska I'd love to ride down the Pan American Highway to Argentina, and then I guess we'd have no choice but to stop, or end up in the sea.'

To get the full picture plus lots of photos of travelling, pictures of Dorothy's rebuild and  where to buy his book have a look at Nathan Millward's website...

The Postman


No comments:

Post a Comment