The End

(just found this draft after 18 months at home… oops.)  Written while in London at the end of our trip in October 2016.

The last few days this has been running through my head

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end.

So here we are in London, at the end of an amazing journey, getting ready to begin another one at home. The last 14 months have been quite extraordinary, and I feel truly blessed to have had the time, motivation and especially the most amazing travelling partner to have made this trip with, Betsy has been brilliant… and Sal isn’t bad either 😉

As we rode out of Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a wow moment with the realisation that this was the last time we’d be aboard Betsy in a foreign country. It was a cold Dutch morning and we were zooming along the icy freeway, but the sun broke through in spots, Betsy was purring and my heated grips were pouring energy into my cold hands.

For a little while it was complete bike Zen and I was king of the world, it was a moment of realisation that left me with a lump in my throat. We were going to arrive in London, in good health, good spirits, and even the bike was still running great. We’d done it.

Life doesnt get much better.

Then we (I!) missed 4 turns in a row on the 6 lane highway and had to make a 20km detour… (I find punching the tank to be quite therapeutic at these times).

Long distance motorcycle travel certainly isn’t for everyone, but I’ve learned that travel is never really rewarding unless it’s hard. If you can put up with the heat (or cold!), the long days battling insane traffic, the filthy rooms (or the tent!), the constant rhythm of arriving and leaving, and a complete lack of any creature comforts, then you can find a world of beautiful chaos filled with colourful foods, friendly people, absurd situations and amazing views.

This past year we’ve been fortunate enough to dive with the majestic manta rays in Indonesia, we’ve visited ancient temples in Cambodia, made fast friends and experienced extraordinary hospitality in all corners of the world. We battled the insane traffic of India and were rewarded with the seldom seen sights and sounds of the subcontinent, not always very nice, but absolutely unforgettable.

We’ve experienced the incredible bravery of the Pakistani military who guarded us from the Taliban as we travelled to China, we ate sheeps ass in Xing Xang, we were frozen solid in the highland grassy mountain passes of Kyrgyzstan but survived to see the most incredible scenery in the world. We spent a week following the Afghan border waving to small curious children and smiling shepherds, we followed the Silk road through the former glory of the blue city of Samarkhand, fought tooth and nail against corrupt police in Turkmenistan, and were befriended by countless people in Iran who showed us kindness that is sadly missing in our world.

We drank Prosecco in Prosecco, Valpolicella in Valpoolicella, Soave in Soave, Barolo in Barolo, Rioja in Rioja, and Bordeaux in Bordeaux!!

We slept in bamboo huts on the beach with million dollar views, $10 price tags and free bed bugs, we ate in roadside stalls where filthy shoeless children wash the plates in polluted river water, but they serve the best dahl and samosas you will ever find, we saw horses run wild in fairy tale landscapes and drank fermented mares milk from a pig’s carcass. Our hands and feet were frozen more times than I remember, and our eyes stung from the salt in the sweat pouring down our brows as we took in views of places and landscapes that will remain etched in our memories forever.

It’s been beautiful, it’s been horrible, it’s been brilliant, hard, fun, extraordinary, boring, frustrating, filthy, dusty, freezing, hot, non-stop adventure! It’s been EPIC.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning…

Friends family and laughter

It’s Sally here (sorry mum 😉) writing what will probably be my last blog post 😢

We’ve finally made it to our destination in Essex, England where we’ve been spending time with my lovely family and getting Betsy ready for take off!

Prior to getting to England we spent some time in Holland which we absolutely loved ☺️

After the night we spent in a tree house we rode to Amsterdam to see our friend Deborah whom we met on the border of Cambodia and Laos during a stand off with some dodgy customs officers which in retrospect we are very happy happened!

A coffee break to escape the rain

A coffee break to escape the rain

As we were staying at Deb’s flat in Amsterdam we needed to get Betsy in an elevator so we could store her in the underground bicycle parking area… Maybe not something you are ‘supposed’ to do and certainly not a situation Betsy has been in before but we made it work (just) despite a few odd looks from other residents. Everyone in Holland is super cool though so we usually just got encouraging smiles 😊

Once we were inside Deb’s flat, armed with wine, snacks and Jenga she told us that she was giving us her apartment for as long as we wanted it and was going to stay with a friend. This was so incredibly kind of her but we felt bad making her sleep elsewhere, besides, we wanted to hang out with her… We’ve had enough alone time!!

‘Stay here with us Deb!’ I said ‘I’ve had enough Dean time and he’s had enough Sally time’

We tried not to look to desperate for different company 😉

Due to her having to work she spent the first night with a friend and the rest of the weekend we hung out riding bikes, drinking, dancing and playing Jenga… It was lots of fun and so nice to see a different, more local side of Amsterdam.

Biking in the rain Amsterdam style

Biking in the rain Amsterdam style


Dean and Deb

Dean and Deb

I was a little scared of the Dean + booze + bicycle combination after our ‘incidents’ in Italy but he managed to keep it together and it was me that got very drunk and went tumbling off the back of a bike on to the road…. Apparently I rolled and jumped straight up and back on the bike so no blood or bruises and police were avoided (unlike the ‘incidents’ in Italy…). The guy riding the bike I fell off of wasn’t so impressed with my gymnastics and told me I wasn’t allowed to ride with him again. I didn’t blame him even though I thought I was managing quite well!

The begginings of another Jenga game

The begginings of another Jenga game

The beginnings of a big night!

The beginnings of a big night!

We sadly left Deb’s place and rode to Bruges in Belgium which is a cute medieval town where we spent the night walking around trying the local beers and feeling a little sad that it was our last night on the road but also happy to be getting ready for the trip home.



We made our way to Calais the next day with plenty of time up our sleeves for the ferry to England. We’d heard about ‘The jungle’ which is what they’ve named the refugee camp there and  heard there may be delays.

We rode past ‘The jungle’ which was a pretty sad sight and the smell of burning rubbish reminded us of India. It makes everything so much more real when you see the reality that these people live in everyday surrounded by barbed wire.

'The Jungle' surrounded by barbed wire

‘The Jungle’ surrounded by barbed wire

Calais was dead so we had no delays, in fact we got an earlier boat. This allowed us time to have lunch in an English pub before heading to Essex and spending the evening laughing, talking and eating pizza with my lovely aunt, cousins and their respective partners ❤️

Dean cleaning the bike...

Dean cleaning the bike…

The last two days have been spent cleaning every millimetre of Betsy and all that she contains ready for Australian quarantine. She is now sparkly and shiny and all we have to do now is pray for no rain on Monday when we take her 150km to Surrey to the freight company who are putting her on a plane to Melbourne…. hopefully, fingers crossed, in time to meet us!