I love this interview with Deniz of cosmosianstravels. Not only does she have an amazing bike (a BMW F650 of course!) but she has very wise words for anyone thinking of embarking on an overland motorcycle adventure. Or any adventure for that matter! Enjoy the interview.
What country’s have you traveled to? How many of them by bike?
It’s quite a lot. With the bike alone I could count 18 countries in Europe and Asia.
When did you start riding a bike?
I discovered this passion in me when I crossed paths with my travel partner during his around the world trip two years ago. Before that I literally hadn’t ridden any bike, but I had been fond of cycling. I got my license in November 2011. At that time I didn’t have a bike. I was working in Austria and the winter was coming so I didn’t have the occasion to ride again after the 5 days training. So officially I started riding and learning how to ride an enduro bike right after buying Tesla on July 2012. After finding my bike, my partner, Martin trained me for few days, then we started crossing borders and our journey towards Indonesia started. Starting with a big bike cost me some flashers and bruises at the beginning but it was definitely worth it.
How did you decide to go on an overland motorcycle trip?
The decision enforced itself. I’ve been dreaming about it without knowing that it could happen so soon. When the right time and the right partner came, there was no hesitation.
Once you made the decision to go, how did you prepare for the trip?
Before starting the long route, I got to learn all the basics and important details concerning overland motorcycling from Martin during our short excursion trips. He helped me a lot to figure out how I should pack and what we should carry essentially. At the beginning I was still a bit two heavy but through the months I came to learn what to eliminate and what is really necessary.
He also taught me the basic mechanics about motorcycles, the anatomy of it, how to to the oil change etc. I have been an enthusiastic curious student even though sometimes a bit clumsy to hold a screwdriver 🙂
We didn’t have a strict plan for the route while preparing. We have mostly chosen to go with the flow and to adapt ourselves to the circumstances.
Also, I think the preparation period was including closing my apartment, selling few things of mine, leaving the rest of my stuff at our home in my home town where my mom lives, completing my dissertation, saying good bye to important people in my life. I even think that these all were even more challenging than the packing and hitting the road. The latter was easier.
What advice would you give a newbie rider planning on their first trip?
– Don’t plan too much, because the journey has some other plans for you 🙂 but it’s good to have a rough mind map along with the awareness that it will most probably change.
– Carry the basic tools you may need and get familiar with how the bike works
– Complete the documents you need to carry for all border crossing you`re gonna make.
Pay attention to the dates ( By experience: one time in Malaysian border, we realized we stayed one extra day and had to pay a little fine).
– Carry lubricants – including for your eyes, especially for the times you ride in the dust and heavy traffic you will need it.
– It will not be easy, but it`s gonna be unforgettable and will transform you profoundly!!!
– Breath & Enjoy 😉
What was your best experience?
There are so many, however our ride in the sandy volcanic crater of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia was a life time experience.
I think in general this whole adventure was one of the best thing that happened to me and as it was just the beginning, the more is yet to come 🙂
What was your worst experience?
I am not sure which one was the worst one but we had couple of unpleasant situations.
The mechanical and electrical problems we had with our bikes along the way and to be able to find the parts we needed right away was part of the deal and they were not so bad. One time, when we were leaving Bangkok, my bike started to make some strange sounds and just stopped working. Fortunately, I had a good friend to save us with a trailer at the end of the day we had to spend in a gasoline station. But then we had to stay 2 more extra weeks in Bangkok to figure out the problem.
Another one was again in the middle of jungle in Northern Thailand while having a storm in a muddy dirt road which was around 35-40 km. Due to my level of experience, I was worried, anxious and at one point I wasn’t sure if I could do it and it felt like nightmare but then I did it. Now when I look back, the moments like that helped me to face with my fears, to be cool, patient and to do my best how impossible the situation looks like.
So I cannot consider them as bad at all. I appreciate them.
Your favorite thing about overland motorcycle travel?
It is such wonderful experience with each and every detail of it: moving with the bike, feeling the wind and smells, capability to ride on any kind of surface depending on your bike and skills, being in connection with your vehicle & maintaining it, learning how to fall and get up.
For me riding is a kind of meditation where my mind finds ease and it makes me feel connected with the flow of life. At that moment, it stops being about pieces, parts or the bike. I think the whole thing is about getting out there, to be vulnerable and open to unexpected, experiencing the adventure moment by moment.
A motorcycle journey offers one the opportunity to face with the unknown, act despite the uncertainty and to discover and go beyond personal limits, both physically and emotionally. For good measure, it improves attentiveness to the present moment.
Did you have a supportive environment or did people tell you were crazy and that you would be better off at home worrying about a career and a family? How did that influence you (or did it)?
I got a wide variety of reactions: worries, astonishment, fear, support… My close friends who know me, they didn’t get surprised much as they are familiar with my life choices. In Turkey, in relation with our cultural and socio-economic background people often tend to have more traditional or secure life styles. Therefore some friends or family members were afraid that I was risking my life, my career etc. Yes some called me crazy, some called me rebellious, some even told me “why don’t you wait for your retirement?”… In our cultural context (also in many social contexts around the world) what I/we do may sometimes be conceived as `out of line` or dangerous, adventurous life though it is just another life path. Yet I believe people who have been worrying about me like my mom is doing that out of love and I am grateful for their concern and care.
I had an intense period facing with all these different reactions while preparing for the trip. I was so determined to go on my path, however of course all these reactions created some dilemmas inside my head for a while. But as the journey started and went on, each and every day I knew that I absolutely made the right decision.email or leave a comment, we have a series of questions that we would send you to fill out, and of course links, pictures, etc. are welcome! Thanks and safe travels!