I’m not one to bullshit for the sake of enhancing a story, nor will I skew camera angles to try and paint an impressive picture – especially when that picture already represents so much hard work. There is nothing easy about riding a motorcycle – on or off road – across foreign countries. A lot of the time everything is against you, be it the weather, the road, the authorities, the food, other people, your bike and sometimes even your health. Motonomad II is no holiday, it’s a window into the amazing life experiences available to you when travelling the world by bike. It’s a painfully magical journey where distance is the price of destination and value is limited only by your appreciation.
I always lose weight on these big rides, it’s inevitable. You can’t crawl out of your tent and ride 250km of gruelling terrain before having anything to eat, then punch out another 350km before dark – for 5-days straight – and expect your riding gear to fit you like it normally would. If not for the $20’000 worth of camera gear we’re carrying, we could no doubt accommodate more food surplus on our bikes, but when it’s all said and done, Motonomad II is a film production. Even if Motology Films had the budget for an entourage / film crew, how could I truly capture what it means to travel by motorcycle if I’ve got fixers and a production team on my arse, spoon-feeding me through the whole adventure? Aside from the fact a 4WD film crew wouldn’t get to half the places I’ve travelled, my philosophy is to represent every rider who’s ever packed their life onto a motorcycle and ventured off into the big bad world … unassisted.
It’s never a fairy tale ending either, and while it would be nice to just offload our bikes to an entourage and jump on a plane home, the logistical nightmare of organising freight begins. Adding to this pressure is the fact our team of three is now two, as Scott (M2) has exited the project and flown back to Australia from Ulaanbaatar. Hein and myself are now enduring the frustration of miscommunication with customs officials and shipping yard workers – none of whom speak english – to orchestrate the freight of our bikes back to Australia. Given we can’t get a confirmed date for processing by customs, means we can’t commit to pre-booking the available flights out of Ulaanbaatar. With that, our only option is to now take the Trans-Siberian railway into Beijing to reach our flights out of China!
With M1, M2 and M3 now safely loaded into a shipping container, the moto element of the journey is now over. But for Hein and myself, a 30-hour journey in an old Russian train on the Trans-Siberian railway to Beijing is going to be interesting to say the least …
Stay tuned, it’s not over yet.