My name’s Brian, and this is my wife, Shirley.
There’s something about it. I dunno, we surround ourselves with all the goods and trappings of life, and when you power your life down to living out of those little boxes on the side of the motor bike, and each other, that’s what life’s all about. You really find out about yourself and how you can cope.
I’ve been a motorcyclist all my life. I love that experience where all in one day, you can go from the hills in Peru, feeling the bite-ness in the air where its zero degrees at five kilometers high, and then you come down beautiful twisty roads to the Pacific Ocean, and it’s 30-plus degrees celsius.
And it’s great to be able to share that with your partner. Shirley does an amazing job sitting on the back of the bike, day in day out.
I’m Brian’s wife. I have no desire to ride myself, but, I’m a pillion in a million. Sat on the back of that motorcycle for 60-plus thousand kilometers on this trip. The motorcycle is our home, our transport, it carries our worldly possessions, and it carries trinkets from home, things that are important to us. We’re like little turtles.
Some days can be tough and hard whether it’s raining and cold…or dry and hot! People always say, “Oh, when it’s hot, that must be really good on the bike.” I heard someone use this analogy – “Stand in your bathroom, get your hair dryer out, turn it on your face and leave it there for about three hours. See how you like riding in the heat.”
But the motorcycle is a conduit to making really good friends. There’s a camaraderie about motorcycling, and there’s a fascination with the public that they like to know what we’re doing. When you ride into a gas station, people come up to you: “Oh, nice bike. Where have you been? Where are you going? Where have you come from? Oh, you’re Australian.” You don’t find that when you fuel up a car.
And that just develops a bond. It’s a bond that no one cares how old we are, what we’ve done in the past, what we’re gonna do in the future. It’s just the bond of travel and the bond of exploring new things.
The bike just breaks down all the barriers.
In 2011, after retiring from 36 years with the Victorian police, serving in the drug and homicide squads, Brian and Shirley packed up this bike and embarked on an 18 month journey. Starting in Santiago Chile, the southern most point in South America, they traveled to Deadhorse Alaska, the northernmost point in North America accessible by road. From there they continued to Europe and South Africa before making it back home to Australia. There’s more of their story here: http://www.aussiesoverland.com.au