Good Reading : May 2011
26 goodreading ı MAY 2011 There were many reasons that I decided to ride a motorcycle across the world. One of them was for the sense of adventure and to see if I could do it.The other was because I'd reached a point in my life when it just seemed like the best thing for me to do. I was an Englishman living in Australia, trying to make it work with Mandy, the girl I'd gone there for.Yet no matter how hard the pair of us tried it just never seemed to work out the way we wanted it to. I think we would have gone on trying to make it work forever had it not been for the Department of Immigration pulling the plug. They gave me just 20 days to leave the country. My first thought was to go home to England on the return flight ticket I already had booked. But Mandy had other ideas. She pointed to the old Australia Post bike sitting in the back garden -- a bike I'd bought from eBay to get me about Sydney -- and suggested, 'Why don't you do that trip you've always talked about?' I knew exactly which trip she was on about. It was the one that involved riding a motorbike around the world. But I never imagined doing it because it was just a pipe dream, one for which I'd always had too many excuses stopping me from actually doing. Now I had none. Mandy was telling me to go. So I thought about it for a second and said, 'Okay, I'll give a try.' Those 20 days were frantic. I took two of them to make a plan and to buy all the things I thought I might need: tools, camping gear and oil for the bike. In a bookshop in Glebe I even met Kevin Rudd, who signed my helmet and wished me luck. In the 18 days that followed I made my way to Darwin, hoping to get the bike on a boat to East Timor before the visa ran out. Somehow -- despite floods, breakdowns and the need for a replacement bike -- I made it to Darwin in time. I had no clue how I was going to get to England or what I would encounter along the way. I had no maps, no guidebooks and nothing planned in advance. Surprisingly, I soon discovered that it wasn't as daunting as it first seemed. Once you get out there, on the open road, with nowhere to head to but the horizon, everything just seems to come together and fall into place. All those problems I'd envisaged either never happened, or if they did I'd find myself so focused on my destination that they didn't seem so difficult to overcome after all. From East Timor I rode west into Indonesia, island hopping from Timor to Flores to Sumbawa to Bali, then up through Java and Sumatra until I could find a way of getting the bike across to Malaysia -- which ended up being on a vegetable boat. From Malaysia I crossed into Thailand, and along the way I went through Nepal, India, Pakistan, over the Himalayas into China and then westwards until I reached England -- nine months, 18 countries and 35 000 kilometres later. I now realise that I put myself in incredible danger. I rode into Pakistan just as 500 000 people were being displaced through fighting, and suicide SPECIAL DELIVERY Englishman NATHAN MILLWARD had 20 days to leave Australia before his visa expired. Instead of taking the easy way out by plane, he decided to go home overland on an old decommissioned Australia Post motorbike. Here he tells gr about what started him on his journey, some of the dangers he encountered ontheway–andthe wise advice for personal protection that a café worker in Mt Isa gave him. behind the book Nathan Millward The trip was never about the sightseeing, but I had to stop and see the Taj Mahal.