This is the grand idea. We would all like to have the time and money to buy a new shiny bike and travel the world for years. However most of us have jobs that we endeavour to keep, kids, a dog and a mortgage to boot. We are intending to present a budgeted, incremental, ‘less covered’ style that we feel has merit in a world of mammoth round the world trips. We feel that newcomers to the world of Adventure Riding are daunted at the most common method. We are here to put across another variation on the theme- exploring the world one place at a time.
Fern- I graduated from UK camping adventures, to a Norway wild camping/biking trip, up to riding from UK to Nepal, solo in 2012 via Central Asia and China. I lived in New Zealand for 3 years, and returned to UK year before last to come and rejoin the real world, spend more time with family and save up for more adventures. I’ve always seen myself as a solo female traveller until I met this reprobate in my neighbouring town upon returning from NZ. I knew him through a popular internet forum and wanted to pick his brain about Pyrenean trail routes. I popped round for a cup of tea and found we had a lot in common.
Ferdie – I only passed my motorcycle test in spring 2013 after a chance meeting with a guy in the Western Sahara. I took part in the Dakar challenge with my little brother and a school friend. We donated a car to a hospital but the catch was you had to drive it there 4500 miles though Europe and north and west Africa. This 3 week trip changed my life forever. The chance meeting involved me piloting an old XR400 across the desert, reigniting something I had not felt since my teens. Having returned home I set to work immediately booking my test for a cold April afternoon. I have since then immersed myself in adv motorcycling, only to one day read an article about Fern in a magazine…and here we are!
We have still have intentions to save up and do a big RTW trip. I am really trying to convey to Ferdie the pure joy of jacking your job in, and riding off into the sunset, experiencing amazing countries, and the contrast of shithole border towns and tough tough days in the saddle.
On my motorcycle holiday I would normally go round the UK or maybe Spain for two weeks on my bike with the lads. Though time kind of limits how far you get before you have to turn round. I’m not saying these aren’t adventures because I’ve had a smashing time in the pyrenees. But I wanted something more of a culture shock. More than the labels in the supermarket being in a funny language. Somewhere the menu wasn’t amusingly translated. I wanted to go where all the ride reports & talks take me. However, it would mean a year plus off work and tens of thousands of pounds to ride round the world and visit all these far off places…. So that was that, I took my 2 weeks annual leave and visited the Pyrenees again.
After knowing Fern a while her talk of prior adventures started me wondering if you could just fly in to these far away places and rent a bike and explore for a week or 10 days and have a mini moto adventure on a budget. Do the tourist bit and bounce. I was pleasantly surprised when after a bit of research I found that it was doable for about a grand each, on 3 continents. So after a bit more research I booked 2 flights to Thailand. We had 4 months to get the other bits together international driving licences, travel insurance etc.
Well there isn’t much else to do really, you have to look at a few places on Google you want to visit, make a rough itinerary. We don’t ordinarily book anything up in advance other than the flights. It’s more of an adventure that way, not knowing where you end up each night. Just go where the bike takes you.
We take all our stuff in a big 90 litre kit bag each. Helmets, jackets, boots, tools, tubes, clothes cameras etc.
Google, Booking. com, and other websites like Skyscanner make it so easy to arrange everything yourself.
So to recap. What is the Grand Idea…
🏍️ Bikes £20/£30 per day – £250 (10 days)
We tend to choose 250cc honda bikes as they are electric start, light weight, have off road tyres and are good on fuel (200km+) and are cheap. As little as £18 per day in Thailand.
🍴 Food/ 🛏️ bed/ ⛽ fuel £20/30 per day – £350 (14 days)
While riding we normally stock up the tank bag with snacks, biscuits, fruit, crisps every few days. Stopping at roadside huts, cafes and grills for lunch. Thailand was about £1 each for lunch. Then pushing the boat out for dinner and spending £2/£3. Morocco was a bit more.
We tend to ride wherever the mood takes us, off road, on road into the unknown. Then once sufficiently tired just pull into a town, quick swipe of the phone hotel app, see what we like and just turn up.
Fuel is cheap enough and in Morocco and Thailand. About £5 to fill the bike average and run 200km. Some days we used a tank and a half, other days less than.
✈️ Flight £400
You will be amazed at the variations on getting to a place. For Thailand it was cheaper to fly via China and we could still fly into the north and fly out of Bangkok for less than £400 return.
Morocco, the budget carriers like Ryanair and Easyjet are reasonable if you are flexible, as low as £100 return.
Flights to Peru had a varied price range. You could get there for £495 if you were willing to fly to France the night before, back on yourself to Amsterdam the next day and after a wait, onward to Lima. We chose to fly via Columbia changing at Bogata to Cusco for £680, as this was a night flight and would put us in Machu Picchu country the next morning.
🏍️ + 🍴🛏️⛽ + ✈️ = 💰£1000 This is the grand idea formula!!.
It’s no secret, but it was surprising how many people didn’t realise it could be done so cheaply, without hassle and to much preplanning.
This is RTW Patchwork adventure lite. Not having to get the bike ready for shipping, insurance, import paperwork the list goes on. It’s just getting on that plane with a book and sandwich In hand and smiling when thinking how many border crossing you will be missing out on flying there. I feel that riding a bike for 2 weeks round a country without a tent, huge panniers with tyres balanced on top, deadlines, bureaucracy and border crossing is to be admired. I’ve travelled the West Coast of Africa in a hurry and found I saw more of Morocco while bumming about on a bike for 10 days than I did while overlanding to my distant destination. And as you have guessed border crossing were not my fondest memories.
If your currently planning a RTW trip this probably isn’t the blog for you. Lol. I jest, fern and I are truly planning to go around the world on our own bikes at some point . Life just keeps getting in the way. I often worry I will never have the time and money or crucially both. So while we wait for our inheritance or pensions we are engaged in fly and try before we ride or die.
When we do motorcycle trips time stands still and 10 days feels like 3 weeks. I think we are just more aware of our surroundings on a bike and everything is new and not our bland learnt routines.
Just for a couple weeks I can feel like a child again experiencing everything for the first time. This is one of the reasons we do these trips, momentary breaks from the European traps treadmill, without having the cost and disruption to the finances and home life a bigger trip brings. The joy of the fly ride. Flying to a destination, renting bikes, travelling lite and exploring off the beaten track.
I’m convinced that in life you can have either stuff or experiences and over time I’ve noticed the stuff weighs you down, making the latter evermore unattainable.
Light weight and exclusive, maybe memories are the best thing you’ll ever have.….