A collection of shots from my lead up to the Silk Road.
This part of the journey alone would stretch over 2-3 years of serious working prior to my actual traversing of the Silk Road.
What took so long is that; myself and my mate Nikko Kourieffs, attempted to build the perfect motorcycle for the trip. We took an old ’81 Honda XL500s and rebuilt it from scratch. When we were done the only thing that remained from the original was half the frame and the exterior of the engine. Everything else was modded, ripped from other motorcycles or fabricated from scratch.
Our intent was that the final machine would be an absolute dual-sport weapon. Both small and sturdy, low to the ground at the seat but with a high clearance underneath. Reinforced suspension, reinforced frame and heavy duty panniers, with thick flexible walls and a slim profile. It was weighted perfectly to myself and my gear. And it had some neat features, like an extended 30L fuel tank and dual electrical systems – one 6V running the bike and a 12V with step downs for USB; charging all the accessories, lights and camera gear – both systems were charged by the bikes running and a solar system that lived on the back of the bike.
It was total overkill – but that’s what happens when you give yourself too much time to prep for something, too much time to overthink something.
In the end, it didn’t make the trip.
I’m not joking.
The bike was confiscated by the police on registration in Sydney. The frame had been acquired off a person (who won’t be named) who’d bought it second hand without checking the serial numbers. Sure enough, they were stolen (I never checked, assuming wrongly, that my mate wouldn’t be stupid enough to buy stolen goods) and the bike came up on the system of the police. The whole vehicle was taken – 2 years of work, a large investment of money and countless hours – down the drain.
But hey … you win some and you lose some.
That all aside- it was, in it’s own right, it’s own little adventure and a story worth telling.
At the bottom is a little snippet from my old blog; telling the story of the last week of frantic work trying to get it over the line and over to Japan.
At the time that was written, the news that the bike had been confiscated wouldn’t reach me for 3 days.
I was already in Japan waiting for it to be freighted to me.
Written 27 Apr 16
Sydney, Australia – 2 days before leaving
– People have been asking me all week long “Are you excited?” I’m going to be honest and say the answer has been thoroughly no. I know I’m meant to be but when you’ve been planning and working towards something for 2 years and it comes down to the line on the last week you’re leaving, I can’t feel anything but worry.
My plans are going awry before my eyes in the last few days before I leave and I’ve had few ideas on how I’m going to fix it… till today.
Now there comes a point, sometimes in life, where you edge yourself in a corner. You didn’t mean to get to where you find yourself, small choices and chance occurrences pushed you into somewhere that you don’t want to be.
I find myself in one such corner right now. And it’s a very, very bad corner. I have to leave this week and the Honda, while finished, isn’t even painted, hasn’t had a test run and still needs to be registered.
Sometimes you’ve just got to make the best of a bad situation and push through and that’s what I’m doing now.
There’s a new plan in place now. The bike is being picked up by my cousin who’s working in tandem with Niko the mechanic to get it fixed and registered and on a plane to Japan. This isn’t going to happen quickly but it’s the only solution.
At several points last night I was so worried trying to get everything done that I felt physically ill. I’ve never had that before, not once in my entire life and I’m no stranger to stressful situations.
Regardless, I kept it together if only with the help of my friends.
You’re always going to feel lthat maybe you’re leaving something good for something that won’t be as great as what you think it is. You always think maybe if I wait a little longer, the timing will be better, maybe all these things wouldn’t be going wrong and I’ll be ready.
But this feeling is always wrong.
There’s always going to be something at home holding you back, tying you down, stopping you from venturing out – excuses in your own mind stopping you from doing so.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD TIME TO LEAVE. You just have to do it and find out whether it was the right choice later.
The last week had ruined me. In the 3 days before I left, I got 1 hour sleep. So many things weren’t ready in time. There was nothing for it, I just knuckled down and focused on what was important.
I was exhausted to the point I literally couldn’t remember my own address at one point.
The last few things down, my stuff thrown into storage, my rental cleaned out. The Honda passed on to the boys for freight.
I got to the airport, Sydney to Brisbane connecting flight to an 8hr flight to Narita Japan. I kept passing out in the airport terminals at both Sydney and Brisbane but luckily I didn’t miss my flights.
I’m writing this on the plane to Narita.
And for the first time I start to allow myself to feel a little excited for what’s to come.