Early January of this year, I realized I could no longer stay in The Netherlands. I had to get back on the road, get back to work and start filming. Returning to South America and resuming my journey to Alaska would not be an option in the near future, but where to go then? Which country will provide me with a visa and what is the best way to organise my motorcycle travels in the current situation we are in?
Motorcycle Travel Option 1, 2 or 3
In my blog budgeting your next motorcycle trip, I wrote about the three options you have as a motorcycle traveler:
Ship or ride your own motorcycle that is registered in the country of your residence to your destination,
Rent a motorcycle locally, or
Buy a motorcycle locally.
After weeks of studying the world map and checking with different embassies whether their borders were open and visas were issued, I came to the conclusion that option 1, traveling by my own bike (Ronin), was simply a bad idea.
The risk of getting stuck in a country due to Covid-19, as it happened to me in Peru in 2020, is still a reality that can happen overnight. Getting yourself out of a country in lockdown will be challenging, but getting your own motorcycle out again is often impossible. It had taken me 8 painful months of emails, paperwork, frustration, and a significant amount of money to ship Dhanno out of Peru. I didn’t want to end up in a similar situation for Ronin.
Renting a motorcycle locally would eliminate this risk. The problem with renting a motorcycle though is that it can get quite expensive in the long run, and you can’t really modify a rental bike to your liking. Often you also have to return your rental to the company you rented it from, or you are not allowed to take the rental bike across borders. Additionally, there are sometimes restrictions regarding riding off-road.
With options 1 and 2 out of the window, only option 3 remained. Buying a motorcycle locally, explore that country by bike, and then sell the bike again when I leave. Then travel to another country and repeat the same process again. It’s not how I had envisioned my travels on a motorcycle, but in this ‘new’ world, it’s the best next thing!
Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, or Nepal?
The next challenge was figuring out where in the world I was going to relocate myself to. I had on my shortlist Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nepal. These were all countries I hadn’t travel through on a motorcycle yet. And I wouldn’t go there on an overland trip anytime soon either.
When I contacted their embassies, I learned that Japan, Indonesia, and Nepal didn’t allow me in. Pakistan initially was still providing visas but three weeks into the visa application process, they denied my visa because of my Dutch nationality. The Netherlands was classified as a “Class C”- country (whatever that means) and all visa applications were put on hold for those countries. I briefly considered Australia or New Zealand but their borders are still firmly shut for non-residents too.
Until then, I hadn’t considered going to a country on the African continent because I was planning to do a full African tour after I had finished my journey to Alaska. But I realized I had to abandon that idea and live in the moment. And at that time, I needed a new home. A new country to live and ride in! The Southern African countries had just opened their borders again and were allowing people to enter.
After my Pakistan visa was denied, I made the decision that it was time for Africa! Within a week of setting my eye on South Africa, I’d bought a plane ticket, packed my things, got my negative Covid test result, and boarded the plane to Johannesburg.
Buying a South African motorcycle
Upon arrival, I didn’t waste a single day. It was time to buy a local motorcycle. I wanted to start riding and filming again as soon as possible. I’d already searched online for motorcycle shops selling second-hand bikes. There was only a handful of them in Johannesburg, so I selected the one that had the most promising bikes for sale and booked a guesthouse close to this shop.
It turned out I didn’t have to visit any other bike shop. The Honda CRF250L that I had spotted online, the cheapest bike they had, was still for sale. After a quick walk around and a test ride, I was the proud owner of yet another Honda!
I have to admit that the guys at the Fire it Up motorcycle shop, where I bought my bike, were really helpful. Within three days I had bought a bike that was kitted out the way I wanted, and also all the paperwork was done so I could hit the road again. Three days, an absolute record for starting a new motorcycle adventure!
Watch the start of my new Season here.
Hi you are the best. I absolutely love your videos!!!! By when can we expect your book or books covering your travels?
Hi Werner, not any time soon I am afraid. Too busy with making content for my YouTube channel :-). Best Noraly
Just caught up with the Walvis Bay episodes.
What an adventure running after baby seals and saving them from a horrible death. A very worthwhile occupation for the team and now after your report hopefully a boost to their funding from your followers.
I remember reading many years ago that sailing ship seal hunters would chop of fingers that had been bitten by seals because the infection from the bight would result in a horrible death!
What a variety of gems you saw.
Great education re the geology too, I hope the locals get enough to survive on.
Thanks again Noraly
PS Folks. I got Itchy socks and T shirt, 1st class! My Itchy feet are going to be cosy ;-)
Hello Noraly ! a big thank you for "your" email informing me of the availability of the new tubed scarve, perfect communication as usual, suddenly order placed ! i really appreciated and devored your blog about Savannah, having the road version of your engine on my Honda CBR 250 R (slightly more powerfull 27,4ch/din), i find it the same qualities as Savannah, lightness (161kg/all full facts), handling, and ridiculous fuel cosumption (3,2l/100km), in short it drives like a bicycle ! well, it is certain that i never ride on washbords like you ! ;)
Thank you again for all your beautiful images, with Savannah, the dream continues !
Be well noraly, and ride safe !
Eric alias Ayrton
Hi Noraly, thank you for taking your precious and rare time to answer me again and again. Just a remark i am surprised that the Savannah counter is graduated in kilometers per hour and not in miles for a machine bought in South Africa... considering buying a Royal Enfield Himalayan if you had the time in a nutshell you who have done miles time with it in real and difficult conditions what are in main advantages and disadvantages ? i think i am speaking to the right person at this subject... thank you again for your availability and since it is currently the same time in France, as you say so well with your lovely accent : Bon appétit !
It wouldn't be the same Noraly if you didn't do the riding and exploring and left the editing to someone else. Your talent behind the computer and keyboard editing make everything you record so enjoyable. And I love every bit of season one as well, you should be very proud of the editing there as well.
Good morning Noraly !
And thank you for your quick response, Eric PIAZZA (Alias Ayrton) the old French biker again...
I still have few questions to ask you : are you the one who selects the very appropriate musics for your videos ?
In the same way is it you too performs the perfect edits of the incredible and captiving videos ? Here i am can be indiscreet, but anyway it makes me wants to follow you further each time... Hoping that the famous Poffertjes of your flat country so flowered with tulips (fabulous Keukenhof !) do not miss you too much under the heat of Namibia... i had the opportunity to taste the preliers and visit the second after having visited the famous Airborne Hartenstein museum in Arnhem (Montgomery's crazy plan of Market-Garden, i am very found of the history of the second world war...)
Take care Noraly, best biker feelings from France.
Yes, Ayrton, I edit and select the music myself. The FAQ-page may provide you some more general information about me, as does the About-page :-)
Hello dear Lady Noraly, here i am this time registered on your new site, very well done and structured well done ! Even more exciting to follow your biker adventures around the world... So two questions again : however when do we see you in France ? and do you know if and when the tubed scarf edition 2021 stock will be restocked ? Take care in Namibia, it looks risky sometimes with ghost barrier posts...
Hi Ayrton, Thanks for your comment. No idea when I will be in France, I don't plan that far ahead :-). More news about the tubed scarf in a few weeks...