One of the hardest lessons for us all was accepting gifts and hospitality, sometimes from very poor people, and realised we had no way to repay them – ever.
By: Sahrudin – @SahrudinSaja
RIDING a BMW GS with sidecar from their home in Waldaubach, Hessen, Germany; Kevin and Kerstin Holford embarked on a round-the-world trip in June 24, 2013.
They have journeyed to East Europe, East Asia, now Indonesia of South East Asia; and many other countries they will be visiting are Timor L’este, Australia including Tasmania, and New Zealand; countries and nations of the Americas (South, Central and North America); and will be returning home to Germany someday in 2016, hopefully in June as they planned, through many countries in the African continent.
Such a long distance riding unquestionably requires special considerations to their physical health.
On the other hand, several countries also require an ICVP (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis) from travelers coming from other countries.
But Kevin and Kerstin themselves have had vaccinations before journeying overseas.
“We have been vaccinated against rabies, hepatitis, yellow fever, cholera, meningitis, and a few more,” Kevin explained, Saturday, August 9, 2014.
(He and his wife currently in Bali, Indonesia. I still keep in touch with them using Facebook.)
Before heading off abroad, they also went to the doctor for a checkup, and they went to the dentist.
Every checkup included a physical examination where they make sure about their physical conditions.
In Kevin’s case, he needs to keep taking pills for blood pressure and blood thinning.
(In Germany, Kevin works in an industrial door manufacturer, but will retire at the end of the tour in 2016.)
Both he and Kerstin always try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
They sometimes walk up temples and mountains, and they do swimming and snorkeling wherever they can.
“Being on the road with the motorbike and tent seems to be good medicine in itself”, Mrs Holford smiled. “A lot of stress at times but more positive feelings.”
Living the life they dreamed off leaves them healthier than they have been in a long time.
Also, she said, being out in all weathers hardens them naturally, and motorcycling keeps them quite fit.
When they were riding in cold climates, they use heated motorcycle gear like heated gloves, heated vests, sleeping bag, jacket liners, and pants liners.
It seems like they have no problem traveling in a place where everyone can go at any time of year.
But oftentimes, they need to check the weather for each place they want to visit.
THEY have experienced many things, mostly for the first time in their life during this trip.
“Snorkeling, visiting volcanoes, riding through the desert, crossing a river on a bamboo raft,” Kerstin, who works as a mental health nurse in Germany, uttered.
While in Vietnam, they were trying homemade Vietnamese remedy on the roadside.
Their new experience include sleeping in homestays a way off places, and being invited to celebrate special days with families in different countries.
“The list is endless and continues to grow day by day…” Kerstin sighed.
But, “We have definitely found our limits.” Then she went into detail:
The spiciest hot food we’ve ever eaten.
The hardest bed we have ever slept on.
How long can you go without… showering?
How many times do we repair something before giving up and replacing it?
How many nights can we sleeping in a tent in the tropics before we need one night in a room with a fan?
How steep a hill we could climb before we can’t ride up anymore?
How deep of a hole can we still get our bike out of?
How deep can a river be to ride through and at what angle does the bike tip over?
How fast can we get through a bend without getting into trouble?
And also when to call it a day and give up – at least for today.
We have found ways of repairing and keeping going which we never thought possible.
We have developed skills to communicate without language and still had a conversation (of sorts).
We sometimes felt very big when we achieved something, but also very small when we lost our passports and had to rely on goodwill of immigration to help us.
Or, when we stood in front of a judge in Russia for overstaying our visa – without even properly knowing what was going on.
Or when we tried to get our bike out of a hole in the jungle of Sumatra for hours with no help, food or water, and not seeing anyone for hours to help us, and a deep drop down the hill behind us.
We have found the best and worst in people: our journey has restored our faith in humanity, but somehow not in mankind when we see the destruction of our planet and the results of greed of a few at the cost of many.
One of the hardest lessons for us all was accepting gifts and hospitality, sometimes from very poor people, and knowing we had no way to repay them – ever.
But behind it all, “We have seen a lot of beautiful, breathtaking nature too. And we are still curious for more and hope we can make it all the way – but who knows what will happen.”
Notably, Kerstin said: “Inshallah” — an Arabic expression, which means “if Allah wills” or “God willing”.
Gott segne Sie, Mr and Mrs Holford…***