Heather Ellis is an Australian writer, journalist and motorcyclist with 40 years of riding experience She rode her Yamaha TT600 enduro motorcycle through Africa, Europe, Central Asia and into China and Vietnam from 1993 to 1997.
A Search By Motorcycle Through Africa
A Travel Memoir
As a young woman of 28 years, I had reached that point in life when I questioned its purpose. It was then that the idea to ride a motorcycle through Africa and beyond was realised.
I felt inexorably that this was what I was meant to do. It was this inner drive which gave me the courage to follow my dream and not fall victim to doubts, which only breed hesitation and inaction. What have we really got to lose by following our dreams?
I had ridden motorcycles all my life and traded my 250cc trail bike for a Yamaha TT600 off-road enduro. I resigned from my job as a radiation safety technician at a uranium mine in northern Australia and rode down the West Australian coast to Perth to board a cargo ship to South Africa. A work colleague joined me for a few months leaving Africa from Kenya. I rode on alone through Central and North Africa, Europe, Central Asia and back to Australia via China. I got lost in a desert, was befriended by armed bandits, survived London as a motorcycle courier, was detained by police in Russia and lived a thousand lifetimes a day.
The hours spent in my helmet all those years ago gave me time to reflect on the good fortune, chance meetings and coincidences which occurred with frequent, almost daily, regularity as I rode through many of the world's most remote and dangerous places.
The experiences of my four year motorcycle ride are the threads that weave my story together to leave the reader both entertained and inspired to believe in their own dreams and the energy that drives it: to trust in it and to follow their own intuitions.
I ask: Do thoughts somehow generate vibrations that in turn influence the energy that surrounds us all, paving the way, to achieve our dreams, to live our lives? It is from asking this question that I have always been driven to write my story to share as something of value.
“In the old days when we were young, a traveller through our country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or water. Once he stops, the people give him food at the table. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”
Ubuntu, a Zulu word meaning: I am who we are.
The Ted Simon Foundation encourages those who adventure into the world to go the extra mile and transform their experiences into something of value for the world to share.