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Reader Reviews

TIMELESS ON THE SILK ROAD: An Odyssey From London To Hanoi

UBUNTU: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa

 

It’s Joanna Lumley here: just to say that I have only just been able to get round to reading your book, Timeless on the Silk Road, which you so kindly sent me, so warmly inscribed…. and I am reeling from the impact of a sensationally brave adventure undertaken by someone facing up to the worst hand you could possibly be dealt. 
Heather, I loved it: Australians are always known to have guts, but you broke the bounds with your invincible attitude and sheer bloody-minded determination and courage.  Brava!! Bravissima! Re-visiting the Silk Road with you was a particular thrill and I send a thousand thanks and congratulations, you wonderful woman. xx Joanna, UK.

 

I’m not sure what lead me to your book Timeless On The Silk Road - the promise of adventure? Or maybe connecting to some sense of my own desire to experience my own journey? Who knows? (It’s probably more likely the extended lockdown we are enduring here in Melbourne!). Congratulations on a wonderful book. It is engaging and colourful and had me wanting more. Thank you for reminding us of the generosity and kindness of our fellow humans. It is much needed especially now. Dina, Australia.

I have just finished reading Ubuntu. Fantastic. What a journey and the way you write it's almost like being there with you. Thankyou once again for a great story especially during these COVID times when travel isn't an option.  Chris, Australia.

 

I've just finished reading both of your books. I absolutely love them! Thank you so much for taking me on these amazing journeys across the world during these crazy COVID times. Thank you also for sharing your passion, determination, resilience, and love of live. You are a true inspiration. Valentina, USA.

 

Just read your book Ubuntu and I would just like to take the opportunity to say your skill in writing and carrying the reader along is so captivating that when reading I become fully immersed in your world; visualising the scenery, imagining the people and gaining an understanding of how each particular day felt for you.  It was one of those books where I slowed my reading down as I wanted to avoid coming to the end; however I was comforted knowing that a second book was ready and waiting for me to purchase. I will be reading the second one even more slowly!!!!  
Timeless on a Silk Road’ was actually re-gifted to me by a work colleague who found it in an empty cafe in Brisbane. She said this find was during a time when she was feeling particularly low and your story gave her new perspective and support. I was re-gifted the book as this colleague felt it would speak to me and my approach to life as a woman (however my adventures are far far tamer). This back story to my particular copy added to my reading experience, wondering who else had held the book in their hands as they read and how did it shape their world.… with thanks again … Sue, Australia

 

Have meant to write to you  with thanks for Timeless on the Silk Road for some time  - things happen. My reason for purchasing the book was that I needed something to read on an ocean cruise. [I have not read many books in my life to busy?] So thank you. The book was indepth great reading. Llyod, Australia


Finally got time to finish Ubuntu last night. What a brilliant read. I'm so glad you put it on paper in the end. Sad the stigma of HIV almost stopped you. Don't let that bother you ever though. I've even seen people worried of stigma with catching covid lately! You're an incredible adventurer and writer. And brave! Can't wait to start on the Silk Road now, although work keeps getting in the way. Thanks again for sharing such a fabulous story!! I love that you worked with Cheryl Strayed too, loved her book as well. It's nice to know of other women who found their peace just being out in the world and in nature in times when image and made up faces ''seem" more important some days. Thank you! I learnt a lot, I always tried to isolate myself on my trips but I will look for Ubuntu when I'm out riding again. Sim, Australia

 

I felt compelled to tell you how much I enjoyed your amazing journey as chronicled in “Timeless on the Silk Road”. A friend gave me the book as a gift and it kept me enthralled throughout. You are one gutsy lady, I don’t think I or many others would have finished the trip in one piece. Martin, USA

 

I downloaded your book on my kindle to accompany me on my motorcycle journey from the South of France home to England and apart from stopping me moaning inwardly about the torrential rain and vicious blustering cross winds I have been utterly diminished by your courage, determination and strength of character in even attempting such a journey as a man let alone as a woman and most importantly suffering with slow diminishing health inevitably ending in death by AIDS. 
Thank you for your book and your writing style in that I have lived every experience with you, as a motorcyclist I have felt every spill and as a history and travel buff I have been enthralled by your insights and their historical settings. Thanks Chris, UK

 

I have just finished Timeless on the Silk Road after reading Ubuntu last year.  Calling it an adventure is an understatement.  Wow!  It’s too bad you weren’t able to get to Tibet.  I was in Lhasa in 1999 with an American tour group and the omnipresence of the Chinese was palpable. I was inspired by your determination to beat your illness, or at least live to your greatest extent possible.  I’m totally bummed that Covid is preventing me from spending some time in Italy.   Nina, Australia.

 

Hello from Johannesburg and congratulations on writing a sequel. Timeless On The Silk Road is actually more gripping to read than Ubuntu. Thank heavens you never found a taipan, or we would have been deprived of a biking story as inspirational as our own Joey Evan’s “Para To Dakar,”which I now rate along with Timeless as the two best, most honest and encouraging adventure biking tales ever told.

Please keep up all of your good, kind work and make sure that your TT ultimately finds a home where lots of people will see it and also be inspired by what you accomplished with it… Patrick, South Africa.

 

I have just read the last page of Ubuntu. What an inspiring story. I am so pleased that you endured to write it. I was raised in South Africa and I too, have ridden the road up Sani Pass, in 1977, on a Yamaha XT500 and over the top of the Lesotho mountains in freezing cold weather. Also spent a number of months in 2008 with my partner in Bagamoyo, Tanzania volunteering at a preschool for disadvantaged kids. Your strength and determination to undertake your trip and to stay the course is admirable. I found your book Ubuntu in the library and have just bought your second book Timeless On The Silk Road online. Bruce, Australia.

 

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your book Timeless On The Silk Road, which a friend bought for me recently, and you very kindly signed. I am back on bikes after a 10 year break as a stay at home dad, and the itch to tour is back. Don’t think I’ll do anything quite as adventurous as yet, but you never know.
Many thanks, again, for a great read, I shall get your African book Ubuntu soon. Chris, Australia.

  

Wow. I just finished Timeless On The Silk Road book and I'm just blown away. Thank you. Thank you for being so strong. This book will haunt me for a long time. I am so extremely glad to have read it. I kept looking at how much of the book remained and got sadder and sadder the closer I got to the end because I didn't want to be done reading your book. I purchased your 1st book Ubuntu immediately after finishing this one, and will be diving into that one tomorrow.
So. Much. Respect...  Lissa, USA

 

I just read Ubuntu and loved it. I grew up in South Africa and rode a bicycle up Africa in 1994 and your book brought back so many memories! Reading Timeless on the Silk Road gave me an insight. Thank you so much for the time and effort that you have put into your adventures and books, I have really enjoyed them and felt like I was there…Peter, Australia

 

Hi Heather, I received your book on Monday and finished it today. Epic adventure!  Your courage is amazing.  The book’s a great read. Cheers to your next awesome adventure on the TT. Fiona, Australia

 

With bated breath, I read your book Ubuntu about traveling in Africa. That's why I could not wait for its continuation in the form of Timeless On The Silk Road. Or maybe this second book will be published in Polish too? Artur, Poland

You are a star ! I thought Ubuntu was great BUT, having just finished reading Timeless on the Silk Road this morning, YOU NAILED IT 100%. So inspiring. Both of your books I have passed on to my partner Patricia who belongs to the Book Club of our local U3A (Unniversity of the 3rd Age) whom I am sure would just love reading your experience. John, New Zealand


Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed your book Ubuntu. I've read quite a few adventure motorcycle journey books from Ted Simon, Robert Persig, Niel Peart and Elsbeth Beard to name a few, however your book captured so well not just your own personal journey, but also the people and places. I spent a lot of time in West and South Africa and your book brought back lots of memories. At times beautiful, other time brutal, but you never lost your faith in human kindness, and for the most part, you proved that the world is full of decent people. I've just started reading Timeless on the Silk Road, and once again you have become my night time reading. You are an inspiration. Craig, Canada

 

I just finished Ubuntu, Wow! What a story, what an experience and what an adventure !!  It has got to be the best real life story I've read in a long while. It has it all, and is so honest and readable. Thank you for writing it and sharing, and I'm sure it is such an encouragement to others to follow their convictions. Love and Blessings... Valmai, Australia


Heather, I am a third of the way through Ubuntu, and thoroughly enjoying every second of this adventure. Your writing so much includes the reader that I feel I am right there with you, almost as you, and its exhilarating. Thank you for sharing your travel adventures. Will certainly be reading your book on the Silk Road... Naomi, Australia

 

Hi Heather,  I’ve just finished Timeless On The Silk Road with that strong feeling that I was meant to read it and at this time too. Thank you, thank you so very much and words cannot express.  I’m about to download Ubuntu. Thank you again for sharing your story.  Rhesa 

 

Hi Heather,  Thank you so much for the book. I purchased it from you when you spoke to our meeting at Ulysses Glasshouse Mountains some weeks ago. It’s difficult to fully appreciate the scale of your achievement, as not many of us would have the courage to do what you did on your own. Including the “warts and all” has only made the story better. Congratulations on your incredible achievement and thank you for sharing it! Look out South America, if I recall? Travel safe. Mick

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your presentation, at  the Classic M/C Club, last night. I have both your books on Kindle, so it  was a pleasure to meet you in person, even briefly, and well worth the round 
trip from Sale. I had hoped my wife and daughter would be impressed, so  brought them along, too. My daughter paid you the ultimate compliment, she thought you were "really cool", so thanks for autographing the books I  bought for her - I'm sure they will be treasured. Geoff

I was so struck by your Ubuntu book, I wanted to send you a personal note. After many a travel book, I found yours to be one of the very best. Well written, well paced and with a central idea, articulated throughout.I wanted to let you know your story touched me, which is likely the best we writers can wish for. I read your book in three days, while camped out in the rain and the sunshine at Dyea, in Southeast Alaska. Your Silk Road book is next. Lee, USA

 

Hi Heather, Well where do I start… I heard your podcast on ABC Conversations and became immediately hooked!    Having been to parts of Africa before and with my husband and I about to embark on another Africa trip, your podcast was perfect timing. I straight away bought your book and couldn’t put it down…reading it before our trip and during our trip.  This time we travelled to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania (to see our three sponsored students).   My husband ended up reading your book as well after I kept going on about it. It was the way you wrote, the way you described everything in perfect detail, so visually beautiful.  Tizia

 

Hi Heather, I thought I’d write to tell you how in awe of your bad ass-ery I am. I’m almost through reading your second book, after finishing your first, and I can’t stop gushing to people around me about your story, your travels, and how you found it in you to literally ride around (half of) the world! Lina


Hi Heather, I ordered Ubuntu as e-book and received Timeless On The Silk Road by mail last week.
Amazon works perfectly. I finshed today your book Ubuntu, feels a bit empty now, but look forward to start reading Timeless.
Have been reading many books about motorbike adventure trips, but Ubuntu has been by far the best book. The way you describe your journey and how you get to know the African people and receive all the help and kindness on the way was absolutely fantastic. Kees, Sweden

 

Dear Heather,  I’ve just finished that marvellous book of yours. It was so wonderful and told your tale of adventure so well. It would make a fantastic movie if such a thing was possible. It held me spellbound for page after page as you trekked across the northern hemisphere with your various friends riding with you. I marvelled at your ability to get out of sticky situations, only to fall into another.  Through it all, with your consuming sickness, you triumphed and completed the task, with the unbreakable TT.  The saddest part, although there were many, was the poor curlew being plucked whilst still alive, and your need to put it out of its misery by breaking its neck. I had to stop reading at that point. It moved me greatly and I appreciated your swiftness, reflecting on the harshness of this world of ours.  Best wishes, and thank you, Peter

 

Dear Heather, Your book is fantastic, really vibrant, mindblowing. To me, it is the Africa equivalent of the Indian Shantaram which was also written by an Australian. Shantaram and Ubuntu, two magic words.

What I love the most in your travel adventure is that it is a true one, one you experienced alone with no fixers, no crew backing you up. I love also in your book that you constantly see the signs, and coincidences, and reflect on them. I see them even in daily life and so it really resonates with me. I want to thank you for writing it because indeed ubuntu needs to be written, especially about Africa. Even 25 years later, Africa still is a destination avoided by many travellers who are scared of it or only go on overland tours as you described in the book. Thank you so much again Heather for this beautiful gift that your book is that you gave to the world !! :)  A warm hug, Anne

 

Hello Heather, I read your book Ubuntu and found it quite extraordinary really. To think you took on the challenge not just as a woman but on your own, and of all places to start Africa - Big Smiles :-) -  Very intrepid and a journey many wouldn't have considered especially on their own! Chris, UK

 

Hello Heather, Having just finished your beautiful book Timeless on the Silk Road I wish to say thank you , throughout the entire book, I laughed, cried , felt inspired and also lazy. Being an avid motorcycle rider and adventure seeker you have given me courage and inspiration I could have found nowhere else. 
I just felt I needed to say thanks and I simply love your way with words and as you say “ the journey never ends“  Now I’m starting Ubuntu.  Lots of love to you and your family. Thank you. David

 

Thanks so much Heather, very much appreciated. I wish you and the boys the very best. Your story is simply inspirational in itself. Best wishes, Steve

 

Dear Heather! I just finished reading your amazing book Ubuntu - thank you so much for sharing your experience. I very, very much enjoyed coming with you on this journey. It also reminded me a lot on my childhood years - we moved a lot and lived on container ships for several years as my dad was a seaman. It's nice when you get to read about others who have travelled to unconventional countries. Looking forward to ordering the Silk Road soon Sara

 

Hi Heather, I bought this book not because I’m a motorcyclist, but because I was intrigued to know how you dealt with your diagnosis. Your book has been very inspiring , not just from a motorcyclist perspective. Thank you and all the best. Tony

 

Hi Heather, I am really enjoying your book. I think you have been incredibly brave sharing very your personal story which creates a strong emotional reader connection with you throughout your incredibly gutsy journey – it’s a great read, superbly written, well done.  Ian

 

Hey Heather, I have recently finished reading Timeless on the Silk Road. I found it even more inspiring than Ubuntu- if that's possible. Sue

 

Hi Heather, I read your story in the local paper recently and have just finished reading both your books! Thank you so much for sharing your courageous and inspirational stories. I loved every minute as I travelled along with you in my imagination and once I started reading I couldn't stop. You inspire me and show what we can do when we put our minds to it. All the very best to you and your family and once again thank you.  Heather

 

FabulousFabulousFabulousFabulousFabulous, Heather.  Thank you for finally sharing with us your moto-odyssey into self discovery.  Moto-travelers everywhere, myself chief among them, now yearn for the tale of what happened to you--and what you learned--on your way home to Oz.  Sequal, madame, sequal! Nicho, USA

 

I have just completed reading your book Ubuntu.  Absolutely loved it and stayed up late at night reading it. Thank you and congratulations on having the guts to do this trip and for the excellent way the book was written.
Looking forward to the launch of your new book in April 2019. Ken, New Zealand


 
What an amazing book!  I picked it up in a bookstore in Adelaide on a visit to Australia. At first thought it was a computer book in the wrong place but also knew the origin of Ubuntu.  Your  book has been very inspirational and so well written.    
Looking forward to reading Timeless On The Silk Road. Stephen, USA  


I've just finished this staggeringly beautiful book, Ubuntu, by Heather Ellis, a courageous, intelligent, and insightful Australian who almost on a whim decided in 1993 to ship her bike to South Africa -- and to motorcycle tour the length of the African continent..... by herself.... alone....unaided...unarmed. She was equipped only with an undying belief in her ability to overcome problems of any sort, and in the innate goodness and decency of all people. Such a belief in the goodness and decency of people was scrubbed out of me early by my army service and my involvement with law enforcement and probation and parole. I got some of it back working with high school kids for nearly thirty years, but not in the abundance Heather has..... If you want to feel better about the world, and the human beings in it, read this book. You won't be sorry...... Mel, USA


I  feel so privileged to have met you - the book changed my viewpoint on spirituality and so many other things.  It will take me a while to absorb it all and I will re-read some parts if not the whole book.  I can't thank you enough for all your kindness and for your Ubuntu.
I have been riding every day - and feel like I have a closer idea to what is important in my life and now that I finished your book, stronger feeling that every moment is sacred.
I can't believe that it took me so long to finish - I get caught up with work and life...  Steve, USA

 

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading Ubuntu.  I met you at the She Went Wild expo in Sydney in 2017 so it has taken me a while to get around to reading your novel.  I immersed myself in it over Christmas last and couldn't put it down.  I was willing you on as you travelled over those difficult terrains and through life threatening situations. I can't wait for your sequel to be published. Best wishes for your future writing and thanks again for your wonderful novel. Toni, Australia

 

A couple of weeks ago I finished your book which I really enjoyed.  You should be so proud of yourself – not only for making it through Africa like you did but also writing the book and facing your ongoing challenges.  What a woman!  I was  continually impressed! Cindy McLeish MP, State Member for Eildon.

 

I purchased your book sometime ago at a bike convention at Philip island and I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it.  It brought back memories of a previously read book Dark Star Safari, but of course the author wasn’t on a motorcycle. Any way that’s all ,one cycle rider to another. John, Australia

 

Thank you for your "friendship"  Just wanted to tell you, that I LOVE your book! I started reading it a week ago and can´t put it down. It gives me goosebumps all the time and sweet memories of my past motorcycle vacations. Thank you for that!  Can´t wait to read more, hehe. Take care of you! Greetings from Germany, Liv, GERMANY.

 

I just wanted to write a quick email to say thank you so much for writing Ubuntu. It was an absolutely gripping and life-affirming read, so honest and touching.  I am also so grateful for the efforts you put into your website... as someone planning on travelling to Africa next April, the information and tips will be so useful. All the best, and I’m very much looking forward to the next volume.  Adam, Australia


I’ve just read and really enjoyed Ubuntu. It is one helluva tale, written by an extraordinarily determined and courageous person, so I rate you up there with Dave Barr, Robert Fulton, Max Reisch and all of the other greats of motorcycle adventuring. James Michener wrote that Aussie girls are tough, but I didn’t appreciate how tough, strong and adventurous until I read your book! You also come across as a truly kind and open minded person, which I suspect you received so much kindness yourself, so please keep on being the way you are and let us all know when your Silk Road sequel is available for us all to read and enjoy too. Ride safely and keep up the Journey, Patrick, South Africa

 

Ubuntu is a remarkable story about Africa and a unique adventure! It is the most remarkable story I have ever read which I found lots of inspiration. You don't want to put the book down until you have finished it. My favourite part was reading about all the different countries with all the different ways the African people lived especially the tribespeople. It was so interesting that I found every chapter an adventure in itself and one fully amazing journey from a very brave woman.I highly recommended this book to anyone who wants to know about Africa. And you will get a greater knowledge of what “Ubuntu” is all about! So looking forward to your next book now that you left us with just some small amount of information of what is to come that will be another wonderful adventure.  Cassandra , Australia

 

Amongst the many motorcycle traveller's books I have been reading over the years -- of which regrettably only a few have really inspired me, in fact - Ubuntu is an outstanding book to me. Having travelled Southern Africa by motorbike myself for many months, it has been very exciting to read about the universe of Heather's travelling experience. She has not only achieved to put on paper her story (many have the desire but only a few actually do it!) but managed to carve out in a well-written style her personal perspective within this journey and link it to the African 'theme' of Ubuntu, the 'humanity towards others'- factor which has a decisive meaning for travellers as vulnerable as motorcyclists. So go get it. It's definitly worth it!  Matthias Kuhlmann, Germany

 

I just finished reading your book and just wanted to say thanks so much for sharing your story. Very inspiring and look forward to reading the next one! Anna


Have just finished reading Ubuntu whilest confined to my house with a really bad cold. I just LOVED the story and your no nonsense writing style. Prudence


Just a quick thank you for sharing your story in Ubuntu. Probably, the best motorcycle travel memoir I have read. Look forward to stage 2. I hope you still get out on the TT. Old bikes never die.... Michael


I've just finished reading Ubuntu (I took it camping...great camp fire reading material). I'm a bit lost for words at the moment but wanted to reach out - to thank you for sharing your full authentic self in so many beautiful ways. I have shared a post on a virtual book-club I'm a member of, which is hosted by a local ABC radio presenter & has over 700 members. I hope others draw inspiration & reach in to their shared humanity from reading your story. Many thanks, Jaye

 

After finishing your book I cried for hours, not with sadness, but because your courage, tenacity, vulnerability and honesty flowed from the pages and made their way into my heart. Your story is truely inspiring and I am so thankful that you wrote it and that I found it. I absolutely can not wait to read your second book and will be counting down the days until it is released.  Tess

 

Just finished reading your wonderful book! Wanted to tell you I appreciate your bravery and following your heart and instincts. Not always easy in our worlds to do it. It resonated with me as a traveler who was backpacking around the world in the late 1980’s and then on my RTW motorcycle journey 2011-2014 . Kindness to “strangers” around the globe is amazing and a message I share often with others as they have fear rule there decisions and perspectives. Just a quick note to say hello and let you know your writing and book resonated with me! Cheers, Mark

 

Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Ubuntu. Just finished it tonight. Very well-written and cannot wait for your next book. (I live here in the US and hopefully can get it quickly when it is published.) Thanks for writing your story.  Jamie

 

I met you at the Meet the Author night in Clarkson Library in Perth-Mentioned I'd done an overland trip, and the same journey, but in reverse-Anyway....just want to say- Wow and thankyou for writing such an amazing book about your journey. I started reading on Sunday and couldn't put it down and finished it yesterday. I felt like I was reliving my trip, but in reverse-and not on a motorbike!  I have shared your book with the Africa FB group so don't be surprised if you sell another 30 copies over the next month! Congratulatins and thankyou for sharing you memories.I look forward to your second book. Thanks and kind regards, Shelley

 

I am a member of Williamstown Motorcycle Club and want to tell you just how much I enjoyed your book. ​You are not only a true adventurer but a darn good author to boot! You wrote warts and all​ kept me glued to the pages. You have a spirit to be admired. Ray

 

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading Ubuntu. I ordered it in at our local bookshop in Tamworth, NSW to take on my latest trip to the bush in Zambia. Ubuntu has gone to Zimbabwe to be read by Chief Liswani (Katima Mililo, Caprivi Strip) as the chief loves to read. Thought you might be interested to find out where copies end up. Kind regards Joyce

 

Am currently enjoying 'Ubuntu' after hearing about you sometime ago. For some reason I was given the impression you were English and travelled Africa north west to south. How great it was to discover you were an Aussie! Guy

 

Just completed Ubuntu. Absolutely amazing read, surprise ending tho. Not sure whether you were brave or B.... stupid !!! but I can relate to how you felt about the locals. I was travelling camping in Kenya at the time you were in Kenya, spent a lot of time with the Masai, loved it. Looking forward to another book is it far away??? Neroli

 

I wanted to say thank you, for Ubuntu. Ubuntu rekindled that yearning for two wheels beneath me, and that, for now, is a great start. I could go on and on about your book and it's impact on me... Thank you so much. Eilidh

 

Just finished reading ubuntu. What an amazing book.  So glad you shared your travel experiences. What an inspiration you are.  Can't wait for your next one.  Hope your life is good. Claire

 

Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story of riding across Africa - which must seem so long ago now. I felt like I was sharing in your adventure in some small way (without the discomforts) as I google mapped your journey and used google earth to view the environment through which you were traveling. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and spent many spare hours journeying with you. 

While many of us have an adventurous spirit of some sort, having the stamina and resilience to carry out such dreams is another thing and I guess we all have to work out what our limits are and go with that whatever that may be. Stay well and thanks again. Janette, Tamworth NSW

 

I have just finished reading your marvellous book and was totally enthralled. Due to work and Rotary commitments, this is the first book I have read in 4 years, and I must say, it made me realise that reading is a most pleasurable experience. So much of our lives are taken up with clutter, or "white noise”. I thank you for attending the Rotary Club of Canterbury and allowing me to take up reading once again. This book will now be passed around our extended family. My son Matt and his wife, who have worked for an NGO in Sierra Leone on the Ebola Virus,will certainly find it fascinating.

I wish you ubuntu, and look forward to the release of your next book. Rob Simpson, President, Rotary Club of Canterbury 

 

I loved it, your spirit, your honesty, your openess, your faith in ubuntu and the inate goodness of people. And the way you changed as you made this journey - physically and philosophically. Jackie

 

I wanted to take a brief moment to thank you for your book.  It was quite by chance I found it on Amazon and bought it, but a lovely surprise as it unfolded into such a wonderfully written and rich story of your life and travels.  Not only did I enjoy every bit of your story and your wonderful style of writing that has the ability to transport the reader to that moment.

Also as an avid motorcyclist myself, I’ve always dreamed of a similar journey.  Reading and understanding your unwavering determination to complete this journey is inspirational, and reassuring.  I too was sad when your journey came to an end, or perhaps, a hiatus?  I look forward to your next book.  But for now, UBUNTU!

 

Heather, just minutes ago I turned the last page of Lone Rider, Elspeth Beard's 2017 memoir of her round-the-world journey on a BMW R60 back when...well, back when R60s were still new machines, haha.  Upon finishing, I immediately thought of you, because Lone Rider touched my spirit in exactly the same way Ubuntu did.  I'm 37 years of age, so both you and Elspeth have enough years on me to be my mother; my wife is only 22, so you could both be grandmother, in her case.  The wifey and I are both so obsessed with adventure travel that we've made a lifestyle of it, on motos and sailboats alike.  YOU were one of the people whose story helped me discover, dream about, plan for, and ultimately embrace a lifestyle that I'd once never even known existed.  And it's been to my young lovely, of course, that I passed on the dream.  Further, my brother and his wife and two little sons I also infected with the adventure bug, and they also threw off the conventions of suburban routine for a lifestyle of motorcycles and sailboats.  None of us are chained to the monotony of 9-to-5s, none of us dream for white picket fences or backyard barbeques or dread having to mow the lawn on the weekend.  Thanks to Heather Ellis, we live unlike the others.
My point is this, my dear wonderful friend Heather, that if you have ever wondered if, as the years have passed, that your journey ever mattered to someone other than yourself; ever wondered if someone else would come to not just appreciate but crave the glorious triumphs and ignominious humiliations of adventure moto travel; or ever simply wondered if Heather Ellis is important to someone... Nicholas, USA

 

I wanted to say how much I enjoyed Ubuntu. What an amazing journey you had! It has also helped me understand parts of a journey we recently completed round Oz, my favourite being Kakadu. Nieve

I'm presently reading your book and am thoroughly engrossed. I'm up to part three, Congo to Mauritania. Bill

I just finished reading your wonderful book Ubuntu, what an amazing journey, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I was disappointed when it ended as I was so enthralled with the adventure! I'm looking forward to reading your next book. Taylos

I am travelling in Turkey at present and picked up your book Ubuntu to fill in some time. Couldn't put it down, I loved it. Ps I hope you kept the old TT. Robert

I just finished your book. Inspirational. Thanks. Piet

I am nearing the end of your book, bought on my kindle via Amazon. I cannot believe what you did, amazing! I'm trying not to read it too fast, to enjoy every moment. Congratulations. Merrilyn

I thoroughly enjoyed your book and have highly recommended it to my friends.  Very best wishes too you and your family.  Vaughan

I’ve just finished enjoying reading “UBUNTU” and I know that you are truly a kindred spirit.  I’m very grateful you were able to capture such an adventure on the written page. It was your journey by log barge that brought out my greatest empathy. I was thrilled to imagine being part of the impromptu community and almost jealous of your experience. Thank you again for taking the time to document and elaborate on your journey. As I savoured each page I felt I was travelling with you.  Yours in the spirit of adventure. Bill Shanklin

 

Have been slow to write to say I enjoyed your book. Not sure how you did survive it all and I'm looking forward to the next edition . Loved the down river stage what an experience. Best Wishes. Keep writing. Cheers.  Rod Hunter

 

I have to say a serious THANK YOU for giving me a refreshed bout of itchy feet. I've just finished Ubuntu. WOW. Can't wait for your sequel. I'm sure you've had thousands of messages from readers. This was one book I wanted to just sit and read it all, but yet I didn't want it to end. Just wanted to let you know I seriously loved your book. Stephanie Bryen

 

Deepest admiration for you, Heather. On what I know is such an outstanding momentous achivement. Taking on what I think to be a gutsy brave journey/adventure.. I always held high admiration towards you with all honestly. Was only two weeks ago that I had been told of your motorbike adventure then was informed about what most people will say & believe to be a personal tragedy,  I most certainly have prayed for you. Ray Hutchings

 

Just wanted to send an email to say how much I enjoyed reading the book.  It was like rereading my diaries, your descriptions were so accurate.  I traveled a similar route in a long wheelbased landcruiser with a partner in 1988-1990. Staying at Mama Roches, Driving up to Lake Turkana, Hiking in the Rwenzoris, the mud highway, Pygmys, Okapis it all came flooding back.  I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to send a little email to say thank you.  You don't meet many people who have done the journey, so you really don't talk about it much but inside of us it was an experience that really shaped us. Jill Swallow

 

I did Facebook you in reference to your book Ubuntu. I literally just finished it at 8:43am Monday 20th March 2017 and can say it was fantastic! I couldn't put it down.Looking forward to second book. Paul Chidgey

 

My wife Nicky read Ubuntu last year and gave the book to me for Christmas, without telling me anything about it. She knew I would like it. I didn’t get to read it till a few weeks ago, but wished I'd started it much earlier as I loved the whole thing and was very sad when it was ended. You really took me with you on that journey. John (and Nicky) Petheram

 

I have just reached the end of Ubuntu after buying it at the Adventure Traveil Film Festival in Bright. Bravo! Bravo for your journey , your book and your life thus far. The last five pages gripped me , albeit in a different fashion , as did the other 363. Bring on book number two! And the rest of your wonderful life! Rob Upstill

 

A moment ago I finished reading Ubuntu and felt compelled to contact you to say what a ride, and what a write.  I couldn’t put your book down and I’m blown away by your courage in every respect and the magnitude of your journey.  I’m someone who grew up in South Africa and I just love that the way you related to people helped ubuntu to flourish.The combination of great writing and great travel makes for such a deeply satisfying read. Fiona Preston

 

Heather, your story and the way you tell it is awesome and humbling. Not many of us have the courage to act on our dreams. I am a South African living in Western Australia. I grew up in rural South Africa in game parks and spent much of my youth with the local Zulu people, learning to speak their language before I could speak English. I have travelled and worked in much of Southern Africa. I guess my point is that I know and understand ubuntu and the way the people of Africa share this common understanding of oneness. It is something I miss very much.

Your journey must have been epic and to do it by yourself on a TT, RESPECT!! I was delighted to read on your Facebook page that you still have the TT. Some things you can never let go.Thank you for sharing your story with us in such an intimate way. I experienced so many different emotions reading your story and felt a little gutted when the journey suddenly ended. I look forward to your second book, can we preorder a copy?

Bless you Heather Ellis, you have awoken the spirit of Ubuntu in me and I feel the pull of Africa more now than ever. Time to go home?

Indlela iyaziwa abayihambile - The road is known by those who have travelled it. Jamie Conway-Physick

 

I have just finished your fantastic journey across Africa. I really admire you for what you achieved. John Campbell

A quick note to say that I am excited that your book has been published.  When I started planning my overland travels, the internet was very young and your website, along with the excerpt on your 'yet to be published' book was an inspiration.  I seem to recall that you were looking for a publisher back then. There were not many 'overland' websites available - one dutch guy (I seem to think his name was Arold) and two Land Rover trips (a Derek and a Derick).  Finding inspiration meant hearing from other travelers and talking to people, rather than anonymously browsing blogs! Decades later its awesome to see your book published.  I look forward to reading it. Your interview with The Overlanding Podcast was good - thanks for taking the time to share the stories. Cheers Martin Solms

Hi Heather, I have just finished reading your wonderful, amazing and inspiring book.
I'm not sure where to start except to say I loved it and your writing has touched me, not only for the love of touring on a motorcycle, but also for the all the reasons others have been in awe of you.
Your courage, honesty and your faith. Yours is an epic adventure. Adam Briscomb

I bought your book at the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo. What a buzz. Couldn't put it down. You're a great inspiration. I've asked my wife to read it as she is about to get her bike licence after being a passenger for years and she may understand why I love adventure. Thanks for the book. Look after yourself. Glenn Ollerenshaw

Just finished your book. It was awesome! Thanks. Lovely to meet you in Melbourne and, hopefully, see you for a WARA ride sometime soon. Jodie Sturgess

Just finished reading your book. Thanks for the page turning, can't put it down, rollicking ride! Andrew Kay

I met you for a second at the recent Spaghetti Rally. I bought the last copy of Ubuntu you had and you kindly signed it. It was an opportune purchase as I’m a light sleeper and I rode back to Sydney with a bunch of blokes who snored like thunder. I gave up trying to sleep through the racket, and was happy to have Ubuntu handy so I could get lost in your journey. What a wonderful book and what a brave woman you are. Your warm open heart and honesty shone through every page and I was totally engrossed. I’d worked and travelled quite a bit in South Africa and Namibia, but always with a pocketful of money and never quite getting over my fears of the unknown. There are always so many horror stories about travel in Africa being spread around and far too few that expose the warmth and humanity of the continent. Thanks again for an inspiring journey. I hope my daughter reads Ubuntu when she’s ready to head off into the wide world. Best wishes and happy trails. Laurie Faen

Have just finished your remarkable book. A true adventure and insightful look at your passions and dreams. Not many dare to dream this big let alone undertake a much smaller challenge. Enjoyed the ride on your TT as I felt I was a pillion the entire journey. John White

 

I have just finished reading Ubuntu. Great. I loved it. In my younger days I lived in South Africa (before emigrating to Sydney in 1977) and also rode a motorbike but never did anything as adventurous as your trip. Emotionally, however, I was riding alongside you the whole way. Africa is an amazing country. I miss its pulse and adrenalin surges. What an experience! I must admit though, my heart was often in my mouth worrying about what might happen to you in some of those corrupt and potentially dangerous situations in which you often found yourself. I’m glad you’re back safely in Australia and that your health is good. I look forward to reading your follow-up book. Any idea when it will be available? Richard Pannell

 

You don't know me from Adam, Heather, but I've just finished reading Ubuntu and read it in three sittings. Haven't enjoyed a book so much in such a long time.
I bought the latest edition of Just Bikes on Monday and saw your book advertised there. Dymocks did some business with me on Tuesday and it's been read by Friday!! Anyway Heather, you are an absolute inspiration with your entire wherewithal. Obviously Just Bikes wasn't being read for no reason, but instead of coming out of the magazine with a prospective new "baby", I came out captivated by a single word..."Ubuntu". It takes something significant to upstage a magazine full of beautiful motorbikes, but your publication with it's intriguing title did it for me. Michael Smith

 

Heather, I've just finished reading your marvellous book Ubuntu, about your fantastic adventure riding across Africa. It was brilliant, and one I would describe as 'unputdownable'. I've just come back home after a 12-day ride in USA on a Harley, which was spectacular, but I had the comforts of home, motel rooms, hot food, showers etc. Your journey was far more risky. I had 17 mates riding with me, and another in a van following. You did it almost alone, roughing it in the most desolate places you could find with no support to speak of, making friends along the way. Your determination to go on, when the wildness of Africa piled against you, is fantastic and inspirational. You have my admiration, as a fellow cyclist, and as a human being. You surely have found ubuntu. Peter Lunney

 

Two weeks since I finished your book, your ability to tell a story is undeniable, letting the reader inside your head is brilliant and making me think outside of my comfortable existence a gift few writers have, looking forward to the next book. David Lockyer

 

A really good book telling the story of a gutsy Aussie woman in her twenties on a motorbike through some of the most dangerous parts of Africa on her own in the 1990s. Engrossing. The real life story of an adventurous personality, told with unusual honesty - her fears and her evolving spiritual awareness in the face of them. Jim Pletch

 

I'm about to start Chapter 14 of Ubuntu. My daughter bought me the book and I'm so glad she did. A fantastic read so far and it's one of those books that I just don't want to end! You certainly had an amazing and very memorable journey. A true adventure in every sense and a terrific achievement and one you can be justifiably proud of. Keep up the good work...and I hope you have lots more adventures... John Morrison

 

I am loving your book. As you so modestly said on radio, 'It's a page turner'. Bob Burgess, Back Chat, Yarra Valley FM

 

I not a big reader at all. But I could not put this book down. I loved it. Was disappointed when I finished it. Can't wait for you to do the next book. Thank you for a fantastic read :) Maxine Davis

 

Just finished reading Ubuntu....sitting here in tears and just want to say thank you for sharing your amazing journey with the rest of the world! Peace and love to you Heather xxx Kaz Fraser

 

I have just finished your marvelous book and wished I hadn't. I was pillion all the way! An amazing journey and can't wait for the story of the next stage in 2018. I am thinking it will be as tough or tougher than the Africa leg.
I have read many books on world motorcycle travel and I am a decades long motorcyclist with many long rides in Oz and overseas, however nothing as difficult as your ride.
I am so pleased that you have recovered from that awful illness and how good it is to see your involvement in the AIDS health programs and motorcycle safety.
Keep well, good health and safe riding. David Jobson

 

I met Heather through work back in 2005 so was very excited to hear she had finished her book and got it published.  Although I had heard her talk about her solo trip across Africa on a motorbike, it was only on reading the book that I came to appreciate what an incredibly courageous and extraordinary feat it was.  From page one I was totally gripped, travelling with her every inch of the way through dust storms, heat, rain, mud, a fair few plates of greasy meat and rice, and more. Early on in the journey she decides to trust rather than fear and lets herself be guided from place to place and person to person. Somehow things always work out seemingly against all the odds. That’s because she allows herself to be guided and protected by the spirit of Ubuntu, a Bantu word describing  the universal bond that connects us all, irrespective of colour, creed or race.  Her book is a terrific adventure and, at a time when the world is so divided and conflicted, restores your faith in humanity. Charlotte Francis

 

I just finished Ubuntu - it is a simply amazing book! You need to buy and read this. Tams O'Sullivan

 

I have just finished reading your wonderful book. Reading of your adventures, your courage in the face of adversity, and your very special spirituality has given me encouragement to embrace life, with all its difficulties and its joys, and to nurture the spirit of Ubuntu in my own little part of the world. Thank you for writing it "warts and all". I can't wait for the sequel! Julie Laurie.

 

5 am....Night shift. Just finished the book Heather, brilliant, simply brilliant. Mark Pearce.

 

I have read your book with total fascination. The superlatives just roll. What an amazing story! You are still here to relate it! What an incredible journey (sorry that’s not original).I feel truly privileged to have met the author. My knowledge of the places you visited has many gaps but the enormous range of locations, people and personal experiences seems to me to be unmatched by anyone I have known. What is truly inspirational is the way you demonstrate the power of belief, despite the countless hurdles, the numerous threatening situations, the continual venture into the unknown and even when it comes to your own health. I sincerely hope that the book is selling well and the film rights are under discussion. David Hawker

 

Your a very special person Heather Ellis and I am so glad to have the opportunity to read "Ubuntu". Skoota Hamilton

 

Wow! Just finished your book, which I read in two sittings. Really enjoyed it Heather. I'd been admiring your honesty while reading the story, but with your afterword you have my genuine respect. It was very powerful. Thank you for sharing your journey. Julie Parker

 

I ordered the book last week and it arrived yesterday. Have loved it from page 1 and wish I could just stop and read the whole thing from beginning to end...life is getting in the way!! Wendy Moorcroft

 

I am writing to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I was randomely surfing the net and I came across your interview podcast from Joy radio station, I mean how random was that even though I do not believe in coincidents! I just wanted to say Thank You for the inspiration and the bravery you have displayed in travelling alone in my beautiful Africa. I grew up on Ubuntu, my very being is ingrained in the concept and the philosophy of UBUNTU. I am now inspired to walk my own Ubuntu journey. I wish you well with your book and I can't wait to read it. Mamosebetsi Kekae

 

I just finished reading your book this afternoon. What a story you have weaved. Your story is informative and detailed whilst all throughout conveying sincerity and honesty. Ubuntu certainly worked for you. I look forward to the sequel. Well done and best wishes. Glenn Sturley

 

I just finished reading your book Ubuntu. I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down. I am new to motorcycle/scooter riding and went on my first trip on my Vespa to Tasmania this last Christmas, I thought I was adventurous and it seems like nothing now after reading your book. :)) but you have inspired me to do more and see more, travelling by bike is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture and environment and you reminded me of all that. You also reminded me of the need for kindness in the world and "paying it forward" philosophy. Which is so important. I have always loved travel and think your trip and spiritual journey was fascinating and inspirational.Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope to meet you at a book signing or presentation in the future. Denise Castro

I am really enjoying the book. It is just so well written and easy to read. I knew a lot of your adventures, but reading it step by step just blows my mind at what you achieved, also glad you made it back in one piece. About 1/3 of the way through now. Linda Bassett.

 

I am about 2 thirds through Heather's book. I am thoroughly enjoying it. You have taken on a journey that I would never even consider doing. One day, I would love to catch up with you just to shake your hand. Noel Wiltshire

 

I just want to thank you for sharing your wonderful and personal journey with me through Ubuntu, it was inspirational. I am a 59 year old lifetime bike rider and through your words felt I was on the journey with you. I am sorry to have missed meeting you on the 17th at the Collingwood launch.
I look forward to your next book.
Regards Trevor Jennings

 

I just finished your book last night. To be precise I finished it around 2am this morning as I just couldn’t put it down. Amazing journey amazing story and amazing book. Jude Bell

 

Just finished your book. Loved it. I was with you through every pot hole, police check and sand dune. Ma Roach passed away a couple of years ago I believe. The guy in Kisangani with the Aussie acent would have been Ugene he's now in Tanzania and you were so lucky to get the river boat. I did that route through Zaire four times and never saw it!! Would love a bowl of beans from a mama at a pot hole!! Look forward to the next book. Jeff Lemon

Heathers book is well worth the read. I read up to chapter 7 this morning in bed and didnt want to put it down. I'm supposed to be keeping it for the hospital shifts, dont think it will last me till then. A great story so far. I'd forgot how much I love reading, especially a good book . Caroline Perrie

I recently finished reading Ubuntu and enjoyed every page - looking forward to Part 2 :) Sue McLean

 

Your book Ubuntu is very well written. The prose itself is adventurous, the lines have the energy of a motorcycle working its away forward through a richly varied terrain. Peter Davis

 

I started reading your book on the weekend and I am over halfway through.  I am so enjoying it!!
Also, I am thirsty for a Primus beer. I had to stop and look at my photos from Belgium last summer and realise yes, THAT was the delicious beer I had in Brussels. Love the Primus! Carmen Siegars

 

I just finished reading your book - Ubuntu - and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It has re-stirred my interest in adventure motorcycling.  I am also  interested in human origins and would love to feel the vibe of the land in Africa and visit places where there is evidence of our ancestors. Craig Dodson

 

I just thought I'd let you know that I ordered your book from Booktopia on Wed and it has already arrived in the mail today. I'm very impressed with the fast delivery. I have already read 'It started with a kick' and I'm totally enthralled, I won't be able to put it down I'm sure. Angie Macmillan

 

I love the book. Can't wait for the second instalment and think the way you've positioned the universal themes, outstanding. They project a humane and humanist world view. Daniel Brace

 

Just received a copy of my friend Heather Ellis 's book Ubuntu...One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa.. and now my Sunday as I knew it has been lost in the universal bond that connects humanity... Get it..read it..learn from it...you dont have to be into motorcycles or even Africa to grow from its words...cant wait for the sequel. Love you my friend. Karen Forman

 

So inspiring Heather! I am only half way thru ur book and am loving it! Thank u x Kaz Fraser

 

I met the wonderful Heather Ellis earlier this year.Through her book 'Ubuntu', Heather details her 15 month solo motorcycle ride through Africa. Heather's compelling story is yet another glimpse into the beautiful side of humanity and the kindness she received from people living in a grossly misunderstood corner of the world. Jeremy Scott

 

A delight to attend Heather Ellis's book launch of 'Ubuntu' in Melbourne on Sunday. Heather was a fin de siècle journalism student of mine at James Cook University, Cairns, and awed everyone with her quiet tales of travelling across Africa solo by motorbike during the nineties. Heather, you are the spirit of 'ubuntu'. James Norgate

 

A great day was had today at the book launch of "Ubuntu - One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa". Considering I'm not a reader of books, congratulations Heather Ellis ! I've knocked out the first 40 pages and LOVE IT !!
Do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy of Ubuntu. You won't regret it !! Jon Penrose

 

 

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