RIDE AROUND THE WORLD

The Herald Magazine - - FIRST UP - RHYS LAWREY, AD­VEN­TURE RIDER SO­PHIE MCLEAN

MY idea to travel the world on my mo­tor­bike stemmed from my fa­ther, who also rides, trav­els and holds world records. I wanted to in­spire oth­ers. I took the plunge and thought “Let’s do it.” I had noth­ing to lose. Once I had my mum’s ap­proval, I was off.

My mum was my big­gest con­vin­cer. I sort of said: “I have some­thing to tell you. I want to ride around the world.” She was stunned but she ended up sup­port­ing me – she told me I had noth­ing to lose, that I was young and to seize the op­por­tu­nity, so I did.

Trav­el­ling the world on a mo­tor­bike is a very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. I was more ex­posed to dif­fer­ent coun­tries rather than just fly­ing in some­where. I felt ev­ery cold and hot breeze, ev­ery bump on the road. I learned which roads were safe and which were dan­ger­ous. When peo­ple re­alised I had trav­elled by bike, I was warmly wel­comed into ev­ery coun­try I ar­rived in.

No­body has done such a thing at my age solo on a mo­tor­cy­cle. The BMW GS was the pop­u­lar choice but I chose a Tri­umph Tiger.

It’s re­ally trial and er­ror. I never was an ex­pert rider, an off roader or a racer. It was a jump in the deep end be­cause that was the only way it was go­ing to work.

Be­ing so young, I learned peo­ple skills quickly be­cause I had to. I learned com­mon sense, how to judge peo­ple and how to re­spond in dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios. When you turn up with a mo­tor­bike, you get looked at in a more wel­com­ing way and I learned to smile. I didn’t do tourist things like whip­ping out money or wav­ing around a cam­era. I kept it sim­ple and ba­sic.

Lone­li­ness was the big­gest chal­lenge. As a young per­son I was used to go­ing out and so­cial­is­ing whereas I had to get used to go­ing out and so­cial­is­ing with new peo­ple ev­ery day and it be­came very tir­ing.

I feel a lot more ma­ture. Trav­el­ling changed my per­spec­tive on the world. I can talk to all types of peo­ple, I feel more cul­tured and I’m more open to the world around me.

Liv­ing on the road is easy. Bud­get­ing is doable, es­pe­cially in places like cen­tral Asia. I wasn’t pay­ing western costs. I’m still pay­ing off my trip but I don’t re­gret it. I didn’t go to univer­sity so I didn’t take out stu­dent loans and in­stead look at what I did. It’s a huge achieve­ment – that will al­ways be the

sta­ple of it. I’ll prob­a­bly do smaller trips in fu­ture. I’m al­ways keen for travel by any means.

When my ad­ven­ture reached its end I felt pure re­lief. I slept for a min­i­mum of 12 hours ev­ery day for the first week. I was ready to come home once I broke the records. I was knack­ered, broke and speech­less. It was one of the most emo­tional days of my life and will for­ever be in my mem­ory.

Rhys Lawrey was 22 when he trav­elled around the world on a Tri­umph Tiger 800 in 441 days

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