Mark Holmes, 61, spent his life running a TV and video equipment business with his wife. But then it all went wrong, so he hit the road…
When Mark Holmes’ life hit the buffers, he hit the road to find his solution.
Where are you right now? I now live in Lyon, France, learning how to live a new life as a Frenchman. You’ve just returned from a ride around the world. What was your route? After two months riding around Europe I headed east via Turkey, Iran, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. A quick hop over the Pacific got me to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The US State Department decided my ten days in Iran was a threat to them and would not issue me a visa. So I enjoyed Canada instead. I finished in Montreal after 506 days, five continents, 36 countries and 39,000 miles. What bike did you ride? I knew from previous trips on a 2300cc Rocket that my Triumph would be comfortable and almost unbreakable. More importantly it would attract attention and this would help me engage with people in a way few other bikes do. With no punctures, two minor breakdowns quickly fixed by excellent Triumph dealers in Jakarta and Rio de Janeiro, it proved to be a great choice. And I didn’t even drop it. Had you ever done anything like this before? I had previously enjoyed lengthy rides around Europe and the Mediterranean, mostly with my late wife. One year we flew my first Triumph Rocket to New York and rode it in a giant zig-zag to Los Angeles. After every trip I just wanted to keep riding. So, that’s what I did, this time, now that I had the opportunity to. But it wasn’t just about the riding… No, I had a couple of messages for the world, and passions to share. I knew the Rocket would attract attention, so it was quite easy to engage with people who stopped to admire it. I told them that I wanted people to please stop smoking, because they are killing themselves, but also to ride a motorcycle, as it can be so much fun. One or other message always got a reaction. Many would go on to ask about my journey. Where are you from? Where are you going? Why are you travelling alone? What is your job? At first I wondered whether or not I should tell the full story. After all, they were only making polite conversation. I soon realised that I might as well blurt it all out: my wife and I ran our own business for 28 years, but November 2016 we went into administration. 11 days later, after 39 years of marriage, my wife died. She had been fighting cancer for quite a while. So, with no wife, no job, no income, no best friend, no soul mate, I decided to venture into
‘No wife, no job, no income, no best friend… I decided to venture into the world…’
the world, share my passions and love, and ask the world to deliver me something in return. I got on my bike and left the UK. Immediately, their expression would change. At first their eyes lit up. Then their mouth would open. Then their jaws hit the floor. They never expected that answer to their simple question. What was the best moment of your journey? Not one best moment but thousands. The people I met made my journey. I have felt nothing but kindness from almost all. Just a short exchange of life stories with them often reminded me that there is far more love in the world than hate. In fact, I now do my best to avoid use of the word hate. Many conversations have been filled by laughter, but one or two have involved spontaneous tears. What does your future look like? There is another story that has threaded its way through my journey, but I have not shared it yet. My friends tell me the real story is scarcely credible. I am now attempting to write it in a book. Find out about Mark’s adventures at… markholmes.me Facebook @Markholmesrtw Twitter @Mark Holmes RTW Instagram markholmes366 Youtube Mark Holmes
Triumph Rocket: not your usual adventure companion
Start ’em young and they’ll ride for life
Above: If you’re going to ride to something as big and incongruous as Ayres Rock do it on a big incongruous bike Le: there are places big Triumphs cannot go. And this is oneBelow: it’s always wise to keep the local law sweet