Living Your Dream

Our (so far) 50-country, six-continent, 130,000-mile world tour-on

Editor's Note: This magazine seems to be a bit of a traveling-biker magnet of late. Like moths to a flame, wayward motorcycle adventurers have somehow found their way to our doorstep over the last few years, eager to show us their photos, tell their stories--and possibly have such tales end up in the pages of the magazine.

First was Uwe Diemer, who chucked his life in Switzerland for a wild trip through Africa, South America and, finally, the United States. Uwe's "Touring the World on Five Liters a Day" piece appeared in our July 1997 issue. Then came Keith Kimber and Tania Brown, whose stories of their 18-year, two-up, world-tour odyssey aboard a CX500 Honda appeared in our April 1999 and 2001 issues. And then came Fernando Valsesia, a fun-loving Argentinean who appeared on our doorstep with the funkiest-looking ST1100 we'd ever seen--along with what turned out to be a wonderful, 100,000-mile, five-year world-tour story that appeared in our November 2000 issue.

So we weren't surprised when Rob (47) and Dafne (34) de Jong contacted us and asked to drop by to show us their photographic archive chronicling their recent tour around the globe--on a sidecar, no less. The couple left their Rotterdam, Netherlands, home four years ago with a heady desire to see the world. And see it they have, finishing their first full circle last November.

"There," I say, pointing my finger at the little-used dirt road. Dafne turns our sidecar around, deftly keeping the third wheel from dipping into a pothole. It's already late afternoon and we'll only have about an hour of daylight left to set up camp and cook dinner.

The views from the Denali Highway in Alaska are spectacular; Mount McKinley's white peak and snow-capped ranges can be seen on either side of the valley. Normally, we only camp in places invisible from the road. In Africa, we preferred a hot campfire to a flashlight or electrical light, for it attracts less attention. But here in Alaska we don't have to worry about that.

First we collect firewood, for temperatures will soon drop below freezing. Then we get our cameras out to be ready for the magnificent sunset that will surely come. The small canvas tent we bought in South Africa desperately needs service, though it's kept us warm, cool and, most importantly, dry for more than two years. I take our petrol stove out of our "kitchen" top-box and get water boiling for a warming cup of tea.

After all, the most important thing, being out here on the road, is to be able to turn left or right, when you feel like it. It's all about freedom, following your nose, living your dream.

"So, we're finally in Alaska," Dafne says. "Yep," I say, "we've come full circle now." We sit down and stare into the flames as we drink our tea and think about the day we left Holland, and all the fun, scary, crazy and interesting things that've happened since. A gentle breeze is cooling our backs while the fire makes our cheeks glow.

When the sun starts coloring the sky, we stand up and let our eyes go to the horizon. Somewhere to the southwest, over the ocean, are roads just waiting for us. From here we'll drive our sidecar through Japan, Siberia, Mongolia, around the world again.

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