on 22 July 2012
I have read lots of motorcycle travel books and this book comes high on the list. The thing I like about the book is that Nathan actually gets out there and meets people. Quite often it is a mad dash through the countryside to get back home. But Nathan takes his time and gets to experience things.
He is not afraid to explain that it is not all roses doing this trip and is the first RTW biker who advocates staying at home and finding what you are looking for there. That takes maturity.
I had great fun watching Nathans antics on Youtube as he was making the trip, the guy is nuts. I particularly like the idea of removing clothes instead of putting them on when it rains.
A very entertaining book that shows RTW travel on a small bike is not only possible, but preferrable.
The book is available in paperback as well as on kindle.
on 27 January 2013
Adventure motorbikers are rough, tough guys and gals, out there in the wilds, relying on their own resources? Right? Er...maybe.
Sydney to London...The Long Ride Home by Nathan Millward is a motorcycle adventure, a bright enjoyable read, with good descriptions of some challenging riding and some pithy insights. It all starts with an Australian girlfriend called Mandy; an ex-postie bike, a little red 110 cc Honda; and the spontaneity of a young Englishman.
Deadlines, threats, risks. Fear. These are the kinds of things that might come to mind when planning a long motorcycle adventure trip through many exotic countries. Some can spend forever planning - the over-planning of the dreamer who ultimately never manages to go on the big trip. But maybe it is easier to sail past all of that; avoid doubt and indecision; and just get out there. To quote Nathan - `I had the only planning you really need - to be certain that it's something you have to do. Not want to do, because that's not enough.'
And although the lack of planning was often endearing, it contributed to some of the difficulties Nathan met along the way. The untried, un-serviced, bike bought through eBay; the last minute dashes to meet visa deadlines; heel-kicking for days after missing the rare ferry.
What do you need for the ultimate `please yourself, take your time, meander about' adventure trip? Nathan seems at times to have had little in the way of protective gear, images of crashes tell a story. Tools? Um ...forget the tyre levers. Wild camping? Yes, tight budget. Camping equipment? Err ...maybe a sleeping bag. Tent?
To quote again from Nathan - `no commitments, nothing to go back to, no job, no kids, no mortgage.' Thankfully there are still credit cards to help carry the burden! And our intrepid rider still had to contend with the sweet impact of his interactions with his family back in the UK, delaying telling his mother that he had started a ride by motorbike back to the UK.
The Long Ride Home contains much good descriptive prose. An early image is the culture shock on arriving in East Timor after flying out from Darwin, contrasting the poverty in a post-war torn country with the wealth imported for the benefit of the UN peacekeepers. Then there are the descriptions of the altitude problems, mainly for the bike, going over the Himalayas on the Manali to Leh Highway. The difficulties in mending a puncture on the high pass, holding tools with frozen hands, being forced to ride into the hours of darkness searching for refuge. And Nathan certainly didn't shy away from attacking the more challenging roads. There was the beauty of the Karakorum Highway leading up out of northern Pakistan into China, running the gauntlet, riding alone almost on sufferance through the Swat valley where the welcoming friendliness encountered elsewhere had given way to a brooding mistrust.
Alongside the big challenges, the book is, at times, also imbued with a certain naivety. The `you guessed it' consequences for the camera left in the shower-room for safekeeping. The willingness, almost a preference at times, to ride through hours of darkness, whereas the soothsayers among us might point out that this is the time of most danger on unfamiliar roads.
Nathan speaks of sipping flavoured tea with other travellers at the lodge in Malaysia while enjoying movies. He watched `Into The Wild', but hoped for a better ending to his own adventure. I had read the book recently. Maybe Nathan's decision to grow his beard and not to comb his hair was a nod in the direction of Chris McCandless, the young American who starved to death in the wilds of Alaska on his great adventure. Although there are some similarities, the contrast between the two young men and their different adventure experiences is quite sharp. I guess Nathan wanted his independence but didn't really want to break away. For Chris McCandless it wasn't just a rite of passage - he truly wanted to escape from his family - finishing high school to meet his parents' expectations; leaving on his big trip without telling anyone where he was going; covering his tracks; letting his family suffer knives to the heart through not knowing where he was; giving away his family inheritance money; burning his cash; eventually abandoning his car and living the life of the hobo.
I admire Nathan Millward's honesty in telling his tale. With his low budget trip he succeeded in achieving things many of us never get to do in a whole lifetime.
on 8 February 2012
After hearing Nathans talk at Ripley in 2011 (easily the best talk of the event by far) I was well chuffed to see his book available in the UK on kindle at such a great price. I've just finished reading it this very night and I loved it as much as hearing his abridged story first hand. Well done and thank you. FYI the kindle has no pictures, but there's lots of really great pictures available on his website as well as a plethora of interesting videos on his YouTube channel.
Nathan captivatingly takes the reader along with him and his trusty steed Dot on their epic adventure from Australia to London and telling us, warts and all, of their trials and tribulations along the way. We get the chance to share his experiences of life on the road as a solo moto adventurer and meeting the people he meets: good and bad. During this snapshot of Nathan's adventure we begin to understand that traveling by motorcycle is a unique and special thing, peculiar to some, and understood by few.
on 16 February 2013
This a great book for the adventurer in us all, Nathans trip across the world on Dot his postman's bike is a great story of how grit and determination can get you through just about anything. It is more a story of personal and exploration rather than geographical or practical. I can not recommend this book highly enough, as a biker myself I wish I had his b*lls.
Buy it now to exported to a world of meeting great people, seeing great places and most of overcoming fear and trepidation to become a stronger person. All in all very inspirational.
on 4 March 2013
While it may be stating the obvious you have to be interested in travel and have some understanding of motorcycles to really appreciate this book. The narrator is a warm character and the charm of the book comes from the fact that "he did it his way". His approach defies the normal conventions. His bike was underpowered and and his gear and equipment were cobbled together and picked up during the journey. Another writer could have described the journey negatively as a series of mis-adventures but his eternal optimistm shone through and made it a life affirming read.
on 11 June 2014
Excellent tale well written by a lad who proves you don't need a massive bike, a full backup team, and Ewan and Charlie co-starring to ride around the world. As his visa to live in Australia was expiring he decided to kick off his bucket list in style, and ride a motorbike home to the UK - not a BMW GS or Pan European, but a humble and very second-hand Honda 'postie bike' called Dorothy. With 105cc of raw power under him and officialdom threatening to bring him down at every stage, Nathan rides through countries most of us only dream of, some of which have wars, terrorism and crime rampant as he passes through, and he reports enviable adventures as he discovers, and shares with us, the truth about the real people living along the way. He has no plan, no backup, not much money, and deals with each problem as he faces it. The one thing he does have is his resolve to ride home, which he pursues relentlessly.
A wonderful, up-beat tale of a real adventure written in a very readable style, which I have read over and over. If you ever want to take such a trip, or even dream of doing so, this is a must read!
on 4 December 2012
Years ago, I read "Jupiter's Travels" and was entranced by the description of other countries, as seen from a motorcycle. Since then, motorcycles have largely disappeared from my areas of interest (4 children will take control of your life), until my younger son passed his direct access test, and began to talk of overseas journeys by motorcycle. Several Kindle purchases followed, and then I found this book.
This is an honest, amusing, informative account of what would be to me a terrifying journey. Indeed, at times the author confronts his own fears, (and those of the media!)and overcomes them. A clear and affectionate description of people encountered, difficulties solved, and rapport with his machine lead me to recommend the book to my son, and I believe that his enjoyment of Nathan's travels was as great as mine, increased only by the pleasure of meeting the author at this year's bike show.
If you enjoy travel writing, adventure biking of the minimalist kind, and a good tale without too mush philosophy, then try this book!
on 8 February 2014
I loved the fact that Nathan winged it all the way. Hardly any equipment, no pots or pans to eat from except a reused sweet corn can, a tent occasionally minus some poles, living off the most basic sustenance.
The reals star performances are Nathan's spirit and resilience, and of course Dot, the little 110cc Honda. The resilience of these little machines are astounding, and had me reminiscing of my first bike, a Honda C50 cub, I rode this little bike all over England , probably putting in 30000 miles in a year before I got my next bike, another Honda this time a CD175. The Cub performed flawlessly , would do 50mph all day, the only failure I had was a rusted through exhaust.
I do have a friend Anders who, with his wife, are right now travelling the world on BMWs. Currently I think 6 months in , somewhere near Thailand. I really look forward to hearing their travel adventures, their web blog I devour the infrequent updates.
A brilliant read, Nathan - well done !
Five stars for effort, content and story.
The journey is bigger than those most people will ever undertake. Travel from Sydney back to London on a 110cc scooter on a whim. One of the things which adds to the story is Nathan's ill-preparedness. Leaving Sydney at short notice added to the adventure.
His descriptions of the highs and lows of his journey is matter-of-fact and feels 100% genuine. No beating around the bush. This makes for a truely entertaining and addictive story, following him though country after country, and hearing about the people who he met on the journey.
There's a wealth of information and entertainment in the book, I would definitely recommend reading it to anyone, whether you like motorcycles or travel.
on 18 January 2013
Having read books by many World travelers, all of whom spent months in preparation for their journey, it was fascinating to read about someone who just gets on his bike and goes. I ride 110cc Honda Scooter, on which I commute five thousand miles a year, I also use it for journeys of 100 miles or so, friends think I am nuts, but you just take your time, enjoy the scenery, and think of how little fuel you use. I have often thought about upgrading it to something larger, but Nathan has demonstrated that size is not important. An excellent read about a fantastic adventure, I look forward to reading of his future adventures.