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 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 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 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 27 November 2012
I really enjoyed this book. Usually adventure bike books are written by wealthy, middle aged, middle class blokes on BMW GS bikes and I have been either bored or appalled. This isn't like those books - it's an interesting story of a young lad travelling the world by bike, with a human back story of lost love and self-discovery. Nathan Millward is a nice guy and that comes through in the writing. It also helps that he can write a bit.
This is a good travel book, and I've even recommended that my bike-phobic girlfriend read it. And my mum, although I think she might be worried I'd want to do the same. No chance! I couldn't even fit on a bike that small!
on 15 August 2016
Very interesting book written in a lovely readable style. The only thing amiss was lack of detail regarding some of the encounters he had and the people he met. There was hardly any mention of what he ate in any of the countries her crossed which was disappointing, just a reference to "ate a plate of food" which was very annoying.
Would recommend his second Postman book too, enjoyed the sample, but can't afford to buy it at nearly £5.
on 21 July 2016
I'm blaming Nathan if half the bikers out there end up tossing a coin and going for their dreams. I hope one day the road 'finds me & my nearest and dearest'. What a fantastic journey, and such brilliant detail with all the extra photos, videos and notes. You well and truly deserved that journey. Thanks for sharing it with us, and anyone who is in two minds whether to get this book, don't think about it, just get it. It's brilliant.