Originally from England, I moved to Tanzania, East Africa in my early 20's with one baby and expecting my second. I longed for a more natural and free upbringing for my children where both the weather and the people were warm and welcoming. Despite the harshness Africa can bring there is a genuine underlay of kindness, patience and joy that I had found nowhere else. My children grew up largely outside, barefoot and gadget free. My husband didn't share my passion and left soon after my son was born and I moved to Kenya where at the time work permits and jobs were easier to find. Along came husband number 2, a wonderful and generous man and then twins soon followed. I was able to work mostly from home and dabbled in jewellry making, art and interior decorating. I co-founded a Steiner school and my 4 children learned how to grow their own food and basic building skills alongside the 3 R's. We kept horses and many dogs, camped amongst wildlife and enjoyed magnificent beach holidays. Life was idyllic. There was a downside though. Security in countries with such a divide between rich and poor is almost always an issue. When our youngest were just 13, my husband lost his life in a terrible robbery and life changed drastically.
Jumping forward a few years and life is on a more even keel again. My eldest has completed university and is happily settled with her boyfriend and working north of London. My son works in the extraordinary wilderness of Alaska's Wrangell St Elias National Park and my twins are finishing college in England. One is heading for university and a degree in world domination, oops I mean world development and the other to a teaching career in a beautiful private school in the countryside. We developed our small plot of land in Nairobi with a family home and tiny cottages to rent out ... and I discovered the unbelievable freedom and joy of motorcycle travel with my new partner and bike fanatic, Gary.
About the man at the handlebars
Gary was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) growing up as a white African. He was adventurous from the moment he could walk, forever in trouble for disappearing off into the African bush, at first on a homemade BMX bicycle and later on borrowed farm motorbikes. He did attend school on occasion though left prematurely to become a Commissioned Officer with the Rhodesian Special Forces. During this time he used his R&R for motorcycle racing, a sort of therapy for the atrocities he had witnessed, including a mad dash crosscountry from Matabeleland to the highlands and back on a DT125 - a distance of a few thousand kilometers. His first ADV ride, and the beginning of a 40 year passion for riding.
At the end of the war he was forced to move to South Africa with a young wife, two tin trunks, and a handwritten note recommending him for a job with a Kawasaki dealership. From these humble beginnings and with a lot of hard work, he was able to pursue his desire to race. In a ten year career he achieved his South African motorsport colours, competing in all off road disciplines from MX and trials to hard enduro and rally raids, amongst these the Trans Kalahari (Africa's version of Baja) and the world famous hard enduro, Roof of Africa, with many podium finishes. He qualified for both the Paris Dakar and the ISDE with international teams and spent much of his free time adventure riding across the African continent.
Professionally he spent 20 years as Operations Director, sub-Saharan Africa for the Coca Cola Company and a further 10 as a private consultant for international blue chip companies in troubled and emerging markets including Eastern Europe, West Africa, SE Asia, Russia and Siberia.
He is father to two beautiful daughters, a teacher and a lawyer both living and working in South Africa.
Now retired, he spends most of his time on his new hobby - 2up adventure riding with me, and when I'm not on the back taking his 800GSA over terrain many riders would fear to tread...