Sunday, 3 May 2015

JOURNEY COMPLETE! THE SUPER TENERE BACK IN AFRICA

My friend and Yamaha dealer from Swakopmund, Namibia, Jan Soderlund (originally from Finland, but married and working in Namibia), decided to continue the Round the World Expedition which I started in November 2013.  He took over the bike in Colombia and after 4 months of amazing adventures across South America he has arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, thus completing the circumnavigation of the world.

The total expedition mileage breaks down something like that (with a little margin, of course):

I bought the bike in Namibia and rode to Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya (from where my wife and I flew to Istanbul, Turkey, due to problems with Ethiopia border and washed out roads due to rains), then Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Spain again, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Japan, Canada, US, Mexico, Central America: TOTAL of 65.000 km done by me.

Then, Jan took over and started in Cartagena, Colombia, down to Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina, from where he flew the bike back to Johannesburg where the bike stood just 18 months ago when I was there before the departure.  TOTAL of 15.000 km, done by him.

GRAND TOTAL: 80.000 km, 5 continents, 29 countries

During this time, I spoke to thousands of people about our project in Zambia for the orphans, I wrote 42 Magazine articles in 9 International magazines, I made many friends and in the process, this expedition changed both my life and my friend Jan's life, as we experienced spectacular places, amazing cultures and gained invaluable experience.

Thank you Jan for your commitment to cross a continent on this bike and to take time from your busy life to help complete this expedition.

Thank you Yamaha for creating such an amazing machine that has never quit on us, nor stopped working and even though it has more than 100.000 km on the clock, it is still as powerful and beautiful as it was when I bought it new in Swakopmund.

For photos and info on Jan's adventures in South America, check his Facebook blog:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/On-S10-through-South-America-Jan-S%C3%B6derlund/389347707899045

New adventures await those who dream!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

a Holiday Opportunity!

We would like to share two opportunities for our orphans and for you, our readers!

OPPORTUNITY 1:

My father, John, who is an artist, donated several of his original oil paintings to us to raise funding for our Academy in Zambia.
Below you will see some of these canvases, signed by my father (with exhibitions in Montreal, Windhoek, Paris, Bucharest) that are up for grabs for anyone interested in making a donation to our cause.
He can also paint any landscape image to order, so if you have a special request and special size that you would like to be turned into an oil painting, email me: nomadsportsacademy@gmail.com and attach your photo and say what size you want the painting to be and you will get it by mail in few weeks.

Minimum donation: 500$ or 400 Euro
To donate, click here:


Once on the page, click the Paypal information and follow the easy steps there.  Please make sure you mention the title of the oil painting you want and your shipping address.

We are grateful for your donation.  

All your donations go to our orphan feeding programs and to the education programs for our children in Zambia.


1.  Thursday Island Harbor, 19th Century
2.  Lighthouses

3. A beacon of hope

4.  Moored in the bay

5.  Tropical Sunset

6.  Frozen in Time

7.  Acacia in Serengeti

8.  Winter cottage


Namib Desert
 Fall leaves by the river


Summer scene

Fall leaves II

Peaceful setting

Prairie cottage

Sunset by the lake

By the village

African village by the sea

African Sunset

Hay stacks

Rowing in the bay

Lac de Deux Montagne

Winter forest

Norwegian fishing village

Sailing in the evening

Lac St. Louis, Pointe Claire, Canada


OPPORTUNITY 2:

We have a great offer for 2 people to come to Africa for a week (all expenses paid: airfare, accommodation, food, transport, activities) in this amazing Charity Draw.
For a donation of $100 or more, you will be entered a chance to win this amazing African Safari (Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Lake Kariba and Kafue National Park).

The competition starts today, December 25th and will be open until April 1st, 2015 (draw is conditional to the amount of people donating, as it is a match-up by an anonymous donor).  On April 2nd, 2015, we will draw the winning ticket.

To donate, click here:


ONCE ON THE PAGE, FIND THE PAYPAL INFO BUTTON, CLICK ON IT AND FOLLOW THE EASY STEPS TO DONATE.  MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL AND FULL NAME FOR OUR DRAW IN APRIL.

All donations will be used towards the building of our Academy and to benefit our orphans in Zambia.

We are grateful for your donation.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Show Must Go On!

GOOD NEWS!

In just few weeks, my bike will continue its journey around the world ridden by my friend, Jan Soderlund, from Finland, living in Swakopmund, Namibia.  He is the owner of the Yamaha dealership there and it was there where I bought the bike in the first place in October 2012.  
Jan will pick up the bike in Cartagena, Colombia and head South to Ushuaia, Argentina and then on to Buenos Aires and then fly to Africa for the last leg of this amazing journey.

I am more than happy to see my bike continuing on... With the medical issues in my family and the onset of winter here in Canada, I am forced to halt my plans to complete the last 10.000 km of this Round the World expedition.  But my bike will finish it!  She is on the ship as we speak from Florida to Cartagena and in few weeks she will ride South with her new rider!

Stay tuned, as Jan will feed me information about the South American leg and I will post it here.

Meanwhile, I am on different ventures and Carmen and I will continue to support our orphans in Zambia and to continue the development of our Sports Academy for Orphans.

www.nomadsportsacademy.com
 

Monday, 27 October 2014

But I, being poor, have only my dreams...
I have spread my dreams under your feet...
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

It is 2:00 am; police sirens fill the air outside my hotel room and I peek through the corner of the window to see what's happening...  dozens of Hummer trucks with officers armed to the teeth with heavy machine guns speed down the main road to an unknown place from where I can hear shootings and loud noises.  I cannot sleep, I tossed and turned both in my bed and in my mind for the past few days, battling with a very heavy decision.  The situation in Mexico (drug wars, kidnappings, tortures, decapitations, corruption, etc) does not help at all!

News from Canada reached me a day before I arrived in Las Vegas; my mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the family is requested to be by her side before a very sensitive and difficult operation she is scheduled for in few weeks.

I decided to keep riding South and maybe fly to Canada later, closer to the operation.  By the time I was half way through Central America, things were not very positive on the home front and I decided to ride back to Canada instead of leaving my bike in a very volatile place like Southern Mexico or Guatemala.

Since I was a young boy, I hated turning back from anywhere... It might be a deeply psychological problem that I always had, but turning back makes me very unhappy.  Turning back from my Round The World expedition, after 60.000 km done and with only 10.000 remaining was even harder than I expected.
However, there was never a doubt in my mind that this was the right decision to make.  Therefore, with a very heavy heart, I climbed on my bike at 6:00 the next morning and headed north, northeast, for my 5.500 km ride back to Montreal, Canada.  
I rode the whole distance in 5 days, only stopping for gas and sleep at night, with the last 3 days riding through cold rain and sleet with the beginning of the winter in Northern US and Canada.

For 13 hours a day, I had plenty of time to meditate on this situation with my mother, with my family as a whole and my journey so far across this vast world of ours... Flashing images of places kept running through my mind, amazing smells of spices and flowers from the fields of the countries I've been through and sounds of all kinds, filled my head with memories and my eyes with tears.

The shock of my mother's cancer hit all of us (5 brothers and sisters, with spouses and children, about 20 people in all) very hard.  We had to come together to figure out how to deal with this news and I was happy to return to be part of this.  Therefore, this is where it all stops for me and for my journey across this world, at least for now.  Carmen and I did everything in our power to ride this bike around the world and tell everyone about our orphans in Zambia, our project there for them and to raise awareness and funding for this.  Hundreds of thousands of people found out about it, read my articles that were published from Australia to US, Canada, Europe and Japan and from our blog.  

We will continue to support our children in Africa and to offer them a chance to go to school and to have a decent meal.  We thank all those that helped us along the way, provided guidance, assistance and friendship, we will never forget you.

I dreamed the dream of the world, of her mountains and deserts and trees, of her songs and stories, of her tears and smiles, of her perfume and splendor and I lived this dream for 1 full year.

If suffering brings wisdom,
I would wish to be less wise.

When you are old and gray and full of sleep, 
and nodding by the fire, 
take down this book and slowly read,
 and dream of the soft look 
your eyes had once, 
and of their shadows deep.




Monday, 13 October 2014

LEG 21: MONTREAL TO YUMA, ARIZONA: 7500 KM



The time of rest is over… After spending few weeks with my family in Montreal, it was time for me to head on the road again.  Winter is approaching Canada fast and I didn’t want to be caught in the Great lakes region when the snow starts so, in a sunny day at the end of September I left Montreal heading South to New York state.
I was apprehensive about crossing the border into US because I haven’t been to America in few years and now I was coming on a bike registered in Africa and alone.  As I came into the US Immigration booth, the officer look at my passport and when he found out I was coming from Africa, he called few of his fellow officers and they all became very curious about my trip.  They gave me no problems whatsoever, but were inquisitive about my itinerary from Africa and my adventures.  They told me they have never seen an African bike making it into US before, which made me quite proud of my Namibian, beautiful bike!
I decided to head straight West from New York, through Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, towards the Rockies.  The Mid-US states were kind of flat and uninteresting, but as I approached Denver, the landscape became increasingly beautiful and exciting.  The Rocky Mountains were looming ahead and I felt like the settlers of Old going West in search of adventure.
A day before I arrived in Denver I heard a clanking sound at the rear wheel and I got worried I screwed up something there.  As I stopped for the night, I noticed that the shield for the shaft was cracked and a piece of metal was sticking out.  I was sure this was the cause of the sound and I removed the shield.  In the morning, however, the sound was still there.  I rode to Denver in slow speed and I pulled into the Yamaha dealer.  When the mechanic came out he moved the rear wheel  and immediately he realized that it was my wheel bearings and took the bike in for service. 
Once fixd, the bike ran smoothly again and she was purring happy across the Colorado Rockies, not even noticing the increase in altitude.  I camped wild that night in the mountains, on the shore of a lake and it felt good to be in the wild again, but it was so cold I hardly slept that night.  In the morning the tent and the bike were covered in ice and the thermometer showed -4 degrees Celsius.  I packed my stuff while shaking like a leaf.  I was heading to Moab, Utah to see the Arches National Park, but before I reached there, I had to cross the Rockies through the Independence Pass, 4000 m high.  It was the coldest day of my entire riding to date, even colder than Norway and when I arrived in Aspen, Colorado I was stiff as a board.  By contrast, 1 hour later when I reached Utah, it was 28 degrees outside!
From here on, even though I rode through beautiful scenery, like Arches, Monuments Valley in Arizona and eventually Grand Canyon Park, my mental state was not right: I received some bad news from home and I also felt more alone than ever before.  I knew that in an expedition like this you will have low moments, but mine came all together and from different angles and caught me unprepared.  This made the rest of the ride to Las Vegas and California seem more like a chore than a pleasure and serious doubts haunted me for days.  I struggled with the idea of quitting and returning home in Canada and forget about everything.
I stopped in Malibu, California in camp by the sea and for three days I debated whether I should go on or not.  There were more cons than pros…  However, somehow I pushed myself to continue in spite of myself and my insecurities and forced myself to finish this expedition.  I have come now 51.000 km from Africa to this point and I have 25.000 more to go.  It seemed that these last ones would be harder to manage…
I left that Sunday morning to the South, towards San Diego, stopping first at a major biker hotspot in the mountains, called the Rock Store.  It was a great start to my journey to the South; hundreds of bikers meet here because of the beautiful Canyon ride that leads to this CafĂ©.  When the bikers saw me, they were very friendly and interested in my journey from Africa and I got to know a few of them.
I then rode towards San Diego and then Yuma Arizona from where I decided to enter Mexico. 
America was a swift affair, but I loved riding my bike from the East to the West.  I have been to US many times, I traveled to all states except Alaska, but now I saw America on my bike and this, for me, is a big milestone.


The leaves in New York State were just beginning their majestic Fall show
 The magnificent Rocky Mountains of Colorado

 Ice on my bike in the morning
 Crossing the Rockies


 My camp in the woods

 Arches National Park, Utah



 Monuments Valley, Arizona

 My camp at the Grand Canyon
 The spectacular Grand Canyon: 1.6 km deep



 Sunset on the way to Las Vegas
 Crazy Las Vegas


 My camp in Malibu California
 The famous Rock Store

 Glen Du Pont, Adventure Rider on KTM 1190, preparing for his ride to the Arctic!!!