Why am I doing this, you might ask (English)

This is how it started:
Around 7 years ago I read a book by Ted Simon, called ‘Jupiter’s Travels’, it’s about a man traveling the world by motorbike in 4 years. This romantic thought never really left my mind. Initially I figured that doing this with friends would be the best option. As I found out, people have their own dreams and plans, and that is how it should be. I decided to do the trip by myself. In the meantime, Evelien entered my life. She could not be drawn into this insane idea, and we decided that she would come along for a month. I can’t wait really till we meet again. Then my dad called. He was interested in a back seat position as well. Before I knew it I had said yes, and now he is coming too hopefully, for a week or 2, after Evelien.
I read many books, spend many hours on the internet and talked to many people. Now is the time.

These are the countries that I would like to visit:
Germany (done)
Poland (rolled into Warsaw yesterday)
Ukraine (day after tomorrow?)
Russia
Kazakhstan
Mongolia
– From here onwards it is pretty uncertain. if I can enter China (which is nearly impossible without paying a huge sum), than my route will be different than if I don’t enter China. In general I would say that Central Asia en Southern Asia are on the list. Riding the bike home is a bonus. These are the countries that I would like to visit after the first leg:
China?
Kyrgistan
Tadjikistan
Pakistan
Nepal
India
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam?
Iran
Turkey
Europe…

This is what it took to prepare for the trip:
I have spend the last year preparing this trip, and very intensely so the last 6 months, and almost too intensely the last 3 weeks. I nearly collapsed. Making dreams come true requires serious investments – money, time en energy:

The bike: a 1100GS BMW. A fucking great machine, already proved itself after 5 days. Super reliable, quick and agile. It seems that it likes heavy loads even better! Good boy. from 1998, 28K on the clock. Only big problem with the bike is it weight. Heard that before.

The extra’s: I have an alluminum pannier system, an extra big tank (41L), frame reinforcements, protection plates, etc. All from Touratech. Tough German stuff. I also carry many spare parts, like spark plugs, brake pads, cables, o-rings, etc. I am now a mid-size BMW dealer. I also brought a puncture repair kit and a 12V pump. Never done that actually, repairing tyres. Got the manual with me. NB, for the really interested people: I ride with Metzler Tourance all-road tyres. Should last 15K.

Gear: I brought a way too expensive suit, but already legendary in the Warsaw mooson, from BMW. Also some super ‘polizei’ boots from BMW. Mono brand travelling, nice. Not entirely, I bought an Arai Tour X helmet, to best protect the few remaining braincells. I also have custom-made earplugs. They are a miracle. It is the difference between being dead tired after 2 hours of riding, or just very tired.


Clothing
: some socks and underwear plus a sweater and pants, t-shirts, etc. Not too much. Asics and flip-flops as well. Oh, and a hat when ticks start to fall from trees.

Camping: I have bought a sleeping bag, a 2-person tent, and a matras. I did not pack utensils to cook with, I’d rather spot some fine cuisine along the road. I also brought a mini mac light.


Health
: thanks to a doctor-friend (Paul), the AMC in Amsterdam provided me with some killer first aid stuff. No idea how to use the skin stapler, but we’ll see. He also gave me a basic first aid course. On the computer. See if that saves lives. I have had a series of injections for all sorts of illnesses, including the Japanese tick, thislovely creature being active in Mongolia. Malaria pills are packed as well.

Paperwork: a constant worry now, everyday checking a 1000 times. Without it I am lost: a passport including already 5 visas, international driving licences, carnet de passage (bloody expensive), owners papers, insurance papers, etc. It;s all scanned in, available on my Hotmail (thanks Vincent for last minute help). I have copies as well with me, b/w and colour.

Electronics: iPod, digital camera, mobile phone (roamingggg), GPS (thanks Bob), and Ipod card reader to put stuff from digi cam on ipod (thanks Sander). As you’ll understand, this is daily worry no. 2. I charge the stuff while riding. Had 2 extra ports installed for that. Works well actually. Evelien, my girl, has read the entire first book of ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ into the iPod. This is for lonely nights, 5 hours of Evelien, supercool. I also have spoken messages from many
people on my iPod, once every couple of days I listen to one. Very happy with that.

Other stuff: home made cookies (thanks mam), flares – if I am in the desert with two broken legs, knives, diary, credit cards, debet card, cash money (euros and dollars), two super locks, a bike cover, books (travel guides, literature), alarm, all sorts of small stuff, duct tape

Seems like a lot, and it is a lot actually. I feel like a super sherpa, It is impossible when arriving to carry the lot inside a hostel for example. Rule no. 1 in motyorbike travel: take less…. I tried, failed.

Enjoy my stories.

Martijn

35 thoughts on “Why am I doing this, you might ask (English)

  1. Hi Martijn,
    Hulde dat je dit voor elkaar hebt gekregen, zal je met belangstelling volgen, veel groeten van mij, Leontine, Evy en …

  2. Waauw heel leuk om je verhalen te lezen
    Net zelf terug uit China…if you have a chance and can get in, do it…echt fascinerend…
    Take care

    V

  3. Hey Martijn!
    Leuk om wat van je te horen. Heb je hele site gelezen en ga ‘m blijven bekijken. Hoop dt je vaak de mogelijkheid om te posten, ook al zijn het alleen maar foto’s… het ziet er allemaal fantastisch uit, ondanks de moeilijkheden en het missen van Evelien. Take care… Bryony

  4. Hi Martijn!

    First of all let me thank you for sharing this awesome adventure with me by sending this link to your blog. I look forward to following your journey. Should you make your way through Spain towards the end of your trip, be sure to look me up, I’ll be moving there in July!

    Take care and thanks for being an inspirational force in the art of following one’s dreams!

    /Tanya

  5. Hallo Martijn.Wat geweldig leuk om je te volgen. Leuke foto’s Digitaal ben ik nog niet zo ervaren, dus ik hoop, dat deze boodschap overkomt. Veel sukses verder op je reis.Liefs van Simon en Els

  6. Martijn – ontzettend gaaf je zo’n droom waar te zien maken…this is stuff lives are made of, never mind just dreams!
    All the best, take care – will be watching!

  7. Ik heb al een lang verhaal geproduceerd en weet niet of het doorgekomen is. Geniet en met veel plezier zal ik je avonturen volgen.
    Take care, liefs,Joke

  8. Heel veel succes !
    Ben je al zo’n monsterlijk mooie Ural tegengekomen.

    Groet’n uut Vorden

  9. hee martijn, de dutch tenere association (dta) weet er inmiddels van. je ex (34L) ligt uit elkaar maar het begin met de opbouw is begonnen. ziet eriut dat je het goed naar de zin hebt, houden zo en take care. we houden je in de gaten en laat weten wanner je terug bent komen we een keer langs voor een “reunie”. cheers mate doe ze de groeten on down-under. 8)

  10. Hi Gozer!!

    Ik ben trots op je!!

    Ik kan me de zware en eenzame momenten goed voorstellen: Je moet maar zo denken, alleen vanuit de dalen zie je de pieken!! Anders zou alles vlak zijn…

    GPS
    Is het gelukt met het contrast? Heb je m’n sms ontvangen? Ik denk dat het aan de het contrast ligt. Dit moet je in de instelling gewoon naar beneden bijstellen. Komt wel vaker voor….

    China
    Ik heb mijn contacten gemaild.
    Heb je al wat vernomen van Sidney? Zo nee laat dan even weten dag bel ik hem even.

    Ik hou je in de gaten!!

    PS: Laat zo nu en dan even een gps locatie achter. Heb een programma waar ik dan precies kan zien waar je zit.

  11. Martijn! “You crazy foooool!!” Buddy, hope you’re having an amazing time – looks unbelievable – Very jealous Grandad.

    If you get anywhere near HK I’ll come up and see you – Perhaps Bob’ll give you some free pen!

    Enjoy every moment – Will be following you all the way. J

  12. Hi Martijn,

    Remember me? You approached me at motormarkt de Jordaan and told me about your trip, asking me questions about parts , preperation etc.
    Dude, it is so cool to see your weblog and reading your’re already in the Ukrain!!

    I will follow your log with lots of curiousity, envy and respect. Take good care of yourself !

    Regards,
    Martijn

  13. Hey Martijn!! I made an effort with sending an e-mail, don`t know if I made it!! The weblog idea is hell amazing!! Know that you follow a dream of mine, so almost daily I`m getting in to see new photos, moments and adventures! I got some problems on translation, but till the end of your journey, I`ll have learn Dutch!!!!
    Go on lonely rider we re right behind you..
    Take for granted that if you chose getting in Europe through Greece there is no other alternative for you than my place.. I`m so jealous of you!! Just started Jupiter`s travel.. Thanx so much for encouraging others`dreams!! Cheers and take good care!!!!!!

  14. Damn! Your 1-8 Jun stories finished so fast reading!!

    Thanx man for the English… Really helps enjoying more..
    Dutch stories are also welcome, though..!!!

    Have fun, your way!!!!!!!!!

    Waiting for more..

  15. He jongen,

    Ben je log nu eindelijk weer even rustig aan het doorlezen. Blijft mooi om al je foto’s te zien en je gaat er zelf ook al echt als de wereldreiziger uitzien.

    Spreek je snel weer even.

  16. He coolio,
    je verhalen en foto’s zijn te gek! 100% ‘about the journey, not only the destination’! Inspireert me bijna om motorrijlessen te nemen…:) Houd je haaks, Judith

  17. gozer, wat een heerlijke verhalen en fotos.
    ik blijf ervan geniet. πŸ™‚
    weet niet goed hoe dit werkt, maar check later of het lukt.
    ik krijg steeds meer spijt dat ik niet mee ben… hahaha
    geniet en hou’m op de weg!
    groet,
    Koen

  18. he martijn!
    Wat ben jij nou allemaal aan het doen!? Jorien maakte me attent op je weblog. Je verhalen en foto’s zijn wel heel vermakelijk! Ik blijf je zo nu en dan volgen. Heel veel plezier en succes op je roadtrip! groetjes, suzanne

  19. hoi, ik wil ook een keer met de motor het oostblok in, maar hoe zit het met de veiligheid in de betreffende landen?je hoort nog wel eens verhalen..
    mijn vervoer is dan waarschijnlijk de dnepr..
    Vr.Gr
    Arnaud

  20. hallo, hallo,
    we hebben je relaas tot maandag met veel
    plezier gevolgd. sinds 25/07 is er geen aan-
    vulling. we nemen dus maar aan dat Lien goed is aangekomen en haar pak dus goede diensten
    blijkt te verrichten. nog mooier zou het zijn te horen of ze goed is aangekomen en het net zo leuk vindt/heeft nu de motor van nieuwe banden is voorzien. geluk en tot gauw!
    veel liefs, pahan, of zeggen ze daar paghan?
    groeten ook van marianne en tot gauw.

  21. Hey Martijn,

    amazing what you’re doing.I came across your website by coincidence when I “googled” my boyfriend Tim Cope today to find another article he wrote for an Australian newspaper.
    Funny, did you meet him or know him? Because you’ve got a link on your website.
    When I have more time (and internet access at home, I’m working on it, today I went to the store twice bec they sold me the wrong modem… and I’m blonde πŸ™‚ …)I’ll read your website more intensively.
    I joined Tim last year on the horses for 2 months through Mongolia when he started the trip and will call him in a few minutes (he’s in Almaty right now) and tell / ask him about you.
    He was lucky that I’m into camping, dirt (YEAH!), horses – and motorbikes :), just read about your girlfriend that she doesn’t like it.
    Unfortunately I couldn’t join him this summer (had a brain tumor surgery in June) and won’t see him until ?!?!?
    Anyway, the 2 New Zealand/Australian guys, Cara and Cordell, I also know and who joined Tim for the last 7 weeks or so are planning to go on through Russia, up to Finland and Sweden and then down to France via Germany (=my place) by motorbike. But they wont start in Kazakstan as they don’t have a driving license and only on Russia you can drive with the international one (and have insurance covering you). I’ll talk to them tonight as well, maybe they’re interested in what you experienced.
    Have to go, got a “phone date” if I manage to come through to Almaty.

    Have fun, good luck and if you have the time I’d love to hear from you and your trip.

    Tschues, Kathrin

  22. Hallo Martijn,

    We volgen je reis al maanden op de voet en hebben het ook aan anderen vertelt ,mijn zwager spreekt me er regelmatig over aan als hij weer heeft gekeken.We vinden het geweldig leuk om je verhalen te lezen en met de vele foto,s er bij wordt het nog mooier.Ja ons wereldje ziet er dan wel even anders uit.
    Zo wordt je toch nog een echte kerel (ha ha)in het harde bestaan waar in deze mensen leven.Nog veel reis plezier.

    groetjes Piet en Rina xxx πŸ˜›

  23. he, Martijn.

    Jemig, joh! Zwaar te gek!
    ‘k heb nog niet alles gelezen, maar dat gebeurt snel!!
    je site is top en kwam ik al surfende tegen…
    Sinds 1 maand heb ik een 1150 adventure.
    ja, je snapt m al.
    Ik lees weer verder!
    gegr. R πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Martijn,

    almost 1 year after I just looked up your homepage again – and just wanted to say “hi”. Tim (Cope) is still on his way and will be (for more than a year longer than he had assumed in the beginning) and we’re not together (a strange word anyway in our situation) anymore but life is pretty good that way!
    Hope you’re happy back in the Netherlands.
    Are you doing another trip some time?

    Cheers, Kathrin

  25. Great read and I like the photos. It looks like the Russians have Caterpillar tractors. It is a shame you weren’t able to go to China. I have been there and it’s one of the best places I have been.

    Didn’t you say you had all your visas in order?

    They just didn’t want you crossing the border alone?

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