Hello my friends! 😀 Welcome back to another Traveler’s Chair edition! Today we meet Throttle Adventures, a Kenyan couple who sold everything to tour the world on motorcycles… It doesn’t get more travel-inspiring than this, now does it?! 😀
A few years ago, I met Dos and Wamuyu of Throttle Adventures at a Travel Massive event in Nairobi… Being my first time there, it was refreshing to meet like-minded Kenyans who loved and lived for travel.
At the time, Dos and Wamuyu were researching into & planning a worldwide tour on their motorcycles… And as they shared their vision, the eyes in the room lit up with intrigue! Touched by their passion, we couldn’t help but root for them to succeed!
Are you curious as to how it went? Well, today I have the pleasure of sharing the Throttle Adventures world tour story… Happy reading!! 😀
Meet The Couple behind Throttle Adventures
What would surprise us about Dos and Wamuyu?
Dos: We are a free-spirited, adventurous & spontaneous duo… I am an extrovert while Wamuyu is an introvert. Her introverted nature is usually shadowed by my extrovert energy and so everyone finds it hard to believe that she is an introvert. 🙂
And we do have other interests… I have hiked Mt. Kenya three times and Mt. Kilimanjaro two times. Wamuyu loves coming up with her own recipes. She will throw in an ingredient into an uncommon food combination and it ends up surprisingly delicious!
Tell Us about How Your Motorcycling journey(s) started…
Wamuyu: We both started riding before we met. A mid-life crisis coupled with a childhood desire to ride, worked out for my good… After toying with the idea of riding for three years and searching for a riding school, I promised myself a bike for my 40th birthday.
I got it for my 41st– not too late. 🙂
Dos has been riding for 10 years, and his first encounter with a bike was through his pastor and mentor. He got a ride home from his pastor and that’s when he committed to owning his own bike one day…
He achieved his dream two year later, after training and saving up for a bike!
We met 4 months into my riding journey and Dos became my mentor from there on… He helped me to build confidence & with feeling comfortable on the road.
Dos was the first person to take me on a long distance ride out of town. And he’s been there, right by my side, ever since, through every hard encounter: from rain, hard off-road terrains, mud, crazy winds…!
What Came Before Throttle Adventures?
Dos: Before Throttle Adventures, we were just two souls wandering in their own worlds. I worked in Finance and I was combining school with work. I took a break from both, for a three months’ riding adventure to South Africa and back… On my return home, I went back to school to finish my dissertation.
Wamuyu is in Human Resource, though she worked largely in Operations, in the Petroleum industry. Her combination included being a mom, an employee and a host to expatriates who are now like family.
I met Wamuyu one month after my return from South Africa… Together, we now have two children and two grand-kids from our combined nuclear families.
Tell Us about How You Decided to Bike around the world?
Wamuyu: We were at a point where we both needed a break from the norm. One evening, an exciting idea to take off and travel for a year came up. The idea felt great the next day, and even weeks later the feeling hadn’t changed… And that’s how the planning for what would end up as a 3 and half years’ calendar begun! 😀
What did it take to prepare for a world-trip on motorcycles?
Preparing for the adventure was the hardest part since we didn’t have a reference point, and no Kenyan had done it before.
We happened to meet someone who’d driven with a group, from Kenya to Brazil for the World Cup. He ended up being the most instrumental person in our planning. Although their route was different, it was easy to adapt it into our own plan.
The routes we chose were mainly informed by weather, visas and other logistics like shipping of bikes… Everything was like a chain link and had to be well-planned.
We had to consider which countries to go through to avoid being locked in, due to visa requirements or shipping logistics. It meant getting a list of all the embassies and their contacts, plus estimated visa costs.
Monitoring the weather patterns was highly important to avoid the winter and cold, rainy seasons. Those seasons would make riding more difficult as they’d require additional gear, thus more money and space needed in our luggage.
We’d initially set a budget of Kshs. 250/- per kilometer, with about a daily budget of Kshs. 10,000 for both of us. However, we ended up living on a budget of Kshs. 5,000/- which catered for fuel, as well as our food and accommodation.
Big ticket items like shipping and experiences such as the Antarctica were placed separately.
How do you pack for a world-round trip? Any tips to share?
- Pack light and quick-to-dry clothes. You don’t need a lot of weight, plus you won’t have the luxury of doing laundry, ample time or good weather.
- Consider the activities you plan to do… For instance, if you are traveling and hiking, your hiking gear is a priority. Also, keep the weather in mind (hiking cold mountains and hiking in hot weather is different… In one you need to stay warm, while in the other you need to stay dry).
- Pack something for the days when you don’t have extreme activities. Multi-purpose clothes are the best. Your hiking pants can double-up as the pants you wear on regular days and your dress can be a beach cover-up to wear over your swimsuit.
- Whether traveling on a motorcycle or backpacking, you need to know how much weight is safe for you to carry. Avoid carrying too much that may cause health problems in the long run.
- Spend on good quality that will last you a long time, even years. While you can get anything you want anywhere, avoid shopping as you travel, unless it’s very necessary.
How many countries did you cover?
We visited a total of 24 countries; 20 of which were on our bikes. We rode to 10 countries in Africa and 10 countries in South America. Though our plan was to still cover Europe on bikes, we traveled to Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France without bikes.
What was your border experience like?
Surprisingly, we were always received with a lot of excitement, because they’ve not seen many Kenyans traveling by road.
We got to e-meet some Kenyans while traveling in South America, and most of them had dual citizenship. Hence they were traveling on their second passport.
We hardly felt worried at the borders except when they’d question our new light blue passports, as they are still relatively unknown. This served as a great conversation starter… They would often ask: ‘but the Kenyan passport is navy blue like the American passport?’ 😀
The fact that we were traveling on motorcycles also led to great conversations at the borders.
What Lessons have you learned from the journey?
Out of the many lessons, these are some of the most valuable ones for us…
- The media is a big liar… Travel and see for yourself that it’s safe to travel. Exercise the same safety and security precautions you apply back home.
- There is much more love and humanity out there than the hate you hear about.
- Love your own country. Once you are out there, you realise that your own country is equally beautiful. 🙂
Share one of your Worst moments…
Wamuyu: One time we used a border that is notorious for drug trafficking… When we got to their Military Border control, they asked for our passports which Dos had put in his waistline bag. And as he went to remove them, they thought he was reaching for a gun.
The officer pulled out a gun so quickly, pointing it at Dos’s head… I screamed my lungs out in panic and that is what saved our lives!
Share some of your Best Moments from your trip…
We had so many good moments that it’s always difficult to choose…
One amazing moment is when we hoisted the Kenyan flag in Antarctica! However, the moments we shared with people around the world will always have a special place in our hearts… We made many friends along the way; some who traveled with us across a number of countries and others who opened their homes to and fed us.
We still keep in touch and that is the best part. 🙂
Tell us about your experiences Coming back home amidst the Corona Virus Pandemic…
In 2020, the borders unexpectedly closed on us two days after entering Nicaragua. The Kenyan airspace closed down 10 days later. That left us with no choice but to stay.
Having our Kenyan-registered motorcycles further added to the logistical hiccups.
We were not prepared to come back home at all and so we had to start preparing ourselves emotionally and mentally. We’d just sold the last of our items in January 2020, when Wamuyu had returned home for a brief visit. So at the time, we were anticipating another two years on the road. Who knew it would only be two more months on the road?
When the Kenyan airspace later opened up, we made plans to come back…The travel requirements kept changing on a daily basis and that was the greatest frustration.
Unfortunately, on the way back, we got stranded in New York after Emirates extended our stay… We are still waiting for a response from them, as the communication we received from Emirates was never honoured at any one time.
We are now back home and starting from scratch: getting a place to call home, furnishing and searching for jobs at the most difficult time for businesses and corporates. We are taking it a day at a time. 🙂
Any tips for couples on traveling together?
- Take some time to travel together as a couple. You don’t have to do years on the road, but you can take a month or so, if possible.
- Go beyond ‘the honeymoon’ and experience some hardships together. You’ll learn to be the best of friends again when spending 24/7 together.
- Keep an open mind because it’s going to be a test on your relationship. Things work very differently from home: roles change and you have to be each other’s best support, emotionally, physically and technically.
It literally means ‘the two of you against the world‘, because your support system is back at home, hence you can only be the best for each other.
What’s next for Throttle Adventures?
Throttle Adventures has a few plans in the pipeline… We won’t preempt. Stay tuned… 🙂
Any last words of Advice for aspiring travelers?
Just do it!!
P.S. If you enjoyed this story, you might want to check out another Traveler’s Chair edition post HERE.
Thank you for reading! I hope you are inspired by Throttle Adventures to go after your own dreams, no matter how big or scary! It can be done 🙂
Until the next one….
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