Who wants to travel around the world? Everyone, I believe. Of course, the majority would travel by plane and the more adventurous by car. But can you imagine travel the world by motorcycle for 4 years? It’s unimaginable for me. Ivana and Manu, a Macedonian-Spanish couple, just finished their travel around the world and this is their story in short.
Around Gaia on Yamaha
In numbers, Ivana Colakovska and Manu Torres started their travel around the world on 17 April 2013 when they headed for their first destination – Morocco. They were on the road 1450 days during which they visited 1450 different places, on 6 continents, 55 countries and crossed 148.000 km on their Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré. They wanted to reach Australia, South America, and Alaska and without some particular specified plan, they did it. Without GPS and without any preparation for this kind of venture they opened a completely new chapter in their lives, and in their family’s life.
After some time Ivana and Manu realized that this travel had become a serious project.
“Every time when a certain threat would occur and endanger our trip I would always find a way to overcome that obstacle. In that way, I became more mature and proud to share the lessons I’ve learned so this act of courage would motivate others on fulfilling their efforts. And so it was. As the time was passing by I realized that my dream wasn’t only mine anymore. I felt a commitment to never give up because with conquering my fears and overcoming the challenges I wanted to show that everyone can succeed” – says Ivana.
Their limits were tested immediately on their first try. They were tested so many times as they traveled through deserts, forests, villages and high mountains; on minus 20 and plus 50 Celsius, under heavy rains, snow, wind, dust, and the extremely hot Sun.
Troubles meet them on every corner. Lack of oxygen while traveling in Bolivia; a broken leg that needed surgery, frozen fingers and blood from the nose while crossing Pamir mountain in Tajikistan. They slept under the open sky in the Sumatra’s jungle while fearing their lives from tiger attack or Grizzlies while driving through Alaska. They were eating ants and grasshoppers to survive and run away from thieves who wanted to still their motorcycle in Buenos Aires.
They also faced serious difficulties regarding overseas transportation and crossing the borders. However, they kept believing and never gave up.
“Once you arrive with a smile, all the doors will open”
One of the things I wonder about in cases like this is food and accommodation. How they managed without a budget, only with some basic tools and clothes to survive out there? It’s a true miracle that all these years they succeeded to find shelter by connecting with locals who opened their doors and welcomed the foreigners.
On their journey, they mostly avoided riding on highways and drove through villages. Traveling on small roads helped them to get close and connect with locals. They learned about local traditions, and every time they would enter a new country and meet new culture they had to learn to trust the habitats and vice versa.
While traveling they were noticed on the social media and supported by some companies, gained partners and some sponsorship that helped them to achieve their goal.
Welcomed as heroes
On 1 April 2017, they crossed Greece border and entered Macedonia. 70 bikers were waiting for them to accompany them to their final destination to Skopje. When Ivana and Manu entered the capital of Macedonia they were followed by 220 bikers and welcomed with music on the city square by many of their relatives, friends, and supporters.
After Skopje, their travel around the world continues through Europe. They plan to go to Spain and meet Manu’s family and friends. From there, they will continue traveling to France, Germany and drive Europe.
I admire people like Ivana and Manu. They leave an example of what my life motto is – “Life is to be experienced not interpreted”. Freedom has its price, but I’m glad that these two had enjoyed their freedom without any loss. Their story is of the happy ones and obviously will be continued.
The photos belong to Ivana and Manu (aroundgaia.com) There are more on their site and Facebook group. Just follow the links in the text.