I’ve ridden and worked from tents all along the Pacific Coast Highway, on a big four corners trip a few years ago (US), as well as several shorter trips (Chicago - NOLA, Chicago - DC, Chicago - NYC, etc) which were mostly spent working from hotels. That was on a BMW R1150 RT with a 4g / 3g wifi router wired to the power supply. Currently doing much lower-tech moto-nomadic website development through India, mostly based in Calcutta, mostly on a KTM Duke 200. Did a three month camping / work trip from Kargil to Bangalore a couple of years ago.
I’m still figuring out the next big ride. It’s a very unique, visceral way to experience a country instead of just seeing it; I doubt you’re going to find a similar experience without involving a motorcycle Though Indians trains can be a unique experience themselves.
Definitely research this in advance. The deposits for carnets are insane (300-400% of the MSRP of the bike!), so if you’re thinking about one of the GS or GSAs, you’ll need some capital to start off. There’s no better bike for an around-the-world trip. But to save cash, it might be worth looking at something like one of the Suzuki 600 dual sports, or the indestructible cockroach of the motorcycle world, the KLR 650.
I’ve been very tempted to learn a little more about bike maintenance, and trying to get a carnet on a dirt cheap Enfield single, or something along those lines. Keep us posted on what you decide! It’d be great to build a sub-community of motonomads.
ADV rider is a great resource. HU is better for long-form article reading and inspiration, but it can be more difficult to navigate. ADV will probably get you faster responses to specific questions, but my experience with both is outdated by a few years, so take that with a grain of salt.
- Learn a little about your bike, and how to deal with broken clutch cables or worn brake pads. Mechanics are hit or miss, especially on newer tech that may or may not be popular in their country. Panicking on the road is no fun.
- Take an MSF Foundation (or similar) safety course. I’d been riding for years when I took my first one, and I learned a ton.
- Take three times the cash you think you’ll need.
- Take half the stuff you think you need, and leave a lot of empty room in your luggage.
- You cannot carry passengers and gear. Not even if she’s cute. Really.
- You cannot drink and ride. Not even if she’s cute. Tourists are pretty cavalier about this in most third world countries. It’s a serious risk. You hit a kid in India, they’re going to burn that bike with you on it.
- Bring replacement parts if your bike isn’t popular in your host country(ies). You’d be amazed at how much trouble a custom rear hub on an Enfield caused when we were stuck up in the Himalayas. Stuff that works in major cities really doesn’t work when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
- Ride slow. This is the one I always forget, and really need to remember. The most enjoyable working rides are ones where I do 100-200 miles on working days, and stop in beautiful places with enough time to really relax and enjoy myself before starting the work day.
- Find hotels or pitch tents before sundown. This is another rule I break too often, but I always find the best places to eat and sleep if I get there with plenty of time to spare. Rushing a campsite location at midnight just makes me cranky, and I’m exhausted if I’ve been riding that late anyway.
- Know your tolerances. If the most you’ve ever done is a thousand mile day, don’t plan to do any thousand mile days on nomad rides.
- No new stuff. No new tires, new brakes, new tents, etc on a trip. This should all be stuff that’s had time to break in. You should be able to put your tent together in your sleep (because you’re going to break rule #9, duh).
- Buy a hookah. You can’t be a motorcycle nomad without a hookah.
Ride safe. If anyone needs lockable garage space for bikes and a place to crash in Calcutta, India, let me know; I’ve got an empty apartment here.