Do any digital nomads travely solely by motorcycle?

Last summer I spent some time travelling through Thailand and Cambodia and jumped on mopeds to get around. I fell in love with them, the freedom, the ability to get off the tourist trail and see areas of a country not written about in tour books.

Recently a friend of mine cycled from London through Western Europe down to Morocco. His journey, stories and photo blog have all inspired me to see Europe by road rather than missing it all by plane.

I’ve been encouraged to do the same longer term through Europe. Next month I’m heading off to Spain to start that journey.

I was wondering if any nomads here are on similar journeys? Does anyone motorcycle between cities setting up to work for a couple weeks then moving on?

If so, have you got any advice/tips for someone just starting that journey?

Dude, you’ve put this idea into my head, now I won’t get rid of it anymore…

I’m currently living as nomad, usually staying 3-6 weeks in each city, then flying to the next. In the past I’ve already done quite a few cross-country/continent motorcycle trips, in Asia, Africa, US and Europe (but those were more like holiday trips). Now I think I should try to combine those two things as you describe.

Do you have a blog where you post your experiences? I would be very interested in that. Then there’s also the question which country the motorcycle should be registered in to get maximum freedom of movement, I’d assume Europe would be not bad because then you can get a Carnet de Passage, right?

My wife and I are nomads and riders, but we’ve paused the riding to focus on being nomads.

Because we sold our bikes before becoming nomads, we rent locally when we get the itch and do day rides (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SghhVQDy2OQ). I think it’s totally possible to do both and definitely interested in finding folks who are actually doing it.

You should check out http://advrider.com/forums and http://horizonsunlimited.com. Lot of nomads there too.

Hi Mauro. I haven’t started it yet, I’m due to next month. I’ve been meaning to get blogging about the adventure. Will be UK focussed on getting licence etc.

Thanks for the those links Yanokwa.

I’ve been preparing to do just that for the past month. In the coming weekend the last of my stuff goes into long-term storage (I’ve sold all my furniture) and before May 1st I’ll be on the road on my BMW GS, carrying all I need for at least 6 months of touring and working in Europe (sans tent and camping gear, which I’ll pick up come July). I’ll be using airbnb for accommodation, perhaps some couchsurfing.

I haven’t written a proper introduction in that forum tread yet, will do shortly. I’ll also be blogging on http://HappyWays.com along the way.

Maybe we’ll meet on the road?

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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 :slight_smile: 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.

Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Take three times the cash you think you’ll need.
  4. Take half the stuff you think you need, and leave a lot of empty room in your luggage.
  5. You cannot carry passengers and gear. Not even if she’s cute. Really.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.

D.

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Thanks for the in-depth response @Dave_Chakrabarti! Some really useful tips there.

I’m already in the EU so a carnet is not necessary for my initial travel plans. And doesn’t point 12 go against point 4 ;).

Hah, no, man, #4 was to make sure you have room for #12. Enjoy your ride! I’ll look forward to reading about it.

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Great answer, Dave!
My trip has now started (a week ago), with 4 days spent having fun in the forests of Sweden. I’m now in Germany working remotely at some cafe, and in a weeks time I’ll ride to Croatia for a conference, and then back. This summer I have about 8 weeks totally client free, and I’ll be roaming Europe on my GS.

For the past three years I’ve lived off my motorcycle, touring around the USA. www.anywhereness.org

I’ve considered going overseas, but the cost was always prohibitive. Lately though, I’ve considered storing my bike and buying a cheap 250 to tour when landing, and hopefully selling it before going.

Great question! I’ve been on the road for 1.5 years with my girlfriend two up on a motorcycle (modified Kawasaki Ninja)(then without her when we broke up). I went from SF to Ecuador and plan to keep going.

The main thing to remember as a Digital Nomad motorcyclist is that you can’t just go to the beach on a Tuesday if the internet is going to choppy. That’s the only downside really–you don’t have the same flexibility as people who are 100% on vacation. At first I was riding almost every day. Now I try to stay in a place for 6 weeks and go on weekend rides to explore the local area.

I post the adventures along the way on instagram @kyleschutter If you are a Digital Nomad Motorcyclist please DM me. There aren’t very many of us out there.

For work I raise capital for non-profits, run an airbnb in Utila, Honduras, cook Thai food at pop up events, plus management consulting remotely.