Meet the guy
When I found out that being an adventurer was no longer a proper profession, I was sorely disappointed. I’d grown up on the black and white serials every Saturday at the local cinema, and I was looking forward to heading to the centre of the earth, a land that time forgot or some other similarly unknown world. To learn that there was no longer a profession that required wearing a pith helmet, spending years away and only emerging to tell wondrous tales with which to entertain a captive audience just seemed entirely wrong.
As a youngster my mother and I found ourselves in moments of homelessness and, in these moments, someone would invariably lend a helping hand thereby contradicting all the bad that news enjoyed broadcasting. While I’m sure this part of our life was stressful for her, I was running around Southsea in a ninja suit with my pals, jumping out at passers-by from behind the massive rocks that lined the seashore. Not a bad gig for a kid. In reality, I was learning to deal with situations regardless of how seemingly dire they were. Adaptability, kindness and an appreciation for the people and things around me would be staple themes that would guide me for the rest of my life.
My nomadic spirit never left my side, and I spent a good part of my early adulthood touring with bands through North America and Europe – working day-jobs as I found them. At some point after university, I got caught up in “making something of myself” though it has to be said that it was in no way at the request of my family. They’d been entirely supportive of my need to follow ideas to see where they’d lead me. For that, I’ll always be thankful. That nomadic spirit helped create opportunities to work with – and eventually start – some great, creative companies with a maverick group of designers, developers, artists and business folks.
So, wandering is in my blood. And in the past years, I’ve started to put that need to drift together with a curiosity I’ve had with motorcycles since I was a child.
Other than sitting on some police bikes as a youngster, I rode my first motorcycle when I was 8 or 9 on a friends acreage. It was a beautiful Honda Z50 Mini Trail. That friend grew sick of hanging out with me because all I wanted to do was ride that bike. I was hooked. Since then I’ve owned a few Duc’s and now this wonderful overland beast, the BMW R1200GS. But don’t think for a moment it’s about the bike or the brand. It’s not. I want to ride as many different bikes as I can as long as they move me – literally and figuratively. The beautiful thing about the R1200GS is that I don’t look like a circus bear riding a mini-bike and, for me, that’s a huge bonus :)
So, for now, home-base is Calgary, Canada. In 2006 I met my dream girl for a half-hour sitting trackside at the MotoGP races at Laguna Seca, California and now I’m proud to call her wife. Though I usually don’t, it’s usually “babe, baby, Nita, awesomestuff” or some such thing. I’m blessed to have a partner whose indeed game for anything – be it long highway trips or roughing it in a tent under the stars (sometimes fending off imaginary creeps).
And so it is. Two years later we’re still on the road. For those who like stats, it’s been 42 countries, five continents and a couple of days waiting out a hurricane in the belly of a ferry. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Meet the girl
“If home is where the heart is, then perhaps home is really anywhere you choose to be.”
I always knew from childhood that I must have been blessed with the soul of a gypsy. Handed down to me surely by my father. First recognized as a child listening to him as he shared his dreams of one day riding a Honda Goldwing around the Americas, with my mother in tow. I can see him now, softly strumming his guitar by the open window, while singing broken versus of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Always philosophizing as only my father could.
These nomadic influences played out in me through wildly wandering daydreams that seemed to ease the pain of any stale classrooms. I quickly sprouted a passion for art, music and anything creative. This was the only remedy at the time for a restless young girl.
I was 17 by the time I had my very first stamped passport. Or as I like to think of it, my AESA, authorized exploration seal of approval. It would see me off on a plane to Asia for two months as well as on a Greyhound bus to New York City, before the age of 19. I absolutely reveled in the idea that doing whatever it took to get from A to B would be my quest. My romantic notions of leaving the classroom for the world class were now on the horizon. I was scared but knew whole-heartedly that it was the right thing for me.
I was 23 and living in New York the first time I got on the back of a motorcycle. This was a great challenge for me. An old fear that I knew had to be overcome. It was the open air and the freedom of movement that were so truly captivating. It was the idea of going places with little to get you there and of course the feeling of letting go that seemed to ease my restless soul. I knew it through and through that this would be a big part of my life in many ways. The next step was clear, get my own license.
At 27 I helped launch an online motorcycling lifestyle magazine. This opportunity gave me three solid years of airtime to voice my ideas and showcase my photographs. I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful industry folks and enjoy riding much of the East and West Coast areas of the United States in the process. I came away with a handful of life long friendships and more fulfilled childhood dreams than I could have ever hoped for.
Today I am living back in Calgary, Canada, the home I had left many lifetimes ago. I’m 35 and am blessed with an equally nomadic moto-enthusiast husband. We currently spend as much of our spare time touring great roads through Canada and the United States, writing and photographing our experiences in hopes to inspire travel, exploration and adventure in the lives of others.
I realize now that the little gypsy girl in me was my guide and guardian while growing up away from home. She taught me that you must create a sense of home wherever you are. Fall madly in love with all of your experiences, your ups and downs, ins and outs and place your heart in them as you go. It’s then you will realize that wherever you are, is right where you belong.
“If home is where the heart is, then perhaps home is really anywhere you choose to be.”
It was nearly six years ago when we first met. Off to the races we went in late July 2006, at the time living very separate lives. Our destination was the well-known Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, hidden deep in a valley east of beautiful Monterey California, just 400 miles southwest of the Canadian border. The MotoGP races were set to kick off that weekend. We were wide-eyed as we separately made our way to California that summer for what we both perceived as the event of a lifetime. The only thing on our minds was catching a glimpse of what people to this day recognize as the fastest motorcycles in the world. Ours was a short and sweet introduction – a handshake and a “nice to meet you” would conclude our initial time together.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada – 2007. Nearly one year after we had first met in California. Issa walked into the shop I spent my days in as a designer. He had been working only blocks away for the previous 5 years. After making the connection we chatted about bikes and our very serendipitous second meeting since we both assumed each other was from California. Long story short, we have been riding and sharing our adventures together ever since.
We returned to Monterey, California this past September 2011. Two bikes, nine states and over 9000 km later we were back in Calgary as husband and wife, prepping for our next grand adventure.
How far are you willing to go to create change?
It all begins with two people, two motorcycles, two years and more than 140,000 + kms on the horizon. Our story is a simple one, but our work will stretch far beyond any simple life we may have once led. We are not athletes, we are not extremists, this is not a race and there is no time limit. We are simply two lives, attempting to reach out to many and we have been blessed with the privilege and opportunity to take something that we simply love to do, a step further. The path is unknown, the wealth of knowledge uncovered will be life altering.
The Lost for Good Project is a non-profit organization that uses our travels around the globe as a source for fundraising and sponsorship.
The funds and materials that are donated to us serve as means for supporting the people, communities and grass-roots organizations that are creating lasting, responsible and sustainable change within their regions. Our purpose is to help bring attention to these lesser-known endeavours, highlight their work and support them in their goals.
Our responsibility to our contributors is to deliver 95% (or higher) of raised funds to those who need them. During our travels we select and highlight a diverse group of organizations that match our vision and our “GOOD AID” goals.
We also encourage fellow travellers to make a difference wherever their adventures take them by providing resources to help them achieve their own goals of helping others along the way.
For more information about the Lost for Good Project and how you can get involved, please visit www.lostforgood.com
95% (or higher) of raised funds [go] to those who need them