Meeting People

Everyone has his or her own style, taste and thrills. Some motorcyclists travel solo, some travel 2up and others in groups, for various reasons. However, after being on the road for some time, meeting various travelers and following a number of blogs, I believe that one thing is common amongst all—at one point or another during the trip, everyone shares wonderful experiences with different people from across the globe. Following a couple of backpacking trips, I have noticed that travelling on a motorcycle amplifies the opportunities to meet people as well as to be invited by locals wanting to host you, which is great. I’ve connected, I’ve made friends and I have plenty of good memories, but is this always an easy going, wonderful experience? Hell NO.

This might be one of the challenges of long-­‐term travel, especially when it is your first long trip and you’re still learning about what you can live with and what doesn’t work out for you. Besides this, if you’re travelling with a partner, it is even more challenging, as amidst of it all, you need to realign and find a balance between the wants and needs of both.

Wildfeathers 3

The Annoyances

I am a wanderer, a free-­‐spirit, and freedom is fundamental for my sanity. This is quite understandable, no? I left my home, my full-­‐time job and a shedload of comforts back home to travel after all. Furthermore, I left on a trip at the back of a guy’s bike whom I had only known for a couple of weeks—so, adventure is a big drive for me. As much as I like and appreciate the people we come across, and as much as I embrace certain memories, I find myself in situations, where I simply feel like suffocating.

In certain countries more than others, being a traveler on a big bike turns you into an entertainer and an attraction for many. I get it – in some countries, there aren’t even bikes over 250cc on the road—Iran is one example, so it’s only natural for people to react, ask and get super interested.

What becomes irritating is, when people put you in certain situations, for their own benefit. I am referring to the notion that is present in certain societies, where being seen and additionally having a foreigner at your house somehow makes you look good or even superior. It is definitely a cultural thing, and in my opinion, it is unfortunate, that simply having white skin might give the impression of superiority, but when you are in the middle of it, it sucks even more.

Wildfeathers 1

The phone rings…and amongst the jargon of a language that I do not understand, I hear ‘world traveler’, I hear the name of a country, which most of the time is not where I come from, because most of the people do not know that tiny Malta exists and BAM—this is where I must prepare myself, to shake more hands, take more selfies and answer the same questions, even if I’m drained, dead tired or simply need some space.

I have to sit, drink, eat, sleep when my hosts decide I should, and I must be careful because I don’t know how to hide my emotions! If I express myself, I have to be very careful because due to language barriers, one thing might be understood completely wrong, and that’s when things get awkward.

Being a Woman in Different Cultures

And you know the worst part of it all? Being a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of being a woman, but all of this in a male-­‐dominated environment makes my blood pressure explode a lot faster. We were invited for lunch once, and I was sitting with Daryl and the man of the family. The wife was only serving food, and that already made me upset. At one point, the guy looked at Daryl and asked him a direct question about me, like I am totally invisible whilst I was on the same table, trying to engage, very capable of answering.

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Maintaining Balance

Whilst dealing with all of this, I somehow still try to keep in mind that most probably, these people are unaware that they are making us uncomfortable. For them, allowing us time and space might be unacceptable, as we are their guests and they must entertain us, whilst for us, it is a need. Disregarding me as a woman might be natural for them, as the way that they were raised in society didn’t teach them otherwise. After all, whenever we ended up in situations like these, there were still moments that we enjoyed, where we learnt something new or simply experienced something that we couldn’t have found on our own.

So how can you take control of situations like these, without eradicating yourself from any type of interaction? It is not easy, and in reality, when you are approached by someone and you accept their invitation, it is always a risk. But like almost anything else in life, it is all about balance. First of all, if you’re not traveling solo, maintaining healthy communication with your travel partner is essential. Secondly, you have to learn how to find the balance to stick to your plans and stay comfortable whilst respecting and appreciating what these people have to offer. In the end, the way you travel is your choice and you have to figure out how often or how long can you handle such situations for yourself. One thing is for sure—crossing borders and facing all kinds of situations including some like these broaden your perspective about a lot of matters—including yourself.

The choice of the “best gear” is unique to every individual. It’s best to start by asking yourself the following questions to help with the decision making.

Itinerary: Is it likely to experience rain in the area and time frame in which you’ll be traveling? Will you be riding in monsoon season, which is very wet and hot? Or, are you looking into gear that can be a good all-rounder?

Comfort: If you’ll be riding through cold temps, how many layers of clothing can/should you have to deal with?

Body Temperature: What is bearable for one person might not be for another. Different waterproofing options allow different levels of breathability, yet another consideration.

Rain Gear Wildfeathers 6

Thermal Types

Let’s discuss thermal liners or layers. On long hauls, traveling light is a priority for most. In our opinion, especially after traveling through an extreme range of climate types, thermal liners that cannot be worn if not attached to motorcycle gear are not worth taking along. If you invest in good quality mid-layers, you can use them anytime, including under motorcycle gear, saving weight and space. Other options which will not be discussed here include heated jackets which either come with a rechargeable or plug into a bike, which eliminate this issue.

The Overalls Option

We started our trip using Held two-piece overalls for waterproofing.

• Overalls can be used both on and off the bike. Some brands also design the jackets with a compact hood in a pocket behind the neck which is ideal in the rain.
• When riding in cold weather, overalls can be used as an extra layer for keeping warm.
• When riding in the rain, overalls keep the water out and the warmth in.
• Probably the most affordable option.

• When it’s raining, you have to stop, take out the overalls and pull them on over other gear. The pants we had, were annoying to put on. And the bigger the boot size, the more of a hassle it was.
• You do remain dry, but ventilation and breathability are heavily restricted. We often found ourselves sweaty, even in cold weather.
• Overalls take up valuable space and need to be packed in a practical, handy location so that they’re easily accessible.
• Overalls are easily damaged, ripped or torn.

The Liners Option

When it comes to inner and outer layer waterproofing, there’s other options. We’ll be sharing our experiences with GORE-TEX as we used with Rukka’s Roughroad and Orbita models.

Rain Gear Wildfeathers 2

The Roughroad has an inner layer of detachable GORE-TEX, while the Orbita has built-in laminated GORE-TEX. Before outlining the pros and cons, we’d like to point out what we’ve experienced related to body temperature. When the gear gets soaked in cold temperatures, we felt colder, and lost body heat, as compared to wearing overalls, where despite getting sweaty, it was easier to retain warmth. On the other hand, in monsoons, there’s the advantage of keeping cooler with GORE-TEX which has quite a bit more breathability.

Rain Gear Wildfeathers 1

• A detachable liner can be removed for better airflow. Even though GORE-TEX is known to be the best when it comes to breathability, being able to remove the liner is often a better option in hot, dry weather.
• If traveling light is a priority and the upper liner can be worn on its own, it can also serve as a rain jacket when off the bike.
• In case of an accident, a GORE-TEX layer adds protection.
• Inner liners are breathable as opposed to overalls which tend to be sweaty, in both hot or cold environments.

Rain Gear Wildfeathers 3

• In countries with monsoon seasons, temperatures are high with heavy rains, making inner liners annoying to put on and take off! If you start riding without them due to heat, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to remove them in the middle of the road when it starts raining. Therefore, when it comes to inner liners for pants, you have to weigh these possibilities.

Rukka Roughroad’s GORE-TEX inner liners of this model are thin thermal layers. This is an advantage in cold weather, as you have both waterproofing and a layer to keep you warm in one jacket. However, in monsoons, this becomes a disadvantage as you cannot separate the two.

Rain Gear Wildfeathers 4

• If it starts raining, you just keep riding.
• It saves space as you do not need to carry overalls, or pack the inner liners when removed.

• Less ventilation and breathability in hot temperatures.
• In an accident, you are more likely to damage the waterproofing

Conclusions and Insights

If we had to start over, what would we choose? For a long-term trip, where we planned to ride through a vast range of weather conditions, we both agreed on the following set-up. We’d definitely leave any inner liners behind.

Pants: Summer laminated GORE-TEX pants. This way we’d have breathability and ventilation adequate for hot temperatures without having to stop to wear or remove the pants when it rains. In cold weather, we would wear good quality base and mid-layers. While riding in Pakistan, for instance, we experienced temperatures as low as -2°C and were fine with just a base layer under our Cordura four-season pants.

Jackets: We would choose a three-quarter season jacket that mainly offers a high-level of protection and carry a separate versatile overall jacket that offers features like a waterproof hood, which would also be used as a rain jacket off the bike.

One disadvantage that might bother some with this option is not having a full suit of the same model and style, but for us, practicality and comfort are the main priority. But remember, it all depends on the individual and one’s itinerary, budget and comfort requirements.

Deb and Daryl mini bio portraitDaryl & Deborah left home to tour the world in September of 2017. They are currently traveling Asia on a Suzuki V-Strom DL650. They call themselves Wild Feathers and share their adventure on their website, Facebook and Instagram. They love writing, photography, meeting locals wherever they ride and chasing sunsets off the beaten track.

Travelling has become a substantial part of many people’s lives and the number of adventurers embarking on long moto-trips is increasing rapidly. Blogging, in many forms has become a new trend… but why do people do it?

Riding to Manang10

Some share their experience hoping to inspire others, others for breaking stigmas on certain countries and cultures (this in fact, was one of our main reasons when we set up Wild Feathers)… others to attract sponsors by offering brand visibility and first-hand reviews of using various equipment. I believe that in every scenario this offers some level of satisfaction, especially when one manages to get a good reach, but is it worth the time and effort?

i rT8RG4W

Before getting into all the brainstorming of finding a name, and taking the time to set up everything, you might want to consider the following Pros and Cons. I got further insight from Michnus and Elsebie from PikiPiki Overland Blog. Born and bred in South Africa, this awesome couple have been travelling together since 2010 on their DR650s. The first thing that I asked them was to explain why they had decided to share their travels online.

“Originally we just wanted to share the information on our preparations for Africa we gathered to help other people plan their journeys. At that stage we were not on any other social media such as Facebook, so we started using our blog to ‘update’ to friends and family on our travels. Now we use it again more as an information and general update blog.”


On the other hand, I discussed this with Robert Matt, a solo traveler from Liechtenstein I had met in Iran. He has been on the road travelling on his Africa Twin for more than two years and has no intention on sharing his adventures online. Robert had set up a few pages, out of pressure from his family and friends, but never pursued them further.

“At the end I am doing this journey for myself.” He continues to explain that he started his journey because he wanted a life change and wanted to learn to be further in touch with himself. Blogging and ‘enlarging’ his journey would have hindered his freedom and flexibility.

“I don’t like to present myself especially in social media and I am also not a good story writer. For me it’s much more freedom to have no pressure to post stuff, so I can be more in the moment. I prefer to be in contact with my family and friends directly.”

• The PROS

Being present online connects you to people. From other travelers who are on the same route, to locals wanting to host you, sharing your story online will bring you closer to people and can present surprising opportunities.

PikiPiki Overland explained that since they prefer to take less travelled roads, if it weren’t for their online presence, they would have missed out on meeting a lot of people.

“We got to know a lot more people that we would have ‘missed’ while travelling. We love taking the lesser travelled roads and a lot of times this leads to us missing fellow enthusiasts. Our online presence gave us not only new friends but an easy way to communicate and share with them.”


However, they also point out, that you don’t need to be a professional blogger to benefit from this. Robert, on the other hand, doesn’t feel he misses out on such opportunities.

“During my travels, I got in contact with so many locals and had very nice experiences. I always try to appreciate if someone is interested and I do take time to answer their questions, even if I am completely tired. I also met many travelers on motor bikes and bicycles and it was nice to share the experiences with them directly. Some of them I also met again in other places or even different countries or I am still in contact with them.”

Potential sponsors are constantly looking for bikers that can become their brand ambassadors. Whilst this means hard work, and being able to give something in return, blogging can be a good way to acquire free gear and equipment. Although this works out well for many travelers, it is very important to keep a balance and maintain a fair outlook when posting reviews. Elsebie points out the following:

“To think that a blog will automatically grant you access to funding and deals might not be a good reason to start. People enjoy the ‘true travelling’ experiences and can quickly see if a blog is just changing into a ‘look at me and donate’ site.”


If taken seriously and done in a manner which appeals to followers, your blog can help you generate money. There are a lot of affiliate and advertising opportunities that can earn you commission. Moreover, big sites such as Google can pay you money for using your platforms to run ads.

You get more connected to the motorcycle community and you can help others. When we were preparing for our trip, we used to read a lot of material from world travelers; from simple routes and itineraries, to useful data such as what tools and spares to carry with you and we wanted to do the same throughout our experiences.

Although Robert doesn’t do so online, he points out the following:

“There is a network between travelers anyway. If anyone has a problem, the chances are very high, that a traveler knows another traveler which has knowledge in this and can help. I shared a lot of information with others but was also helped many times. I also sent summaries to contact persons or agencies describing procedures in detail and shared helpful contacts. I was told from many people I met on the road, that for them it is an inspiration to see what I am doing and if this is the case I am happy.”

• The CONS

The extra time spent at a guesthouse/hotel to get the work done is indirectly costing you money in accommodation and food.

Whilst blogging, you are missing out on other things that you can do in the same time during your trip.

It can be stressful, and you can get caught up – unless you are very self-disciplined and can control how much time you spend glued to your laptop or phone, blogging, especially when you reach a level of popularity and engagement becomes demanding, you can easily get caught up in replying to comments, monitoring activity and thinking on how to make it bigger and more successful. Unknowingly, you might find yourself leaving your job at home, for another one on the road and it might not be worth all it takes unless you are happy with the return you are getting from it.

editing copy

When I asked for their opinion about this, Michnus and Elsebie said “I think if you are not careful this can easily become true. Luckily, we have time. We do not travel for a period only, it is our ‘lifestyle’ so blogging is more than just an update site for us.”

In my experience, since both Daryl and I left our jobs back home, and have no fixed plan on returning, the Wild Feathers blog gave us an opportunity to continue to practice our passions in an environment that we love. Being a professional photographer, Daryl continues to practice his work, through an adventure that he’s been dreaming of doing for years and in my case, it has given me the opportunity to practice my love for writing—something which I did not have the time to experiment with in my busy schedule back home.


To anyone that is still unsure whether to set up a blog or not, PikiPiki Overland suggest:

“Truly take time to consider what your ‘purpose’ is with your blog as it is very time consuming and for a lot of people we know it became a cumbersome task. Also, take into account that internet connections in some countries can lead to much added annoyance and time wasted. So, do make sure you understand the long-term commitment you are getting yourself into.”
Daryl and Deborah: @Wildfeathersblog
Michnus and Elsebie from PikiPiki Overland Blog: Robert Matt

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