Tim and Marisa: two people on two wheels on a round-the-world trip without an expiry date. They have got nothing but time, so they took some to tell us their story.
They’re both from Chicago and were high school sweethearts until they went their separate ways. Soon after high school Marisa started to travel and followed courses in different countries; Tim pursued the so-called ‘American dream’. After several years destiny brought them together again. They realised that what had them brought closer once… was still there!
Tim: “I partook on the average American responsibilities: get a job, buy a car and a house. I repeated my day-to-day life by working, sleeping, working and sleeping. I managed to be a successful middleclass American, but it also involved me not having a lot of travelling experience. When I was young my father would throw us all in the back of the car and drive to Oregon. The American West is absolutely amazing and those memories have always stuck with me. Whenever Marisa would pop up from her world travels, I felt a bit jealous.”
“I did a lot of travelling”, says Marisa, “After high school I went to China, South-East Asia and South Asia. It was amazing; it opened my eyes to traveling. I also backpacked in Australia and New Zealand and I loved it! So, I kept going. I lived in the Middle East for 4/5 years; when the war in Syria so I had to come back to the States. I met Tim, again. We shared the same friends. The rest is history.”
Marisa had no plans to stop travelling and Tim was eager to explore the world; he was also the owner of a very important piece of the puzzle: a motorbike! Having the main requirements for a round-the-world ride they set out their plans.
As Tim was an inexperienced off-road rider they decided to start with a three weeks road trip to scrutinise all the quirks a long motorcycle ride might involve. This adventure on the Rocky Mountains is compiled in Tim’s book Maiden Voyage, an inspiring story that can also work as a 101 for someone who is about to do something like this for the first time.
“I wrote the book and Marisa helped me with all the editing”, says Tim, “That trip was a test to see if we would really be able to travel and endure together. The whole purpose of the book was to try to inspire people. You don’t have to make a trip around the world to experience an adventure. You can easily do something like this in three weeks in your ‘backyard’. Just get out and do it!”
Another thing that helped was hosting Christopher Vogal, a German fellow traveller. There is no better way to get first hand information about such an endeavour than spending time with someone who is actually living it.
Marisa: ”Christopher was a great inspiration! It made us 200% sure. If you’re someone who is just inspired by people who are going around the world and you are not on your journey yet, feel free to contact us and we will come and visit you!”
In total, it took them five years to prepare themselves. They sold everything they had, quit their jobs and on August 21st 2017, the day of the solar eclipse in the US, with nothing else but time, they left for a three years adventure around the world.
Tim: “We saved up for about 5 years. It was really hard not to tell anybody except our close friends and family. We finally quit our jobs and one year ago we made the leap. At the beginning it did not sound or feel real, because we still had five years to prepare, but once I started prepping the bike and when the whole undertaking came closer, all the weight of our dreams and goals became a reality. It really started to get exciting!”
They have been on the road for fourteen months; they are travelling Peru now. They have been to Mexico, visited every country in Central-America, Colombia and Ecuador. If they had to choose one for its outstanding beauty, they both agree it would be Colombia.
Tim: “Colombia was absolutely amazing. Despite all the stories of Colombia being a dangerous place, we never experienced any trouble. On the contrary. We took the dirt roads, and saw nothing but beauty… Friendly people, amazing sceneries, great roads and beautiful little villages. Up till now Colombia has been the highlight of this entire trip.”
Their home country is also something you shouldn’t miss. If you’re planning to visit the USA they advise you to go further than New York and try any of the National Parks in the western states.
“When it comes to the US there is something very unique about it, a wild feel. When you’re in Europe or Asia there’s a lot of history”, Marisa says, “America has culture and history too, but the native Americans in North-America didn’t construct so many stone structures. They also didn’t have tons of agriculture or grass eating animals. Therefore, the landscape feels wild. We have buffalos, we have bears and we have moose. If I was someone from Europe and I wanted to experience something really cool I would definitely go to a national park, do some remote hiking and maybe see a bear!”
As they move further and further away from home, they are learning what they would like to bring back. So far, the best souvenir lies within themselves. An important lesson they have learned was not to focus on the differences that distance them from other communities but rather on the similarities that can bring them closer!
Tim: “If you focus on the similarities, it’s a lot easier to co-exist with other humans. Everybody has very basic needs. As long as you’re focusing on what you have in common, there’s more common ground than if you’re just going to focus on what god you’re praying to or what type of political situation they have.”
When you do a trip like this you have no chance but to let the world change you. Nature and people will shape your values and bring out your humility. And when you allow yourself to be small you’re able to see the bigger picture.
If you’re still not at the point to do it yourself alone, feel free to join them at any moment of their trip. Go to www.notiersfrontiers.com to know more about this or maybe just host them for a few days to get that final “kick” you need.
Remember, it starts with small steps like these… but it does start!