Tim and Marissa Notier have recently returned from Peru and later this month are going to ride their motorcycle across Africa. We met at Overland Expo West in May 2019 and chatted about their travels. Since then I’ve read their books and wanted to run a feature on them before they’re off again. Here’s what they told Wanderlust.
What got us into traveling?
Tim: Before this trip, I had barely scratched the surface of the earth. The only circumnavigation I had done was around the local grocery store of whatever town I happened to be living in at the time, none of which were more than an hour from the hospital I was born in. But inspiration from watching documentaries like BBC’s ‘Planet Earth’ mixed in with series like ‘Long Way Down’ all sparked emotions of excitement and wonder that just kept growing into a wildfire. I just knew that somehow, someway, I would travel the world, and when I presented my sale’s pitch of a vagabond lifestyle to Marisa, I was delighted that she agreed.
Marisa: A lot of people ask me why I would ever agree to doing such a crazy thing as traveling the world on a motorcycle, but if you knew me, you’d realize that this is pretty much perfect for me. Tim and I grew up in the same town just outside of Chicago, and we met and dated in high school. We even went to prom together, but we broke up when I went off to college and I ended up traveling the world pretty extensively while in my twenties. My first real experience traveling was when I headed off to backpack Australia and New Zealand for a summer when I was nineteen, and that’s when I got really bitten with the travel bug. I thereafter went through East Asia, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe, and Central America before coming back home and meeting up with Tim again. And I guess the rest is history.
Why on a bike?
Tim:I had always thought that motorcycle travelers were able to submerge themselves a little bit deeper into the landscape. Motorcyclists are slightly more vulnerable to the weather, but that is because they’re direct participants in the scenery itself. There are no window or doors to block out the cold, rain, snow, or heat, but we are forced to smell, breathe, and feel everything that we’re riding through. I’d seen the magazine covers and photo galleries online, and I had a still-frame image burnt into my mind of me on some remote mountain pass on a motorcycle. And now I get to be that guy.
Marisa:Traveling the world was always my dream, but motorcycles had never been a part of it. That’s because I can’t ride a motorcycle, or even a bicycle for that matter, but I do love riding on the back of Tim’s bike. And now I believe that there’s no better way to travel. Yes, it gets hot in all that gear, or I get rained on and snowed on, but I also get to feel immersed in the world around me. I get to watch the landscape slowly drift and morph as I listen to my music, and for me, riding on a motorcycle is like a form of meditation. Also, I get to do it beside the man I love, and I feel like we’re Mr. and Mrs. Marco Polo heading into the unknown on our trusty steed, or cowboys riding off into the sunset of some old Western movie. It’s pure freedom, and pure bliss.
Africa! It will be an adventure, for sure. We want to fly ourselves and our bike from Chicago to South Africa, then make our way north along the eastern side of the continent while hitting up Namibia, Victoria Falls, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. The goal is to reach Egypt and then ferry over to Turkey or Greece and head into Europe, but I know we’re going to have to see and take it day by day, step by step. Follow us, and we’ll keep you posted on how things go.
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