Weekly Feature: Noraly of Itchy Boots
Hi! My name is Noraly, I’m 31 years old and from Holland. I have been traveling since August 2018, after quitting my job and selling my house and motorbike! The plan was to go and travel full-time for a while, but this turned into a motorcycle journey around the world.
Who or what inspired you to choose independent vehicle travel as your mode of transportation?
The first few months of my travels, I backpacked around India and Bangladesh. When I was in the North of India, I noticed a lot of motorcycle rental shops. I really missed my own motorcycle (a Ducati Monster 796) and thought it would be fun to rent a Royal Enfield Himalayan there. I rode it for 3000 kilometers through the Himalayan mountains and I was hooked. When I had to return the rental bike, I knew, I had to get one for myself. I don’t think I will ever go and travel by public transportation any more. Once you’re used to having your own mode of transportation and have the freedom to go wherever and whenever you want, it’s almost impossible to go back!
Everyone always asks a traveler what their favorite country is. Do you have a favorite country? If not, what is a place that is special to you?
I always find this a difficult question, because I have so many favourite countries! On this motorcycle journey, my favourite country so far was Thailand. Something that came as a surprise to me too! I’ve been to Thailand several times as a backpacker and it was never one of my favourites in South-East Asia. But when I rode there by motorcycle, it was simply fantastic. I found some amazing off-road trails to explore and stayed in many off-the-beaten track places, far away from the party-crowd. It gave me the feeling that I really discovered Thailand this time!
I'm a badass woman because...
I didn’t listen to all the people saying I couldn’t ride solo around the world by motorcycle. I truly cannot see why a man could do it, but a woman can’t!
What do you think the biggest challenge is for women overlanders?
To keep going when things don’t go the way you planned! Getting a vehicle across borders can be tough sometimes and figuring out all of the logistics draining. For example right now, I am in Iran and it’s unsure whether I will get a visa for Turkmenistan. I have to decide: do I ride to Azerbaijan instead and make a large detour, or do I risk it and start riding towards the Turkmenistan border. Compared to these challenges, the riding itself is a breeze!
Traveling has taught me...
To always keep an open mind and that a smile goes a very long way.
Overlanding sucks sometimes because...
..if you are on a long trip, it can feel like an everlasting battle against the seasons. Sometimes you really like a place or country and would want to spend more time there. But then you have to keep in mind that some areas are off-limits in winter or mid-summer and you really have to keep on going!
What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to travel overland?
Just start small! You don’t have to ride half across the world the first time to get a feel for what it’s like to go on such an adventure. Doing road trips in your own country is a great way to see if this lifestyle truly suits you!