Wheel Story – Trials Of A Travelling Couple

Garwin Beukes - “I love to travel and take pictures.” These are the words of Lilis Handayani from Sumatra, girlfriend of North Sulawesi native and motorcycle traveller, Mario Iroth, when they travelled through Windhoek in November last year.

Although Handayani might not be on the frontline of the travels, she assists Iroth in the journey by documenting their memories. As Iroth put it, she handles the camera and he is the model. The couple, who are both 31 of age, met in Bali in 2013 while Handayani was backpacking and looking for a job.

The couple's travelling personalities were a match made in heaven. Iroth worked in the hotel industry for eight years in Bali, and after his first solo motorcycle charity trip through south-east Asia, he decided life behind a desk wasn't meant for him.

“I'm living my dream,” Iroth said.

The motorcyclist quit his job in 2014, explored Indonesia for six months, headed to Europe in 2015 and then went on to Australia and New Zealand last year. In love with the Africa they saw on television, Handayani and Iroth wanted to see the real continent and for six months, planned their trip which would take them from South Africa all the way to Egypt.

The couple have been in Africa for almost two months at the time and have travelled approximately 6 600km. They arrived in Johannesburg and travelled to Durban by bus to pick up their Honda CRF motorcycle, and proceeded to Swaziland, Mozambique and back to South Africa, particularly to Kruger National Park, Pretoria and then Cape Town.

“The first thing I saw was the desert,” Iroth said, mentioning that although he's seen several others, the unique colour of the Namibian sand made the desert particularly beautiful.

For eight hours each day, between 300 and 400km, the couple spend time on their bike, only taking rests every two hours. Although this might be tiring, Iroth said he doesn't drive at night. Travelling with all their equipment, they are always ready to set up camp. Iroth mentioned that due to very little light pollution, at night, he can see the Milky Way very clearly in Namibia.

Handayani mentioned that their journey is also to gain knowledge about the different tribes, cultures and nature and to be able to take that information back home. She mentioned this is also a platform to teach different communities about Indonesia.

“This is what we are looking for – adventure,” Iroth said.

After exploring Namibia, the two will make their way to Botswana. Ultimately, the aim is to travel all the way to Egypt, Turkey, and then Nordkapp in Norway. The journey from Cape Agulhas to Nordkapp is called Cape-to-Cape, and is one of the most favourite routes for bike travelers, Iroth mentioned.

After all their travels, Iroth wants to move to Sumba Island, near Komodo in Indonesia with Handayani, where he will start on writing his book.

You can follow their adventures on their website: www.wheelstoryadv.com; Facebook: @wheelstoryoflife; and Instagram: @wheel_story.