Steve Crombie and Amelia Darmawan, two souls on two wheels have been riding through nations across the globe for the past 850 days. In pursuit of an adventure, this couple hit the road from Australia on the "WOLF" – a KTM 1190R on November 11, 2017.
Starting from Sydney, Steve, Amelia, and their bike WOLF have covered around 50,000km so far. Using motorcycle and boat only (no airplane!), they travelled from Australia to East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India.
For the past 30 days, Steve and Amelia, producers of "Moto Life Diaries," have been cruising through the hilly terrains of northern India near the China border. The Business Standard got in touch with the couple on Skype and here is what they had to say.
"When I asked Amelia to marry me, she agreed on one condition – that we embark on an adventure before settling down and having children. So far, the trip has been quite challenging but super enjoyable at the same time," said Steve.
Before taking their relationship to the next level, Steve and Amelia sold everything they owned, shifted their business from a physical office to a virtual office. Within a time span of three months, they set course from Australia to New York on a motorcycle. Steve said, "I have to impress Amelia that I am a worthy husband, and by the time we reach America, if we are still together, we will get married."
For the past two and a half years, the couple have been crossing countries on the two-wheeler and surprisingly, they have not faced any major issues. "Thanks to a good maintenance schedule, we have not faced any problems – apart from the fact that the bike tends to overheat when it is running slow in big built-up cities when you cannot cruise fast in traffic. Not even a single puncture!" said Steve.
The triad came across an inquisitive group of individuals at the Tamabil border in Sylhet while entering Bangladesh. "I personally loved the arrival at Sylhet, it was insane! The authorities were shocked to see a bike packed with an 1190cc engine that was about to enter Bangladesh," expressed Steve.
From Sylhet, Steve and Amelia set forth to exploring the country. They made their first pit stop at Dhaka and ended up having a great experience. "I loved wandering around old Dhaka, every single place you look at is like a photograph. There is always something going on and it is never boring," said Amelia.
Steve, on the other hand, loved the old Dhakaiya cuisine. He said, "Old Dhaka has the best biryani, the best I have had so far! Other than that, the city of Dhaka, its culture, and hospitality are pretty phenomenal."
Even though they enjoyed their time here, Amelia was concerned about the waste disposal system during their city tour. She said, "It is common in many parts of the world – plastic causing a lot of trouble. But then again, it is part of the growth of a country and people around the world are slowly waking up to the reality of plastic waste."
Both of them were amazed by the response they received from the Bangladeshi community. "The reaction of the Bangladeshi people towards our journey was overwhelming. We are really impressed by the kindness and generosity of Bangladesh and its people, we thank you all for the effort, it has been a beautiful experience," said Steve.
So far, Steve and Amelia have covered 10 countries. They took time to explore and immerse themselves in to the culture of people they have met in different places. Steve's prior experience of riding around 500,000km across 50 countries as a sponsored professional adventure motorcyclist aided in executing the tour smoothly till now. His former affiliations with Honda, Yamaha and now KTM have helped them to secure sponsors for their trip.
In this regard, Steve said, "This trip would have been much harder if we did not have the support of our sponsors and all the mechanics around the world who have helped us keep this ride going. It would have been impossible to complete the trip without them – a special shout out to Adventure Moto and Motoz from Australia!"
Currently, Steve and Amelia are at Guwahati. They will be heading towards Bhutan and Nepal once the Coronavirus dies down. "Fingers crossed!" he said. "Currently we are planning to get a boat from Mumbai to Oman. Let us see what happens."
The KTM 1190R is superbike
Why chose the KTM 1190R?
Steve: Basically the KTM 1190R is a superbike engine shoved in a dirt bike frame so it is pretty hard not to want to ride something like that around the world. This bike was built to endure all sorts of pressure – it is like a battle bike, it runs smoothly on-road, off-road, on snow and ice, and even in deep mud. Even with the weight it carries, the structure is pretty well balanced. It is serving that purpose very well.
Riding as a pillion for over two years, how have you been managing it?
Amelia: It is hard being a pillion on such a long ride. You have to have a lot of trust in your partner. You have to enjoy the journey, be extremely patient, and support your partner. A piece of advice for anyone who wants to take their partner on a ride would be – put your partner's comfort first. A lot of riders would think of their gear and set-up only, as they are the ones in charge of the bike and the pillion might end up experiencing a horrible time. So I think you should make sure your partner has good gear, a good seat, make sure they have a comfortable seating position on the bike. If your pillion needs to stop for a cup of tea, you stop for a cup of tea.
Do you think you have enough time to reach New York in 1000 days?
Steve: We decided to set a date for our wedding in October 2021, so we think we have time till then to carry on with the ride. If not in 1000 days, maybe in 1500 days?
How are you managing the expenses?
Steve: The trip is expensive, but miraculously my old sponsors have been kind enough to sponsor us on our trip. The bike, accessories, camping gear and clothes are funded by our sponsors. We pay for food, accommodation and fuel, and so on. Besides this, we run a global strategic consultancy in the Media and Entertainment space (www.totem.global) which is doing well. Because of that, we get to travel for as long as we want. We still work remotely and keep in touch with our team and clients around the world.
What are your future plans?
Amelia: We do not have any specific plans yet. We will probably spend some time in Australia and then we will plan our next adventure, maybe start our family or put our family in a van and travel around the world! Who knows!
Steve: "Make videos and babies! This year, we are making one video a week for our YouTube channel – search "Moto Life Diaries". Next year we are going to make babies, then our babies make babies – we become grandparents; and we spend the rest of our lives sharing stories of the world around us. That is the ultimate trajectory we are working towards."
Follow their adnevture at https://www.motolifediaries.com