Mongolia, will we ever get there?

Mike & Ben – Scottish adventure 2021

The last couple of years has turned the world upside down in more ways than one. With the COVID19 pandemic bringing the world to its knees and governments globally forcing their populations into mandatory lockdowns, closing borders and blocking all travel it became impossible to even think about adventure motorcycle trips overseas yet alone actually under take such a venture.

With the Russian government now completely destabilising the region with the war in Ukraine, Scandinavian countries applying for NATO membership and the threat of nuclear apocalypse things are only getting worse, not better.

As if it wasn’t bad enough already, the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan doesn’t look like it’ll end any time soon. The withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan resulted in the Taliban taking control of the Afghan/Tajik border making it impossible to ride along some of the most challenging and beautiful parts of the region.

Many governments have shown their true colour during the pandemic with some even becoming totalitarian and turning against the very people that put them in power. I was appalled at how the supposed liberal government in Canada treated people during the protests over unnecessary mandatory vaccinations. Whatever happened to freedom of choice?

The last two years have certainly impacted everyones lives one way or another.

Throughout the pandemic I’ve kept in touch with contacts in Russia and Mongolia and have received regular updates on travel restrictions and border closures. We’re now in April 2022 and the Mongolian borders are still closed to tourism, as are the Russian borders.

When I retired in October 2019 I was ready to go on my trip, all visas were sorted, ferry off this little island of ours was booked and I was kitted up ready to go. I’d been waiting for this moment for years and it was finally coming or so I thought.

I’m now beginning to wonder whether it will ever be possible to ride through central Asia and experience the open plains of Mongolia freely. It’s certainly not going to happen this year (2022) and as for next year, who knows!

Since the Mongolia trip is well and truly on the back burner until further notice I started looking at other options. South America has always fascinated me but, many of the borders are still closed and their death rates are still high, it’s going to be some time before this is viable again.

Australia has now opened it’s borders and so perhaps this is now my only option?

I’ve always wanted to ride across the outback and ride the coast road around Oz so perhaps this should now be my focus. Shipping coasts due the pandemic are ridiculously high so I’d need to consider selling the bike in the UK and buying a bike in Australia for the trip.

Fortunately my wife’s nephew lives in Australia and so we have a contact there to get information about purchasing and insuring a bike.

The shape of travel has certainly changed over the last two years and not for the better. I’m not convinced it will ever go back to how it used to be but, we must strive to find ways around government restrictions so that we can experience this beautiful planet to the full.

More soon …

Travel and Medical Insurance

Insurance is the biggest legal scam in the world but, we all need to have it for one reason or another and taking on a trip like the one I’m about to undertake definitely needs some sort of medical insurance as riding off-road for thousands of miles is fraught with potential accidents!

I’ve spent hours filling in forms on travel insurance websites and making calls to insurance providers trying to find the best option for my trip. Many of the companies I’ve spoken to bork the moment you mention ‘motorcycle’ and/or ‘off-road’ and others have no interest in insuring you for more than 30 days.

One company I did find will cover everything I need and didn’t bork or flinch at all no matter what I threw at them.

Navigator Travel Insurance Services Ltd. do have two specific policies for adventure riders that want to travel to regions of the world that are way outside of the norm.

Their Motorcycle Silver and Gold polices don’t come cheap, but they do cover a lot for the money and for a tiny additional fee you can have a policy with no excess. (Well worth doing!)

Note: I am in no way connected with Navigator Travel Insurance Services Ltd. I’m just putting it out there for those trying to arrange an adventure motorcycle trip.