Who and Why?
Vicki and myself at a recent fancy dress party, dressed for the depths of a Melbourne winter.
It seems I should start this site with a bit of show and tell. My name is Alec Simpson and I popped into the world on Chrissy day in 1965. That means I am now 37 years old, and yes about 4 years ago I was feeling a little nervous. I grew up in a town called Bulolo which lives in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. This meant for a pretty exotic childhood and a goodpela time bilong me. Dad being a Mycologist and Plant Pathologist (into fungi) while Mum ran the local Malaria clinic.
I am married to the sensational Vicki who will be coming along for the Stans part of this journey. Unfortunately she won't be along for most of the trip due to work commitments, but continues to provide endless enthusiasm and support regardless.
I currently work as an Air Traffic Controler in Melbourne, Australia.
Why Russia and Central Asia?
In 1998 I travelled overland through Pakistan and China by Bus and Train. I was enchanted by the Turkic peoples in the region. The warmth and hospitality I was shown by people in the North of Pakistan and in Western China around Kashgar was fantastic. Sitting in tea houses playing chess and talking with people who traded into Kyrgystan and Kazakstan had me wanting to see what was on the other side of the Pamirs and Tian Shan ranges. Ranges that are the extension of the Hindu Kush and Himalaya.Reading books like "The Carpet Wars" and " An Unexpected Light" just made the desire to travel to Central Asia stronger.
I have on previous journeys visited South America, South East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The highlights include Petra, Patagonia and Pakistan. Yes that was an attempt at ryhme! Pretty average really. Clearly not a Journalist!
Why by Motorbike?
Riding motorbikes is totally cool! Riding motorbikes and travelling the world even cooler!!
I have a bit of a passion for motorbikes. I don't really know why. None of my family rode them, in fact it was actively discouraged, but a great deal of my closest freinds do! I learnt to ride on a Ducati 500 in 1985 it was slow but handled OK on smooth roads, it was also notoriously unreliable ensuring my father got his wish more often than not! He should not have worried as my mate Peter on his Ducati Darmah chased away all the errant drivers with his Conti exhausts.
In 1986 I travelled to the NT to work and bought a Yamaha XS1100 that I rode around Australia. I was forced to take it easy as I had no license, but it is remarkable that the bike made it. In 18 months it was never serviced! I had no punctures..lucky really as I had no repair kit or any idea how to use one. It stripped second gear on a beach south of the the Nullabor Plain in WA and continued to operate without that gear for the next 12 months without even an oil change.
In 1988 I wanted to ride around the world. Inspired by reading Ted Simons Jupiters Travels I sought out advice. I met a man in Sydney called John Todd who had twice ridden to Europe from Australia on his BMW R69S. His stories of crossing Afghanistan before and after the Russian invasion had me rivetted and I determined that I must do this as well! So John wherever you are, it has taken me fifteen years to get on the road but it has happened!
See what happens when you get a job!
I have none the less managed to ride the odd motorbike in places other than Australia. A few days in Hoi An, Vietnam on a Minsk125, Hanoi on a Honda Cub riding an MZ250ETZ around parts of newly not East Germany. Otherwise looking on in envy when meeting overland bikers in Patagonia and Tunisia or for that matter Melbourne.
So I hope to update this site as often as possible with a journal, as well as providing some information for those who may want to do something similar. Those of you who have made it this far may also want to visit the Refugee Action Collective Web Site in the links page to see what you can do to help stop the shameful behaviour of the Australian Government.
Australia so close to Antarctica, so far from anywhere else.
The Web man, man
This site is largely due to the help of Gus, your average knock about legend. Thanks Gus, Fi and Arkey for putting up with the slow learner. Gus and Arkey and me