Paul Holmes admits riding across more than 22,500 kilometres through 22 countries did make him saddle-sore, but it was worth it.
The 34-year-old plumber from Figtree said he felt compelled to travel the world on his 2013 Triumph Scrambler motorcycle after two people close to him (a cousin and his father’s best mate) didn’t get to see out their own adventures due to cancer.
“They thought they had the time to do all this stuff,” he said. “I thought I’m better off doing it now, learn from their lessons.”
After six months on the road, literally, Mr Holmes is back on home soil and said he hoped his travels would inspire others to stop putting their own dreams on hold.
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Tomorrow’s not a guarantee, I just do things when I’ve got the time and I think everyone else should.Paul Holmes
Already a few friends have contacted him to say “thank you” for changing their mindset on life with some ready to take on interstate adventures with their own families.
“[It doesn’t have to be] as extreme but basic little things, getting out with the family and doing it now instead of waiting,” Mr Holmes said. “Tomorrow’s not a guarantee, I just do things when I’ve got the time and I think everyone else should.”
The travelling began in London where he met his beloved bike where it was shipped before riding about 400 kilometres per day (sometimes more) through the UK then Europe, the Himalayas, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Having New South Wales number plates made Mr Holmes and his Scrambler stand out, drawing attention from many other bike enthusiasts. Some of the friendliest he met were in Iran, a country he said was tainted by all the negative attention.
“Iran was magic, it’s such a beautiful place. With this crap that’s going on the media makes out it’s a terrorist hot spot but they’re the friendliest people,” he said.
After having some mechanical issues many people stopped to help him, including a school teacher who ditched his morning pupils to help get the trusty Scrambler back on the road again.
Places that brought on more unsavoury memories where Mr Holmes actually feared for his life included Turkey and Pakistan.
Overall he said he was in awe of the array of beautiful countries the world had to offer but the one he loved most was Australia.
“It sounds biased but ... it’s so clean, the coastline is just magic. Everywhere you ride there’s something to see and the Nullarbor – that was something special – it’s just the most dramatic end to Australia, it’s sheer cliff,” he said.
Mr Holmes said he feels like the trip honoured the memories of his friends and felt like he used his time wisely to experience as much of the world as he could.
“I don’t have any possessions [from the trip] as such, but the memories are worth more to me than any possession I have.”