We can fly anywhere and discover unknown places if we have enough time, money, and energy these days. But sometimes, the best experiences can be found on our own doorsteps. That’s what 25-year-old Daniel Parsons has discovered about his native Australia, as he embarked on a solo trip around the wild island. Daniel’s decision to Leave The Main Road evoked our own sense of adventure over here at Fuel, so we wanted to know more about his one-man, two-wheeled journey across the Aussie landscape. Here, we chat with Daniel about all things adventure - and content warning: this will make you want to walk out of work right now, leave everything behind, and jump on your motorbike.
So first of all, what’s your route?
My route is taking me all the way around Australia in a counter-clockwise direction from Sydney, heading all the way to Cape York first (our most northern point) then down to Uluru, up to Darwin and Kakadu National Park, down the west coast through the Kimberley to Perth, across the Nullarbor Plain to Adelaide, down to Melbourne then on a ferry across to do a loop of the ancient forests and wild isolated coast of Tasmania before heading north back up to Sydney again! You can find a map of the full route in the link in my Instagram bio.
How and when did the idea for this trip become a reality?
I had been thinking about this trip for around three years as it represented the biggest adventure I could imagine within Australia, which combines my love for the outdoors, motorcycles and photography! Last year I realised that as time goes on, your responsibilities only grow bigger and it just gets harder to take on an adventure like this, so I decided the time is now!
What made you decide to Leave The Main Road and follow your own path?
I have always had a drive to leave the main road and take on challenges which most people wouldn’t consider. The difference is writing your goals into your calendar, not your bucket list. I am so lucky to live in a place like Australia and be in the privileged position to be able to pursue these dreams and actually take those practical steps to break away and follow my own path. As my Dad says, “life’s not a rehearsal”.
What was your goal and and are you on the road to achieving it?
I’m not sure if I had a specific goal. I really just wanted to soak up as much of Australia’s people, land and animals as I could so I guess I was on the road to achieving that from the moment I rolled out of the garage! The trip has been everything I could have imagined and more.
What bike are you using? And how is it performing?
I am riding a 2017 BMW F800GS Adventure and oh my goodness I am so happy with it! I have had to get it serviced twice on the trip (once at 20,000km and again at 30,000km) so the maintenance has cost me quite a lot, but it means it has performed consistently well from the very beginning. The biggest failure of the bike so far was when the clutch wore out in some serious sand riding, so that had to be replaced along with the 30,000km service. Fingers crossed it gets me the last 5,000km home via Tasmania!
What has been the most challenging moment so far?
My most challenging moment happened very recently when I lost control of the bike in slippery clay after a night of rain and slid the bike on its side, breaking the locks on both panniers, as well as my windshield and left side mirror! It happened so soon after getting the clutch replaced and it was a real mental challenge to resist giving up on the whole trip there and then! Eventually I calmed down, repaired the panniers on the side of the road, repacked the whole bike and kept on riding. I hate these moments when they happen but you really do mentally and emotionally grow stronger because of them.
Is it making you see the world in a different way?
It really is! I thought that the experience would make me realise how big Australia is, but really it made me think how small the world is! Most of us could walk outside tomorrow, get on a motorbike and ride almost anywhere in the world if we have enough willpower, time and money. There really is a whole world of infinite experiences to be had out there, both with people and by yourself.
Australia is famous for its wild wildlife! Have you seen any crazy creatures on your travels?
So many crazy creatures! On my Instagram you will see my encounters with giant crocodiles, herds of camels and lots of emus. One of my favourite parts of the adventure has been spotting amazing lizards, birds or other animals and quickly grabbing the drone or camera to see if I can get a shot (or just make friends with it).
What is the sleeping and food situation?
Every night I sleep in my Talus 3 tent from The North Face, usually unloading my duffel bag and electronics bag in there to keep them safe too. I use an insulated, lightweight, inflatable sleeping mattress from Sea To Summit and an inflatable pillow and -30 degree sleeping bag from the same company. It still amazes me how it all packs on the bike.
I store snacks and enough dinner for about five nights in my top pannier, mostly dehydrated meals which I can prepare using water and a small stove from Jetboil. I usually stop at a fuel station or in a town for my breakfast and lunch. There is nothing better than riding to the nearest town for your morning coffee! I am also a vegetarian, so that helps with not needing to worry about meat going bad over long distances.
What new things have you learnt about your country and its people?
I have learned that every day, so many people are out on their own adventures, trying to experience the best of their country. Before I started the trip, I was nervous about other people I might meet, but these trips really teach you that everyone is just trying to find their own way to enjoy life, and a lot of them are just trying to adventure just like you! Australia is a big, beautiful land and you would need decades to even begin to see everything properly. I am so grateful to have had a taste of so many parts of my home country. I would recommend that any traveller consider exploring their own country before deciding on an overseas trip. You really learn so much which is so relevant to your own life and will help you way into the future.
Follow Daniel's journey on Instagram by going to @danxparsons, or by clicking this link.