3 years, 6 continents, 51 countries, and 124,000km …Aaron Steinmann (aka Braaping Kiwi) rides into Margaret River, Australia on what he calls the home stretch to where he first set off in the deep south of New Zealand!
Sitting down and chatting to Aaron is nothing short of fascinating! His adventures, triumphs, vulnerability, discoveries, and achievements can all be felt in his incredible stories. No one has ever circled the globe on a bike as light as this before; a small motored, KTM 500 EXC dirt bike. In fact, when Aaron told the bike salesman of his initial intentions of riding from New Zealand to Oregon, USA, he thought he was nuts, and strongly suggested going for something more robust! Everyone seemed to say the bike would never make it!
Aaron had some experience travelling on dirt bikes, and knew this was the bike for him. For one, he didn't want to come off in a remote location and not be able to physically lift it up on his own, but more importantly, it's epic for doing wheelies!!
A few modifications, and Aaron set off on his journey to Oregon! Once there Aaron had planned to settle down, but things had changed in his absence from the place he had once lived; so, he jumped on his bike and thought he'd ride to the top of all the Americas... Deadhorse, Alaska! After all, "it was only about an inch on the map"! From here, Aaron's adventures spiraled into what he calls "the Forrest Gump effect" ...he just kept going!
There's a lot of logistics that go into an around the world adventure experience, but for Aaron, that looks something like this: 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of jocks, and 3 t-shirts; two pre-oiled oil filters, and if it looks like a big run, he’ll carry a couple of extra Gatorade bottles of fuel (yep, that's right, a couple of soft drink bottles) to keep him going. And if he’s really prepared, he’ll look ahead to the country he’s going and guess weather he’ll be able to get tyres there.
For the most part, Aaron also hasn’t taken conventional roads, instead winding his way through dirt tracks in many countries. This wind in his hair approach has seen him arrive in some of the most spectacular places on the planet.
Along the way he's met some of the most interesting people, been welcomed into complete strangers homes and given a bed to sleep in, made friends for life who have joined him for a week or two here and there, and experienced more of the world than most people can ever imagine.
One of my favourite images from Aaron's extensive portfolio is one of hundreds of Hot Air Balloons nostalgically dotting the morning skyline of Morocco.
It was sheer luck that Aaron woke to the sounds of roaring gas inflating the balloons as they set to launch outside his tent door in the morning.
Another truly surreal moment for Aaron was riding over the last rise to see the Sahara Desert splayed out in front of him… and he definitely had the right bike to make the most of the endless playground of monstrous sandy dunes!
Aaron arrived in Margaret River, Western Australia a little over a week ago, staying with Wine for Dudes boss Johnno; and has spent his time darting around exploring the beauty of the Southwest through day trips. Of course, Johnno took him out to explore the vineyards with a Wine for Dudes Margaret River wine tour, and also pulled wheelies in the vines of Windance Estate (haha... thanks for letting us churn up your soil legends!), and it's fair to say he's loved his experience of the South West Western Australia.
Like always, Aaron's plans are a little up in the air, but it sounds like he'll be heading south via Pemberton, over to Esperence, then up to stay with some motoX mates in Kalgoorlie;He’ll then be filling up some extra Gatorade bottles and fanging it through to some of the most remote parts of Western Australia and in the Northern Territory to Alice Springs; right bending it south to Adelaide, around the bottom of Australia (via Tasmania), then up the East Coast to Brisbane; before he and his beloved bike Tess jump on the big bird over to New Zealand for the home run back to where it all began in the deep south!!
He's got a few months left yet, check out where he's been and follow the rest of Aaron's adventures on Instagram at @braaping_kiwi