Even though I have been contemplating for over a year on whether I should leave normal life and start travelling full time, it was only in July which was 3 months ago that I decided to do so.
Is it possible to prepare for an indefinite motorcycle trip in such a short amount of time? Read on to see the steps I took and whether I managed to complete them.
Selling most of my possessions
I had to sell most of my belongings because I currently intend to travel for as long as I can. I only kept what I needed for the trip and also a few extra things to get my old life started if I were to go back to Singapore. I was not able to sell my clothes so I donated the bulk of them to Giving & Taking Free Stuff. They take useful small items and send them to the poor in Philippines.
Was 3 months enough? I did manage to sell what I wanted to but if I were to have more time, I would have been able to sell everything at the price I wanted especially in regards to big-ticket items like my motorcycle and piano. I would say start as early as possible if you want to leave indefinitely.
I took a crazy number of vaccinations in a short period of 3 months: Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A, Rabies, Gardasil-9, the latest influenza shot and the Covid-19 booster shot. There was even a day where I had 3 injections at the same time.
Was 3 months enough? No it was not. I needed a period of at least 6 months to complete all the vaccinations fully. Right now, I have to take the 2nd shot of Hepatitis A and the 3rd shot of Gardasil-9 in Mexico.
Before I left, I filled up the Advanced Medical Directive(AMD) Form which allows me to decide if I would like to receive treatments if I were to suffer from any terminal illness in the future. I also appointed someone as my Lasting Power of Attorney(LPA) where I will give that person the power to decide how I would be taken care of if I were to lose my mental capacity. Lastly, I made my CPF nominations and wrote my will.
Thank you Juvena for reminding and assisting me with this.
Was 3 months enough? Yes. However, I waited till the very last week to arrange all of these matters and there was a delay in the approval of the AMD and LPA as they both required the forms to be sent by post. It also takes a period of 3 weeks for the LPA to be approved once received. I would say, a period of at least a month would be needed.
I tried asking my mechanic if he would be willing to teach me but he totally ignored me. I could not find anyone else to teach me as well. The only thing I had to guide me was the Yamaha mt-03 handbook and advice from Andre who is a fellow rider who has done a long distance trip. Even with that, I definitely need hands-on experience.
Was 3 months enough? No, because no one was willing to teach me. But I will try to learn along my trip.
Keeping updated with the latest Covid-19 requirements and restrictions
Covid-19 has made it really difficult to travel. Right now land borders are open from the USAto Colombia. However most of South America remains closed. What I hope is that by the time I reach South America, land borders would be open.
Was 3 months enough? Obviously not. Entry restrictions and requirements are constantly changing and I have to keep up with them.
Finding out the total amount of time I can stay in each country
As a Singaporean, our passport gives us access to a total of 192 destinations. Out of all the countries I intend to travel through in the Americas, only Bolivia requires me to get a visa on arrival. Right now, the total duration I can stay without any extension is 3 years and 9 months.
Was 3 months enough? Definitely. Information was readily available on the MFA website. This should not take more than a couple of hours.
Researching on ways to reduce my travel expenses
I am going to try my best to save as much money as possible. The only way to do this while travelling is to do Workaways or Couchsurfing. It is simple to set up a profile but the hard part is to write in to hosts and get their approval.
Was 3 months enough? It was enough for me to create my profiles and send in requests for my first 2 weeks. However, I will need to constantly be requesting and searching for hosts along my journey.
Trying to ensure that I can buy a motorcycle in L.A
This was really difficult because I was told that riding season is coming to an end and it would be very difficult to buy the Yamaha mt-03. It was also difficult to contact them as most of them did not have WhatsApp and calling them would obviously incur charges.
Even with a deposit, I would only be able to reserve the bike for 6 hours and paying for the bike in full before I see it in person was not an option for me.
Was 3 months enough? Yes if you are willing to risk buying the motorcycle before you see it in person.
Finding the right gear for me
To start off, Singapore does not have many options for women’s motorcycle gear. I tried on Klim’s Artemis women collection from Regina Specialties but unfortunately, while the jacket was a perfect fit, my hips and butt were just too big. They offered to order in a bigger pants size but the pants were already too long at the size that was too tight for me so I knew that getting a size up would not work anyway. I also tried the men’s Hardanger one piece suit but unfortunately it did not fit as well. By the way, do look for Andy at Regina Specialties if you want to get anything motorcycle related – he has been nothing but helpful and accommodating.
My second option was the Revit Sand 4 H2O. However, it is not available in Singapore. The only way I could purchase it was to order it from Cyclegear and get it shipped to one of the stores near my Airbnb in Los Angeles. Even in L.A. it is impossible for me to find a store where they have all the sizes for Revit available to try on the spot.
While finding the right jacket and pants was difficult, I was able to buy my gloves and shoes in Singapore. I bought the Klim Women Adventure GTX Short Black Glove from Regina Specialties and the SIDI GORE-TEX BOOTS GAVIA LADY GORE-TEX BLACK from Chong Aik International.
Was 3 months enough? Yes and No. I managed to buy half the gear I needed in Singapore but still needed to go to Los Angeles to buy my jacket and pants.
Finding the right equipment for emergency situations
I want to be as prepared as possible in the worst case situations. For me, my worst case scenario would be that I got into an accident, I am injured, the motorcycle is not able to start and I am in the middle of nowhere with no one in sight.
I needed a device that would allow me to contact someone even if I have no signal. I narrowed down my choices to the ACR Electronics ResQLink 400 Personal Locator Beacon and the Garmin inReach Mini.
The major differences between the 2 devices are:
|ACR Personal Locator Beacon||Garmin inReach Mini|
|Does not need a subscription||Needs a subscription|
|One time use||Can be used multiple times|
|Signal is slightly stronger||Signal is relatively strong|
|Cannot track location points||Can track location points|
I wanted to get the ACR at first but after much consideration, I decided that even though it is more expensive to get the Garmin, it is more practical to get it. The Garmin has 2 features that I want and that would be multiple SOS requests and the ability to track my location and share it with friends and family.
Was 3 months enough? Yes, to do the research. But to get any of the 2, I would have to pay for shipping. Instead I plan to get it at the REI store in Los Angeles.
Saying goodbye to friends and family
This was really difficult for me and I wish I could have the power to teleport back and forth.
Was 3 months enough? I do not think one can put a time for this – it is never enough. What I would like to say is that, sometimes we are so caught up in our own lives that we forget to keep in touch with our close ones. Make the effort to do so before it is too late.
So, what is the final verdict?
Well, I think if I give myself too much time to plan, nothing will ever get done. I am very happy that I got a good amount of things done before the trip and I know I will be able to get the rest sorted along the way. If you are planning to do something like me, perhaps plan at least 6 months in advance so that you can complete the vaccinations before you go. Other than that, I think, the amount of time I had was sufficient.