How we went from a broken leg in Nepal to getting back on the bike in Cambodia nine months later…
Nine months ago, we decided to leave our bike in Japan after riding it there from the UK and fly to India, rent a Royal Enfield and ride to Nepal and Pakistan for a few months. Then we’d fly back to Japan, pick our bike up and ride to South Korea and ship it to Cambodia and continue our round-the-world journey.
Unfortunately, Alissa crashed her bike in Nepal and severely broke her leg (you can read about it here). So, we flew home to the UK after her operation and paused our round-the-world ride until now. Here’s what happened during that time.
In the chair: April, May, June
Alissa was confined to a wheelchair for 10 weeks with a raised leg. At the end of June Alissa was finally allowed to leave the chair, given crutches and took her few steps towards rehab and recovery.
Back to Japan: July, August
We could only leave our motorcycle in Japan for one year under a temporary import, so I had to leave Alissa in the UK and fly to Tokyo to take the bike out of the country. The plan was to get the bike, race it across the country, get a boat to South Korea, chuck it in a crate, ship it off to Cambodia and catch a flight home.
Shimonoseki to South Korea
Tokyo to the port town of Shimoneski was completed in four sweat soaked days and 800 miles. It took eight hours a day to cover a mere 200 miles. The extremely muggy humidity and constant 35°C temperatures through Japan’s hottest month meant stopping every hour to drench myself in water and pour a bottle of water into my helmet.
As always, the Japanese people proved incredibly kind and helped me out along the way.
On the first night, Jin, (the Japanese biker we met in Kazakhstan) arranged for me to stay in his friend’s capsule hotel in Tokyo and took me out for dinner with his friends.
People would randomly come out of shops with bottles of water and energy drinks for me and say “Welcome to Japan.”
As I set my tent up one night, a couple of fishermen came over to me with sandwiches, tea and sweets. Although, I’m assuming they did that because they knew what I was in store for that night. To be fair, they did show me their phones with severe weather warnings, pointed at the signs saying beware of poisonous snakes and did draw my attention to the signage with tsunami instructions…
That night, the heavens opened and the rain thrashed my tent harder than I’ve ever experienced in my life. In my pants at 1am I was wading through knee deep water, wincing every time a twig tickled my leg thinking it was a snake while I wrapped the guy ropes around the bike and rocks. In my tent, the air mattress floated off the ground and I used it as a life raft. Still appreciated the tea and sandwiches though.
Despite the excessive heat and long days, I loved riding through Japan. Every morning the Japanese get up early to throw blankets of fog over the mountains, sprinkle snow on Fuji, paint the grass lime green and scurry away any rubbish. Riding through, even when in a rush and delirious from the heat is still beautiful.
I took the overnight ferry from Shimonoseki, Japan to Busan South Korea, but once I arrived the South Korean Customs weren’t sure about letting me in as I had no proof of onward travel other than a couple of emails from a shipping agent. They finally agreed to let me and the motorcycle enter the country after an hour of talking. I rode to the shipping port, boxed up the bike in a wooden crate, said my goodbyes and caught a flight back to the UK.
First steps: October
Constant rehab and exercising meant Alissa could take her first few steps without crutches in October. Our plan was to leave in November or early December. But Alissa caught her ankle and had to use a single crutch for a while, the surgeons weren’t happy that she went back to using support and recommended we stay in the UK until after Christmas. We used that time to plan the next section of our trip through Southeast Asia.
On the road again: January
As soon as Alissa was discharged from hospital, we immediately packed up and jumped on a plane to Sihanoukville to collect our motorcycle five months after I shipped it from South Korea. Getting it out of customs was surprisingly easy with the help of a local fixer. Our two-into-one exhaust had given us trouble since day one back on January 1 2018 and broken more times than we can count. So, we brought the original two exhausts out with us from the UK and got to work with the help of a local mechanic. A quick oil and filter change, new cush drive rubbers, a pump of the tyres, new brake pads and we were ready to go. We’ve finally restarted our trip again in Cambodia January 2020, two years after leaving the UK on January 1 2018.
How it affects our plans
The plan was always to ride to Japan, catch a ferry to South Korea and then ship to Cambodia. But we hoped to have a little break in between by flying to New Delhi, renting two bikes and riding through India, Nepal and Pakistan. Unfortunately, that rental section idea didn’t work out due to the crash.
All it means is that we’ll bolt that part of the world onto our overall route on the way back from Africa in a few years’ time and ride there with our own bikes instead. We’ll now continue as planned through Southeast Asia towards Australia and New Zealand before shipping onto Alaska.
It’s been a long and rough nine months, but we’re finally back on the road and looking forward to however long it takes to get around the rest of the world.
Thanks for sticking with us,
Andy and Alissa
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