"After a few hundred meters my bike looked like a big grey birthday cake on which you could not even recognize the knobbly tires any more. The mud went partly up to my kneecaps, during any of my very frequent stops mosquitoes were circling around my head like Native Americans when attacking the white man's wagons. And let's not forget about the heat, humidity, absence of any life forms but the ones mentioned and of course some crocs."
Dirk Bachmann, Germany, in Bolivia
"... 'So how exactly did you get here?' It was a common question among the locals. The Darien Jungle is virtually a no-mans land, with the guerrilla controlling the territory to the South and happy Carabineers controlling the paradise to the North... if you are lucky enough to visit the skinny piece of land that lies next to the Darien Jungle at the southern tip of the country, along the Caribbean sea, you just may think that this is paradise... Here you can fish in the morning and eat your catch in the afternoon, and listen to the monkeys hooting in the trees, eating the bananas, next to the mango tree. "
Kelly (USA) and Enric (Spain), from Santiago to USA, in Panama
"... The desert is slowly encroaching on Nouakchott, the streets building up the eddying sand blown in from surrounding dunes... It is eight km of no mans land between the two border posts, an area heavily mined, sensible to remain on one of the tracks between the painted rock cairns and where guides are not allowed in to assist."
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, in Mauritania and Morocco
"Woman on terrace tries to make conversation, explaining why she is walking around with a big piece of cloth, 'I am trying to make shade.' I nod politely, after all it is sunny, despite the early hour. Pause. She says then, 'I am travelling with a lama.' What to respond? Inquire into its welfare? Does it miss home? How are its hooves? Does it like the local water? Smiled inanely, I pictured her, in her ethnic clothes with a large quadruped mammal trailing behind her on a red embroidered tasselled lead, neighing in the heat and dust. 'He's not feeling well,' she added...."
Simon Kennedy, Ireland, in India
"...We were held up at one post for over two hours at Ferkessedougou because we had not stopped at the previous blockade and refused to return...After considerable time of stand off I proceeded to start taking photos of the surrounding area, including the road block which brought on an immediate reaction from one sergeant to snatch the camera, and a scuffle broke out resulting in Kay's helmet hitting him on the head and him punching Kay in the face. Even here women don't openly get punched in the face by Army sergeants regularly, and the situation immediately went quiet."
Peter & Kay Forwood, Australia, in Code d'Ivoire
"...Subtly at first, and then with more force, I felt the bike starting to labour and inexorably lose forward momentum. I shifted down a cog and continued, but the drag worsened. ...Then I looked down, and knew with certainty that we were sinking. The surface here was not as solid as the previous day, and we were making heavy weather through what was rapidly becoming soft salt-topped mud. Oh dear, I thought, or words to that effect."
Connor Carson, UK, in Pakistan
"...They were more than a little dispirited, but we consoled them with the newsletter ...'Look, there are other people out there doing the same mad things, driven by the same inexplicable compulsion.' I think we all felt a slightly warm and fuzzy feeling at the confirmation of the existence of this brother (and sister-) hood of RTW motorbikers..."
Siobhan McInerny, Ireland
"...Without a doubt-without a shadow of a doubt the best enlightening, growing, fun, insane, unforgettable, weird, bizarre, educational, crazy, incredible experience of my life of 23 years. However, don't think that our traveling days are over. Oh no!! ... My only advice is that if you are thinking of having a little adventure of your own-- leave now without further procrastination. Don't use money, jobs, and materialism to stop you from experiencing life. Drop everything and GO!!"
Ryan Wagner and Dan Koengeter, USA
"...When the last jeep of the guerrillas is fleeing, they see me and then return. They yell, forcing me to go with them. 'If you try to escape, we fill you with lead', is their final warning...along with other seized hostages and several confiscated trucks, we went into the mountains using dirt roads...The level of my anguish and anxiety is increasing with the passing of the minutes, all kinds of thoughts go through my head: Kidnapped by the guerrilla, what a way to finish an adventure for Peace."
Ricardo Rocco Paz, Ecuador, in Colombia
"...I'm off tonight to a Carnival/Music festival with a group of 17-24 yr old babes (braces an' all) and no one thinks (or says) that I'm an oldster, they are so marvellous and have become great friends they want me to stay here. The Brazilian audience is wild and superb everyone sings along with the performers. 'When I die, I don't want to go to Heaven - I want to come to Brasil`- Wish I had discovered this country before."
Keith King, UK,in Brazil