Lisa & Jason - Turning Into Two Wheeled Nomads
Two wheeled travel finds you free from walls and windows, which leaves you vulnerable – it paves the way towards spontaneity and excitement. Fortunately, this has become true for Lisa Morris and her partner Jason Spafford, a pair of wanderlust seeking Brits from Nottingham. They didn’t think twice in selling their house in order to finance a once in a lifetime trip ‘bottom up’ through the Americas.
So why did this couple, stable in their jobs with a cottage in the country give it all up? As far as making lifestyle choices was concerned, Lisa was never one for overly engaging convention. Luckily, neither was Jason.
“Like Jason, I guess sometimes I too felt a little encumbered; enduring the unchanging routine of work, rest and making some imaginative short-lived play before thrown into the repetitive cycle once again. Is this as good as it gets? In the hope that it wasn’t, we opted to sell the house and decided to rent in a cheaper part of town; ran clapped-out cars, squirrelled away every penny of spare salary, and generated funds from disposing of everything we deemed unimportant – on eBay, to neighbors, and at car-boot sales – it’s only when you’ve liquefied most of your assets and pack your life up into a few boxes do you rightly reap the rewards. The sacrifices made are more than worth it.”
They decided on the Americas because neither has been, apart from a scuba diving expedition to the Galapagos Islands. A Passage de Carnet is not necessary to travel anywhere in the Americas and most of the countries they will be riding through are fairly stable politically; a perfect starting point in which to get a taste of motorcycling adventure. Riding from Argentina to Alaska for 12-18 months will be full of flavor to bite into.
“It’s our time to be as free as a bird – to fly through space at the twist of a throttle. We’ve scuba dived the globe over the last fourteen years together – it feels good to diversify, integrating our passions into something fresh”.
In exchange for $4,000 each, they rode onto a container ship and accompanied their bikes across the Atlantic from Belgium to Montevideo, Uruguay for 27 days. Friends asked beforehand if they needed to work their passage or sleep in a container.
“Er, no to both! We saw it as a poor man’s cruise; passengers were secondary to the cargo although we were assigned a decent cabin with en suite, served three meals a day with good table wine and enjoyed the company of two other passengers. It was relaxed, surprisingly calm during the crossing and we had ample time to decompress after a busy planning period.”
Meeting travelers, the locals and fellow motorcyclists en route – spending time with people from all walks of life, sinking into a place and different lifestyles draws the biggest appeal from a trip like this for the pair. That and the Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt flats, in fact anywhere there is big desolate spaces in which to go astray for Jason.
They’re four months and 7,000 miles in and already the Argentinian hospitality has touched their lives in a way neither dreamed possible. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of two wheeled travel side by side.
“Personal growth and travelling go hand in hand. Motorcycling as a couple can be challenging in often unpredictable and difficult circumstances. Travelling through foreign lands in extreme conditions – life on the road together will test the uppermost forbearance levels of any relationship that’s for sure. Fortunately, I think we are becoming the friendliest and most contented versions of ourselves. Jason might argue otherwise when he tries to engage me in conversations about tires and gaskets!”
Jason has 25 plus years riding experience on Lisa, in fact, before the start of 2012 she’d never ridden anything other than a bell-jingling donkey on Blackpool Beach. Perfectly contented as a pillion, Lisa entered a competition at a national biking event but won so much more than the runner up prize; a morning’s wobbling on two wheels.
“As tentative as I was, I never looked back. In four months, I went from zero to ‘Lets’ go!’ I passed my test first time thanks to the unfaltering patience of my instructor. A heartfelt thanks also goes to Simon Pavey's Off Road Skills course – without his staff, I'd still be nervous taking my bike off tarmac. I loved training in a mixed group of six trainees; it was superb fun to try and out-do the guys during the exercises!” This endeavor – on all types of terrain – has become an addictive way of life for them.
Lisa’s fears somewhat differed to Jason's apprehensions before setting off. Having only passed her test in 2012, she hopes she can fully embrace the learning curve so her riding ability doesn’t dictate where they go.
“As someone that wasn’t a natural rider, getting in some practice beforehand was a must for me. Jason is a fairly relaxed guy and didn’t have any real issues about the trip. Although I have to agree with Ted Simon – it’s often the interruptions not the destination that make not break a trip.”
Society’s binds can no longer shackle this couple to being someone they’re expected to be, in any personal or professional facet of their lives. “Overland motorcycle travel draws on a newfound freedom that allows you to be in the present moment, as opposed to wishing your life away on a Monday morning to Friday afternoon as we sometimes do; not because you dread every waking minute at work but out of choice, where would you rather be and what would you be doing? Wherever and whatever that is, I can vouch that pursuing our common interests together by the same means, wanting to do and see the same things – nothing could make me happier.”
As Lisa and Jason are now homeless, without offspring and free from the 9-5 job, what better time to embrace some life-changing adventure. Over the next 18 months, they’ll wind their way up the Americas filming their tales on the trails using a drone from Patagonia to Prudhoe Bay. They’d like to see as many countries by means of the scenic routes off road where possible, trying their best to avoid the highways.
“I have no idea when we’ll get to Alaska or what we’ll do if body or budget haven’t ran out; I only know that riding the Americas alongside my partner is exceeding every hope and expectation I’d ever had.” TwoWheeledNomad.com