OFF-ROAD THERAPY (PART. 1/5)

From Dream to Reality

Nota Bene:
This text was written by Annie, one of our road sisters who joined our first tour in Nepal, in 2022.

It was translated as close as possible from the original French text in order to keep the essence of her story.

prologue

Who would have thought that one day cancer would confine me to the depths of a dark well?

Who would have believed that shortly after my remission, I would be on the roads of Nepal, sharing the intensity of an eternal moment with my road sisters?

  

No one knows… The future is unpredictable and elusive. Only the present moment belongs to us, along with the motorcycle, its anchor. I feel the vibrations of the machine, and the jolts of these rough roads are a reminder of life. I love this thick dust rising before us, whisking me away to another world. This mud that dirties us but tears us away from our daily lives. These unknown rivers whispering to us that it’s the beginning of the adventure.

 

Here and now, I am everything and nothing at once, I am dust, I am a star.

 

On this 15th of October 2022, a chapter of my life unfolds with my road sisters, with whom I celebrate life on my Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic. From Kathmandu through Dhampus and Bhaktapur, we rode on rocky, rugged, and muddy terrains. We laughed, cooked, and danced together.

 

It’s certain; we’ve known each other in another life.

An adventure that was supposed to last two weeks ended up lingering in our memories. Life is like that; sometimes, our attention is drawn to one message more than another, and suddenly, we find ourselves embarked on an extraordinary adventure. It must be said that the concept of the journey entitled “Meet the Women of Nepal” strongly attracted me. Among women, off-road, in a foreign land, I sensed that there was a unique experience to live.

off road therapy

I conversed with Alison, the founder of FreeW and the creator of the road trip, and I immediately connected with the values she upholds: sisterhood, self-transcendence, adventure, and sharing. According to her, no matter the experience one might have on a motorcycle, as long as the desire and willingness were present, everything was possible. It reassured the beginner in me.

In reality, I needed to live an intense experience to counterbalance the medical diagnosis that had left me sidelined a year earlier. I needed to find a new balance in my life.

 

This adventure was shared with Sandrine, a former colleague turned friend with whom I decided to embark. We had obtained our motorcycle licenses together, and a year later, here we were in Nepal, embracing life to the fullest. Being passionate about traveling, I’ve dragged my backpack to the four corners of the planet. Nepal didn’t scare me because I was already used to traveling in Asia.

What took me out of my comfort zone as a solo traveler was the motorcycle journey, especially in a group.

However, upon meeting Alison, Kerstin, Ellen, Sabrina, and Yurbisha, I knew we would connect. We shared the same taste for adventure and the same desire to experience something extraordinary. People often say that women don’t cut each other slack… and yet… sisterhood shone within the team, like a diamond in the sun, overshadowing all preconceived ideas. The only rain present at that moment was a shower of encouragement, support, and camaraderie… even to the extent of taking a bathroom break together while waiting for the road to clear!

Yes, it’s true. I thought only men did that among themselves. During this moment of revelation, I understood the true definition of the word ‘sisterhood’. Even though we hadn’t gone so far as to hold hands during this break, we became sisters, and a family was forming as the journey progressed.

nepal and the nepalese

What can I say about Nepal, except that it resembles no other country in Asia?

Wedged between China and India, this territory has seen the birth of mountaineers who have built their legend in the Himalayan mountains. Moreover, the Nepalese flag, which I particularly cherish, stands out from other flags because of its shape. Two superimposed triangles that have various explanations, but regardless of the version, I prefer to see the Himalayan mountains in them. To me, the moon symbolizes the spirituality of the Nepalese, and the sun represents the smile of these people. The blue color symbolizes the mountain cold, but also the serenity of the Nepalese, and finally, the red color, their courage and passion. The Gurkhas, for instance, are soldiers recruited in Nepal by the British army. Their motto ‘Better to die than live like a coward’ makes them invincible warriors, feared and respected.

off road therapy

One thing that struck me about Nepalese values was their devotion.

Our valiant team members were: Sushant and Yurbisha (road captains), Jnesh Sha (mechanic), Bijay (support vehicle driver), and Bishal (photographer). I never felt any weariness in their unwavering help. They seemed determined, confident, and valorous, ready to assist us in overcoming our fears. I’d even add playful… Not hesitating to gently mock me or take photos when I felt emotional. These little teasing moments helped forge a strong bond and made me feel comfortable with them in any situation. There was no cultural barrier because we spoke the same language: that of adventure, self-transcendence, and mutual support.

Speaking of overcoming difficulties, I know what I’m talking about.

The first days off-road were challenging… very challenging.