After being dumped by his love interest in Australia, Brit Nathan Millward got an old postman’s bike and headed for Europe. He has now just published a book. After getting dumped by his love interest in Sydney Australia, traveling adventurer (read: crazy guy) Brit Nathan Millward needed to travel home to London. With just 20 days left on his visa, most normal people would have scraped up some dollars and jumped on an airplane. But Nathan decided to be different and take the long way home.
Traveling on a bike
In January 2009, he bought a decommissioned, second-hand Australian Post Office motorbike – known Down Under as a “Postie Bike” – christened the machine Dorothy – and headed through Asia, the Middle East and China to Europe. He has now traveled half-way around the world, taken loads of brilliant photographs and written a book: Going Postal, which he has just had published by HarperCollins.
Nathan is now back in Australia, promoting the newly published book in Sydney and was interviewed on national television this morning, (March 5, 2011).
“I set off with no plan, no map and no guide. That’s when people have the best adventures.” he said. The nine-month trip took him through 18 countries covering 35,000 km. And the catalyst for his long ride home was to quiet a broken heart – apparently:
“I met this woman at a speed-dating event in London and I came to Australia because of love,” he said, “It didn’t work out, so we kissed goodbye and I had to get back to England. So I got on my bike and started to ride.”
Dorothy, to the uninitiated, is a Honda CT110. These bikes are used by Australia Post as mail delivery vehicles, hence the name, “Postie Bike”.
Riding through Asia
Nathan said the 110cc Postie Bike made the trip with hardly a splutter through countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, India and China. He also rode over the Himalayas three times.
“Issues with visas and bureaucracy meant I had to alter the route along the way,” Nathan said on his website, The Postman.org.uk, “ That’s the main thing for anyone planning their own trip. Be flexible.”
“Riding in India was pretty tough. There are loads of chooks (chickens) always trying to take you out,” he laughed during his television interview this morning as the Channel Nine morning show presenter struggled unsuccessfully to kick-start his bike. Nathan enjoyed his meandering ride through Indonesia the most – where he clocked up 6000 km: “A lot of people seem to miss Indonesia out, shipping their vehicle instead from Singapore straight to Australia. But I’m really glad I went this way. It is a hassle getting in and out and for a long time you are way off the beaten track. But this was a good training ground for me, teaching me all the pitfalls and things to be aware of on the journey ahead. In some ways, it was the hardest country of them all. But perhaps, the one I enjoyed most.”
So many countries
“If I was to do it again, I’d love to skirt back down in Turkey and enter Syria, then Jordan, coming down to Egypt and then along the tops of Africa until I could cross from Morocco to Spain. I’d also spend more time in Southeast Asia, riding places like Cambodia and Laos. On this occasion, I was so keen and determined to carry on heading west that I didn’t feel much inclination to go back on myself. And so I skipped them completely, justifying it to myself by saying that they’ll only be the same as Indonesia, so what’s the point? Of course they would have been different, and full of equal curiosity. Ah well, you can’t ride down every road you see.”
Book is Published
Nathan attracted HarperCollins publishers after they saw some postcards he had made of his journey that he had sent to friends, along the way. “I was incredibly fortunate in picking up a publishing deal while I was on my journey. I realize how difficult it is to get such a thing,” he said. He has been attending book signings at Dymocks book shops in Sydney after Going Postal was published last month. It is available through Nathan’s website or through Harper Collins.