Have you quit your jobs or are you doing a sabbatical?
With the length of this trip a sabbatical would not have been possible and would have been very difficult for our employers in general. In order to be completely flexible, we had to terminate our permanent contracts.
What have you done with your flat and all your belongings?
We cancelled our rental apartment, sold everything to get some money and stored the rest in the cellar of our families.
How do you finance your trip?
We worked in the industry for a few years and now we live from our savings.
Are you sponsored or supported?
No. We only got a 40% discount for our kitesplitboard. Otherwise we did not get any discounts or other benefits. We just bought most of our stuff in the sale (for example the tent at the end of the camping season in autumn).
What is your monthly budget? Can you keep it?
We set ourselves a monthly limit of 800€ per person. This includes subsistence, accommodation, travel and repair costs as well as entrance fees for sightseeing and border crossings. In South and Central America, we could stick to our budget very well and mostly undercut it (approx. 500€). In the months with shipping costs or other high expenses, we were above that. On average, however, it balances out again.
What costs came up on the trip that you had not taken into account?
The costs for the border crossings we had calculated just little. We did not expect that these will often be so high. In South America we did not have to pay anything at any border crossing. In Central America we had to pay at every border. The most expensive borders so far were from Costa Rica to Nicaragua (about 50€ per person and bike including motorbike insurance) and from Belize to Mexico (about 220€ per person and bike including motorbike insurance plus a deposit per bike, this depends on vehicle age, in our case about 360€ per bike).
How long have you guys been riding bikes?
Kai since the age of 18, Nici since summer 2017.
Did you do an off-road course before the trip?
No. It was the first time we both went off-road in South America. Learning by doing.
How long have you had the motorcycles?
We bought both motorcycles in November 2017, not even one year before departure.
Did you buy the motorcycles especially for this trip?
Yes and no, we wanted to buy motorcycles anyway and decided on bikes that would be suitable for this trip.
How long did you plan this trip in advance?
We have informed and researched again and again two years before. But not in detail, because we never knew when we would really go. We planned really intensively only four months before departure.
Why with the motorcycle?
Because it is primarily a challenge for us and we wanted to face it. We didn't have any experience with motorbike tours combined with camping and sports equipment. In our imagination you feel, experience and smell the countries more directly than if you would travel in a different way. You get in contact with locals faster, get to know other (motorcycle) travelers and are more directly exposed to external influences. For us this was and still is pure adventure.
Why from South to North America?
Since we also wanted to do kitesurfing and surfing, this route seemed perfect to us. In addition, these countries have long been at the top of our "bucket list".
Have you ever done something like this before?
No. We didn't have any experience in long-term travel, nor we were on the road with motorcycles for more than a weekend.
What do you usually eat on the trip? How do you cook?
In the morning we have cereals and coffee. On driving days during the day simply bread.
If we have a kitchen at our disposal, we usually cook meat or vegetables with potatoes or rice in the evening. If we don't have a kitchen, we cook quite simple dishes (rice pot, spaghetti with sauce) on a gas or petrol stove. Otherwise, we try to eat typical local food or let ourselves be inspired by local food and cook it ourselves. And of course, we eat a lot of fruits.
Can you speak Spanish?
We did a Spanish course "Spanish for Holidays" before the trip. This has given us the incentive to continue learning. We also learned a lot with Duo Lingo (language app) and of course learning by doing during the trip.
Did you always need Spanish or can you get through with English?
In South America, very few people speak English. We spoke a lot of Spanish there. Of course, you can also describe a lot with your hands and feet. We met some long-term travelers who can hardly speak a word of Spanish and still got through well.
How have been the border crossings so far?
In South America the border crossings were still relatively easy and fast (about 2-3 hours). In Central America we had to plan much more time (about 3-5 hours) and unfortunately it cost more than expected. There is a lot of bureaucracy and you have to find your way every time.
How do you navigate?
We navigate with road maps, our mobile phones (offline maps from Google Maps and other apps) and a GPS device.
Kite equipment and surfboard on the motorbike, is that possible?
Yes. Unfortunately, we could not test the surfboard rack in Germany (because it is not allowed) in advance and had no experience with it. So, the rehearsal took place in Chile. In the beginning the wind was very strong and it was difficult to drive. The kite material is no problem. It's just heavy.
How did you ship the bikes to Chile?
With Intime Ham (https://www.intime-ham.com/ a carrier, which is specialized in the shipping of motorcycles) in a collection container from Hamburg to Valparaiso. Our motorcycles were even picked up directly in front of our front door. We were very happy.
How did you make it over the Darien Gap?
The bikes were shipped in a collection container from Cartagena / Colombia to Colon / Panama. We ourselves sailed via the San Blas Islands (https://www.bluesailing.net/ ) to Panama.
Do you already know what will happen after your trip?
No. Of course we think about it. But we try to enjoy our trip and live in the here and now.
If you have further questions, don't hesitate to write us. We look forward to your message. Just write us an email (to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the button below) or contact us via the social networks (Instagram or Facebook: @niuka.de).