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Moto Gypsy Part 2

Nov 12th 2020

“HOW DID YOU GET HERE?”

I get this question a lot. Sometimes they’re referring to the extremely remote location, such as the outskirts of the Peruvian Amazon or the otherworldly tropical dry forests of Ecuador. I can’t blame them; a woman dressed in black leather on a classic-looking Indian Scout Sixty, alone, is a strange sight to behold. I’ve grown accustomed to the double-takes and bewildered stares.

Often, however, they’re asking how my life ended up as it is, living on a motorcycle and pursuing wildlife protection.

Well, when I was a little girl, I dreamt of exploring the planet while helping animals.

Even though my family didn’t travel, I envisioned myself visiting different places around the world as an exotic wildlife veterinarian, maybe with a traveling dog companion.

At the age of 8 or 9, I learned that biologists were people who investigated all the things I was most curious about, and I knew immediately that was what I wanted to be.

While studying biology at university, I learned about wildlife trafficking— I felt so enraged by this horrific trade, so ignited by passion to end it. It was that very moment that I knew my future was laid before me. I moved to Southeast Asia after my degree, hoping to begin my work against the illegal wildlife trade.

There have been some twists and turns, including falling in love with motorcycles when I was 16, but truly, every step of my life has led me to exactly where I am.

I have traveled more than 23,000 km in South America now, alone on the RSD modified Scout sixty, through sandstorms of the Atacama, freezing temperatures at high altitudes in the Peruvian Andes, and torrential rains of the Amazon Jungle.

I’m a biologist and motorcycle traveler following a map of hope; seeking those who dedicate their lives to protecting wildlife and their habitats.

WHAT’S NEXT

My next location is at a remote reserve in Colombia where they are discovering new species on a weekly basis. A confluence of ecosystems allows a plethora of strange and unique biodiversity to evolve in this specific location— a treasure trove of organisms now explored with advanced technology and catalogued in our genetic library of life.

What I continue to find along this journey, amidst the wildlife trafficking, illegal deforestation and devastating mining, is that there is no shortage of incredible wonders still existing on our gorgeous planet, worthy of our admiration, respect, and protection. There is still hope to live in a more harmonious, sustainable way with nature— and I’m out to prove that, via motorcycle.

THE BIKE

I picked up my 2019 Indian Scout Sixty in Santiago, Chile, and made the following changes before heading north:

  • Stock Indian Scout Bobber Kenda K761 tires (130mm front, 150mm rear)
  • Protection bars
  • Roland Sands Design mid-controls
  • Roland Sands Design pulley guard
  • Roland Sands Design risers
  • Roland Sands Design gauge relocator
  • Roland Sands Design Progressive Suspension 970 Series
  • Roland Sands Design slip-ons
  • Memphis Shades Gauntlet shield & hand guards

HOW HAS THE TRIP BEEN?

Well, it’s been everything: beautiful, inspiring, challenging, scary, fun, horrible, and some of the best moments of my life. Even after all this time, I still have to pinch myself to believe that I’m actually riding such an incredible, elegant machine through the wild places of South America. Though I wished for some additional ground clearance on the rugged roads of Peru, far from the Pan American Highway, the RSD parts for the Scout Sixty have made the lesser-traveled paths possible for yours truly. After all, conservation areas, biological research stations, and wildlife rescue centers are generally located far from main roads. The bike has been reliable even when I’ve felt fatigued, which I’m forever thankful for.

Photography by Sebas Chamorro  | Follow MOTO GYPSY on Instagram

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