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Riding through the crater of a volcano / The Aussie Bike or Hike “Guest Travel Blogs” #1

Updated: May 21, 2020

We may be in lock down and unable to travel interstate or internationally, but it doesn’t stop us dreaming of more adventures once the Coronavirus pandemic has ended.

In this series. Aussie Bike or Hike has invited guest bloggers to write about their travel adventures from around the world.

This series will concentrate on people who have traveled on a motorcycle, a bicycle or even by foot.

We have collaborated with these inspiring adventurers to bring you some epic travel adventure stories.

After all, we may be in lock down, but our travel bug and dreams aren’t.

These blogs are written to inspire others to travel, encourage people to live out their travel dreams.

It is our hope, that by sharing our experiences and photos with our fabulous customers, people will be intrigued to see more of the world.

Blog #1 is from Chantal Simons.

A Dutch-Australian female motorcycle rider who rode her motorcycle from Australia to Netherlands in 2015. Taking more then a year and crossing 25 countries solo!

In this blog, Chantal talks about riding into the crater of a volcano in Indonesia.

Enjoy some of her travel adventures in this series.

"Reality is better than you can ever dream up"

Riding through the crater of a volcano

When we think about holidays and travel, we think about the break in our everyday lives. We view it as a time there is nothing we have to do.

We may dream of impressive mountains, or white beaches and turquoise waters. But what we can’t get from the images in our heads is the feeling of actually being there.

You can’t feel how majestic the mountains are until you are at the bottom of a colossal, snow-capped, piece of granite.

You can’t feel the sun on your skin, the sand between your toes and the emotions this gives you, unless you’re walking on a pristine beach…

Equally so, you can’t imagine what it is like to travel on a motorbike, until you find yourself riding through the green fields of a country where you don’t speak the language. Travelling on a bike has two unique advantage over any other form of transport. Firstly, you are directly connected with your environment, you are part of it, and it is part of you. If it is cold, you are cold, if it is wet, you are wet, and if it is breathtaking, your breath is taken. Secondly, while you’re riding there is a constant low-level supply of adrenaline tickling your senses. This enhances any experience in a way that it engraves the views into your memory for decades to come. Your brain also stores some of the feelings of awe and wonder with those engraved views. A treat of a memory that will always be there.

Imagine having a memory that goes like this…

A lone bike winds its way through the green farmlands of Eastern Java, Indonesia. The rider has set course for the Bromo volcano. As the destination closes in, the roads get steeper and more twisty.

Villagers ride their horses along the side of the narrow roads, there is little traffic. The usual lines of tourists aren’t there, because Bromo is active. The volcano is throwing clouds of ash into the sky which are visible from miles way. It can’t be climbed and should be approached with caution, which naturally shuts down any organised tourism.

But when you ride your bike, you can go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go. And so, this bike and rider arrive in the village on the edge of the volcano. The impressive cloud of ash dominates the views, the hunt is on to find a good lookout and take some awe-inspiring photos. But before the camera hungry rider is satisfied, the bike is forced to a halt as it approaches a boom gate.

Unsure of how to turn the heavily loaded bike around on this hill, the rider scans the surroundings. To the rider’s surprise, a friendly local rushes to open the boom gate. Unsure of where this road will lead, the rider cautiously proceeds. A right-hand turn at the bottom of the rather steep descend reveals the destination of the road.

Bike and rider are taken aback when the road opens up to an enormous desert-like sandy flat. This is the Sea of Sand, the inside of a large crater which houses two smaller craters, one of which is currently spewing dizzying amounts of smoke and ash into the air. This is the volcano. The bike. The rider. They are in the centre of the volcano, riding through the sand, alone.

For a long time there is not a living soul in sight. The situation is completely surreal, there are signposts pointing to other villages and tyre tracks mark the invisible roads the locals use. There is also a beautiful Hindu temple, where at certain times in the year locals make offerings to the gods of the mountain.

Today, there is no one. The close down of tourist outlets has deterred foreigners from visiting this majestic spectacle. The bike and the rider are the only ones snapping selfies.

At last, a local guy on a treacherously loaded scooter passes by. It seems that the farmers use the volcano’s Sea of Sand as their highway to transport goods from village to village. Then the rider and bike are alone again. Alone in the middle of the majestic spectacle that nature is putting on. Alone in the Sea of Sand, the crater of an active volcano that is vehemently trowing clouds of ash and dust in the air…

One might say that this is the stuff that dreams are made of. But really, this stuff, you can’t dream it up.

This is the stuff that only happens when you are out there in the world, experiencing it, feeling it, being part of it, being one with it. You, your bike, nature and the infinite network of roads and trails to be explored.

About the author:

Chantal Simons, born and raised in the Netherlands, now finds her home on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. After various smaller motorbike journeys, she travelled solo with her Yamaha XT250 from Australia to the Netherlands. This trip took her 15 months and changed her life forever.

Upon completing this journey, she moved back to Australia and started working as a life coach while completing a PhD in sport science and psychology. After living her own dream of riding a motorbike across a continent, she now makes it her life’s mission to help others make their dreams a reality.

To see more of Chantal click here

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awesome read!


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