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Australia Moto trip // Paolo Cattaneo // ENG

By dimuzioax on 22 Aprile 2020
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AUSTRALIA MOTOTRIP

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Australia.
A remote land, almost unknown and completely isolated from the rest of the world.
A hostile land for its great majority; 90% of it is uninhabited and its size is one and a half times that of Europe.
Temperatures approaching 50 degrees in summer, lack of drinking water, oceans infested with sharks and jellyfish, made ineffable by waves and currents of cyclopean force.
A fascinating and dangerous land at the same time.
A dream land, fantastic for a road trip.
The lightness of stopping where you want, lighting the fire in the evening and looking at the stars at night, and then waking up in the morning maybe on the ocean shore, with the invigorating roar of the waves and the penetrating scent of the sea breeze , to remind us that, even just for that moment, we are FREE.
A dream that in my head was impossible to realize, perhaps.
The only solution I could see, to make this project feasible, was through a radical and rather senseless choice for most people: to quit work, home and leave.
Leaving to travel around one of the largest countries in the world would have required a proportionate commitment, after all.
The reason why a person is driven to do such a thing is always very personal, but in theory also very simple.
I met, during my trip, people who were travelling in the same way and who had raised the same question in me.
Some on bicycles, others with a 4×4, others with a van, others with a postman’s moped.
Why travel around Australia on a moped?
I think the answer I received was the most exhaustive and the most effective I could have ever imagined: WHY not!?

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And it is precisely in this spirit that one has to face a journey of this magnitude, on a motorcycle.
Living in the present, enjoying every moment and not thinking about anything but the road to travel, constantly adapting to the route and needs.
Living every moment and savoring its taste, full of freedom.
Feel the air that penetrates from the helmet and capture the energy of the territory only from the scent; feel the aroma of wild flowers, the smell of the incoming rain and the fresh sea breeze, when you approach the ocean.
This way of interpreting my adventure, has made this journey even more incredible than it could have been in itself, just admiring this country with its breathtaking nature.
Living in the moment.
The only way we can truly experience everything around us.
I thought of this trip perhaps as a kind of antithesis to what I was experiencing in Sydney.
During my “urban” life, it was all about trying not to destabilize my routine, which gave me confidence and rhythm.
It was all a game of arriving on time at every appointment, and being on time; my life was all about trying not to go outside the box and losing precious minutes in my day.
The journey was the opposite. It was about living every moment, embracing every little change and appreciating its complexity; it was about getting lost in an unknown road and then discovering that you hadn’t got lost at all. On the contrary, we had just discovered a new place that we would never have dreamed of finding on our path, if we hadn’t lost our way.
It was to understand that the meaning of life is not to try to predict every single step of our existence with respect to a certain point in it, but to adapt ourselves to what happens in our lives according to who we are at that moment.
I didn’t have a fixed destination; I had a place to sleep at night.
No other plans, no home to return to.

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I left Sydney, and simply headed south; my idea was to travel, more or less, the whole continent clockwise.
I think in the end this was the most beautiful emotion that this trip gave me.
The risk of gambling everything, to live life to the full of one’s emotions, without thinking too much about it, without taking oneself too seriously.
Australia, however, has limits for motorcyclists. Sunrise and sunset are the two worst moments of the day, obviously to ride your bike.
The chances of running into animals (kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, camels, cows, sheep, etc.) on the road increases tenfold as you approach the extreme times of the day, when the animals come out of their burrows and go in search of food.
Temperatures are never extremely cold, even in winter, although in Tasmania I have reached -3 degrees Celsius, on some mountain passes.
The bike equipment must therefore be relatively light, or at least enough to cover 2 seasons.

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My trip has seen me cover 37000 km in 7 months, but I certainly took it easy.
It’s hard to imagine how a trip of this magnitude can be, unless you have already done it.
We often find ourselves travelling 200-300 km in a straight line, without any point of reference, with horizons that touch our peripheral gaze, without a rest station, without petrol stations, without trees and without meeting a living soul.
Sometimes I found myself covering 700 or 800 km in a day. Once even 1100.
The level of concentration must always be very high because of the high presence of animals that can suddenly fall on the roadway, or for those that have been overwhelmed the night before and are still “lying down and eaten” by the raptors on duty.
At the end of a journey like this, doing 500km in a day seems almost a piece of cake.

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Many people say that the bike is not the best vehicle to get around Australia, because of the long desolate roads, the endless deserts and the not too ideal temperatures.
In my opinion, instead, the desert has something magical.
The silence is the most incredible thing you can feel in such a place; the feeling of peace of being completely immersed in the most boundless nature, and definitely unsettling.
Camp at night and admire the starriest sky you can see in your life.
Something totally unique that only in Australia I have been able to taste, perhaps because of its unique size.
A unique experience that I still remember with great emotion today.

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Nato a Oggiono (LC) nel 1980 e cresciuto nella Brianza, la mia vita ha avuto una svolta radicale solo nel 2004, dopo essere emigrato all’estero ed aver conseguito una laurea in ingegneria informatica.
Nel 2005 mi sono trasferito a Los Angeles e nel 2008 a Bangkok; nel 2010 invece ho cambiato residenza in maniera definitiva, scegliendo Sydney come base.
Nel 2015 ho comprato la moto, ho mollato casa e lavoro, ed ho iniziato a girare tutta l’Australia; nel 2016 ho spedito la moto in Sud America ed ho cominciato ad esplorare tutto il nuovo continente e successivamente anche l’Europa.
Dopo aver macinato quasi 170000 km, nel luglio 2019 ho raggiunto l’Italia con la mia compagna di viaggio, chiamata Bronte, una KTM 1190 Adventure del 2013.
Ora, dopo quasi 5 anni di avventure, mi ritrovo a girare il mondo, in sella alla mia moto, come nomade digitale.

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