Shivering from the harsh highway wind, I undo myself of my gloves and the buff around my neck. Hastly passing through the doors of MotoPort, Den Bosch. The sound echoing through tells me the presentation of Paul van Hooff has already took off. As I join the other enthusiasts, all sitting on the tip of their seat, it doesn’t take long for me to figure out why they’re intrigued.
Paul van Hooff captures the audience with his storytelling of the 60.000km motorcycle-journey that took him 3 years to complete. Involving harsh terrain, the beauty of simplicity, a different look towards life, gained loves, lost loves and the life changing encounters on the road. Paul is very willing to share his experiences with other enthusiasts.
During the break I quickly start talking with other riders, sharing stories and ideas. When I bump into Paul, I remind him of the message I send him, regarding his book, upcoming presentations and my Going Eastwards plan. Paul’s eyes immediately started to twinkle and he firmly starts to shake my hand. ‘So you are Robert Jan! Great! Congratulations!’ As I am a bit overwelmed, Paul explains that the shear will and determination are the main ingredients for such a trip. ‘Now it’s simply a matter of saving up and doing it!’.
After the presentation we all took our sweet time talking, sharing and admiring good old Guus (Paul’s Moto Guzzi). After a long stretch well into the evening and way past closingtime, MotoPort decided it was enough for today and had to beg the remaining few riders to take their leave. With high spirits and a signed copy of his book Man in het zadel I packed up again and entered the cold towards my bike. Trembling, not because of the wind, but out of pure excitement!
A few months ago, this plan was just something that lived inside of me. Ever since I decided to put it out there, I have been overwelmed with so much kindness and helpful advice, to an extend I could not have imagined!
It be in the form of a warm welcome to Romania, the kindness from Iran, some practical tips on Motor-Vlogging, or D.I.Y. idea’s on mounting crates to my motorcycle, they are all wonderful! Your unconditional support drives this plan further and pushes this dream a little bit closer to realisation.
(a lot of bits, make a mile!)
So I wanted to say thanks to everyone for your support so far!
Robert Jan van der Kaaij
Last week I got my hands on a second hand copy of the book Overland to India by Gordon G May. Gordon drove his, then 55 year old Royal Enfield, from the UK to the southern tip of India. It is a great source of inspiration and preparation since the route I have in mind is very similar to the route Gordon took back in 2008.
To my surprise this book actually has a written message and autograph of Gordon, dated from 2013. I hope that poor Derek didn’t lose this book by mistake or that it was thrown out by his overly worried partner, due to his midlife-plans. But in case the past owner holds no more value to this inspirational book, I can safely say it is on good hands now! Let’s do this!