Inspiration: Big Trip

“Life is like a book”

Tiger XC rider urges "write your own thrilling plot"

FTR Bio:, Steve Henley

Name: Steve Henley

Age: 49

Family: Married with two daughters

Home : Grew up in England and now living in Auckland, New Zealand.

Occupation: Senior Manager

Trip: Around the world from New Zealand via Indonesia – Vietnam – India – Iran – Turkey – North Africa – Portugal – Spain – France – UK – USA – Canada – Alaska – Mexico – South America – home.

Globe-crossing Steve Henley is back home after writing some unforgettable new chapters in his life and learning a simple lesson… that the people with the least give you the most.


Q. What inspired you to take on this adventure?

A. I love travel, motorcycles and a challenge. This trip has all three.

Q. How did you plan for such a huge trip?

A. It took 18 months to plan the trip. I wanted to see as many different cultures and landscapes as I could, so I researched the places I wanted to see and plotted them on a map. I did a rough route plan and calculated the approximate distance I’d have to travel – 230km a day for six days a week and have the seventh off. That gave me a timeline of about 15 months, so I added a few on because nothing goes exactly to plan. Then I calculated a cost for the trip and all the paperwork and visas I would require. Next I had to decide on a bike for the trip. It had to be smooth on the road, have the ability to go off-road, with a good robust engine, not too tall and to be comfortable. I read every forum there was about pro's and con's of bikes. In the end, the Tiger 800XC was the bike for me.

Q. Were there any occasions when you thought about turning back?

A. No, not even through some of the toughest parts of India, Pakistan and Iran.


Q. Best and the worst of the planet?

A. There are some beautiful sights, amazing mountains and volcanoes, crystal-clear seas with an abundance of fish and coral species. But there’s an abundance of rubbish on the streets in the less developed countries, plastic everywhere. The best thing by far was the total generosity and help from complete strangers – 99.99% of people are good. Everyone I met wants the same thing. They want to have a nice life and want their children to do well. It always seems the people with the least will give you the most. It is very humbling. The worst is the lack of freedom some people have in their countries, particularly women.

Q. Best country you’ve visited so far?

A. Difficult question because every place has its good and bad points. Best for sheer beauty is East Timor in Indonesia.

Q. How has the Tiger handled/performed?

A. Winston has been fantastic. I’ve had him through riverbeds, broken roads (actually the roads were not roads they were deep mud holes), through rocks and a flooded town in India. I have been impressed with how much abuse he has gone through and still comes back for more. He really is the best travelling companion I could ask for. He cruised nicely on the interstates of the US, so he is a true adventure bike.

Q. How did you finance the trip/what did the wife and kids think?

A. I sold four motorcycles, my 4x4 and saved hard. My kids think ‘good on you dad’ for living your dream. They are both 18 now and there is no way I would have done this trip when they were younger. It took a bit longer to convince my wife, but we did plan for her and the kids to visit me and for her to have multiple trips. In the end I think she is proud that I have done this solo trip. I did invite her to come along, but camping and riding pillion are not for her.

The total generosity and help from complete strangers was breathtaking – 99.9% of people are good.

Steve Henley

Q. What have you learned about yourself?

A. That I already knew who I was. If anything, it reinforced what I already believed. Life is like a book – it has a start and an end and in between many chapters. When you turn the last page of the book, you want to be able to say ‘what a great read that was’.

Steve is now back home with his daughters telling him how proud they are. Want to read more about his  journey? Visit his blog –