In January 2017, after finishing his studies, Freddie Dew took a different direction in life. He jumped on his motorbike and, without much planning, he started riding in the breeze when the strong winds drove him south.
Freddie Dew: From London to Cape TownMotorcycle Diaries
‘When you pack for a month and spend one year on the road’
Watching his peers moving predictably through the usual steps that follow university, like finding a job, buying a house and settling down, Freddie found himself riding past those familiar milestones. Did he want to define his life so quickly? The mystery of the road lesser travelled appealed far more.
Freddie wanted freedom. He wanted to ride his motorbike through vast and foreign lands. To explore and experience what the rest of the world had to offer his restless spirit.
What is out there? Freddie decided to find out.
Already having the seed for a solo motorcycle travel deeply imbedded, growing that idea with just a Honda Transalp and the courage to start it was just the beginning.
He decided upon an “easy” challenge. The USA. But the chilly November temperatures would prove to be too demanding. Deciding to not bite off more than he could chew, Freddie made a decision to try a short test ride to somewhere less daunting. The chances for sun are much greater the more south you travel, and his eyes wandering over the map, were quickly drawn to Morocco.
Armed with his Transalp and a huge amount of courage he was off!!!
And off he went…
“Months on Youtube researching, watching others live out their dreams, I realised I had to do it for myself. You don't need to be talented to ride a motorbike around the world, you just need the balls to take the first step, the rest will follow. So, with no plan at all…I just started riding."
Freddie took a ferry to Santander, rode down through Spain and Portugal and crossed to the African continent.
A mix of excitement and nervousness spiked his stomach as he stepped on African soil - he had done it. What was once just a dream was now his reality. He was in Africa! Or so he thought… the best was yet to come.
From this point on his idea was to ride four weeks in Morocco, gain experience, ride back to England and prepare for the planned big one in the US. But things were about to take a big turn when Freddie met an enthusiast fellow traveller.
“One day I met a really nice guy from Belgium who was also travelling on two wheels. He assured me I couldn’t see only Morocco. The real Africa was beyond the Moroccan boundaries. He said we needed to go to Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia. At least!! I decided to join him until Gambia and see how I was feeling. If at some point I began to feel unsafe, I would turn around and go home.”
Instead, Freddie kept going. After Gambia, he met a new travel buddy and together they continued riding south until Ghana. Gradually, a one month test trip to Morocco unfolded into a one year trip through 26 countries:
London - Portugal - Spain - Morocco – Mauritania - Senegal - Gambia – Guinea Bissau - Guinea - Sierra Leone - Liberia - Ivory coast - Ghana - (break trip back to London and back to Ghana) - Togo - Benin - Gabon - Congo – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Angola - Namibia - Zambia - Zimbabwe - Mozambique - Swaziland - Lesotho and South Africa!
The real Africa turned out to be amazing!
During the journey Freddie did encounter a few problems with visas at closed borders and even experienced local riots with gunfire. At one time he was kicked out from a village with flying mangos used as ammunition aimed in his direction!!!! Nevertheless, the ups crushed the downs throughout the whole trip.
Sierra Leone’s people taught him the wisdom of living in the now. It amazed him how positive the people of a country with such a violent recent history are. The locals say, “there is a party every single day, the future comes only the day after”.
In Congo’s rainforest he had one of the most spectacular experiences of his life. He walked alone with a guide for three days through the forest to see a gorilla. “It was like Jurassic Park! Very, very scary. But amazing!”, he says.
For Freddie the real African treasures are the people. His experiences have given him a better understanding of deep and strong human interactions. From his co travellers who pushed him further, to the people from different cultures in each country. Seeing the reactions for the children playing on the streets and dancing for him as he passed by on his motorbike; or the ones that were terrified to see his white skin whenever he would take his helmet off.
Freddie spent three more months in South Africa. He fell in love with the country and if you think this was the end of his unexpected adventure, you’re wrong. Freddie decided to continue his trip. At present he is in South America and just about to cross central America and head north. This is starting to look like one of the most spontaneous round-the-world trips to us. We won’t lose track of him and neither should you. You can follow him on @freddiedew.
And remember his advice to you: “Go, go, go, go!”