How did we get the idea to do this trip?
In 1998 we went attended the BMWMOA National Rally held in Missoula, Montana. At this rally, attended by about 4,000 BMW motorcycle enthusiasts, a number of seminars were put on; everything from how to do an oil change on your bike to how to travel around the world. We attended two excellent seminars that got us thinking. The first was by Helge Peterson, a photographer from Norway, who travelled around the world on his BMW R80G/S for 10 years and presented a wonderful, multi-media slide show. The pictures were amazing and the stories even better. Ekke ended up buying his book, Ten Years on Two Wheels. The second seminar was put on by Susan and Grant Johnson of Victoria, B.C. who also had travelled around the world but two-up on a BMW R80G/S. While their presentation wasn’t quite as slick as Helge’s it certainly got us thinking.

Back Home
With visions of world travel dancing in our heads we dreamed of perhaps doing it ourselves one day. However, both Helge and the Johnsons had made an incredible commitment by selling everything they owned to finance their trips and then work abroad while on their journeys. We didn’t think that we could make a commitment like that since we both had jobs that we really enjoyed and lived in a beautiful home just west of Calgary, Alberta. It sure is nice to have the security of a pension plan!

Possibilities
Later that year we both found that our respective employers, the Calgary Board of Education for Audrey and the City of Calgary for Ekke, offered a self-funded leave of absence plan. With the plan the employer deducts a certain amount from your salary before taxes and puts it into a trust account. Then during your leave you are paid out from the trust account and you have a job waiting for you when you get back. Plus you can buy back your pension. All of a sudden we had the opportunity to indulge in our dream trip without making the incredible sacrifices that the others had made. We could even rent out our house to cover the cost of the mortgage and not lose any equity while we travelled.

Where to?
While a trip around the world would sure be exciting it did sound a little daunting. To dip our toes into the exciting world of motorcycle world travel we decided to go somewhere reasonably civilised; Europe. There are so many things to see and do in Europe that we knew that we could easily fill a year of adventure. Europe is also close to Africa and Asia if we need more adventure.

Favourite Links
www.horizonsunlimited.com Grant and Susan Johnson’s invaluable resource for world motorcycle travellers
www.globeriders.com Helge Peterson’s home page
www.ultimatejourney.com Chris and Erin Rattay were inspired at the same BMW rally as us but have taken the big leap into world travel
www.bmwmoa.org The home page for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America club

Contact Information
Please write! We would love to hear from you. No guarantees when we’ll be able to respond but we hope to make it to an internet café on a regular basis.
Ekke61@Hotmail.com for Ekke
ATAllenspach@Hotmail.com for Audrey

Who Are We?
Audrey is a teacher in the Calgary public board of education and before the leave of absence was teaching a grade 2/3 split. She has been teaching for about twelve years. Ekke has been a transportation engineer with the City of Calgary for about twelve years, working in the Development Section of Transportation Planning before the leave of absence.

The Motorcycles
Ekke’s bike is a 1989 BMW R100GS

Audrey on her bike, a 1999 BMW F650ST