Travel

Two wheels and the highway

Candida Louis, a Bengaluru-based biker, is on a mission to educate the world about the importance of travel. The 28-year-old is on a solo motorcycle expedition to Sydney.

Along the way, she will cross 10 countries, covering around 28,000 kilometres in 120 days. What started as a desire to explore new cultures has now become a symbol of women’s rights. “My objective is to bring about a change in the mindset of women and look at travel as a route to empowerment. I want to especially reach out to those in semi-urban and rural areas,” says Candida.

Armed with safety gears and riding her Bajaj Dominar motorcycle, she started from Bengaluru in the end of August. In the first leg of her journey, she will cover the East Coast of India and head towards North East where she will ride across Manipur to Myanmar – Thailand – Laos – Vietnam – Cambodia – Thailand – Malaysia – Singapore – Indonesia. She will be doing two island hops, one from Malaysia to Indonesia, and the other from Timor to Darwin. On the final leg, she will ride from Darwin up to Sydney.

‘Skye’ is what Candida has named this journey that is part of the Change your World fund travel project, in honour of biker Alistair Farland, who died riding a motorcycle from Alaska to South America. “I believe that travel and learning about multiple cultures, people and ideas through first-hand experience is the most powerful educational tool,” she says. After quitting her job as a finance professional three years ago, she covered 37,000 kilometres on a motorcycle, solo, covering 22 States in India in 2015-16. Since then, she has pursued her dream and is a full-time motorcycle tour designer and guide.

Over the years, she has led more than 34 customised biking group tours, within India and internationally, having ridden in 14 countries and five continents. With more than 11 years of biking experience, Candida is looking to help Indian bikers widen their horizon and invite them to life-changing journeys around the globe.

Candida says she prefers to keep her journey unplanned and soak in the best things a place has to offer. “Only the first two days of the journey are planned. Now, I will take it as it comes; if I like a place I will stay longer,” she declares.

It’s not the difficult terrains that bother her, she says, but the paperwork that she has to handle while crossing borders. “I find Myanmar and Thailand the most challenging, as there is so much of paperwork involved.”

Brushing aside the common notion that India is unsafe for women travelling solo, the biker says: “I rode for seven months in India alone, and being out there has changed my whole perspective of how people are. It is safe if you know how to handle situations and travel with care.”

Racing ahead

Hailing from Hubli, Candida used to go on motorcycle journeys with her father, who has been her inspiration.

She has also covered the Khardung La Pass (one of the highest motorable roads in the world) and Gurez on the India-Pakistan border.

Her overseas motorcycle expeditions include countries such as South Africa, Swaziland, Indonesia, Cambodia, USA and Australia.

She documents her travel experiences on her Facebook page India On A Motorcycle.


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Printable version | Aug 30, 2022 7:48:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/two-wheels-and-the-highway/article24872430.ece