My name is Gabriel Bolton, and at the time of writing I`m 26. I hope to be closer to 30 by the time I return to England, if I return at all. Time will tell.
I was born in Bristol, England, and grew up (physically if not otherwise) in a village sized city called Wells. After studying Mechanical Engineering and doing a years work with an Aerospace design company in Portsmouth, I returned to Somerset.
Apart from the social aspects of my life, passions are motorcycles, travel and creating things - engineering I guess.
The first motorcycle I owned, I bought in India on my gap year, when I was 18. I inherited some cash, and against my parents wishes (and my better judgement?), went into a showroom and bought a new Royal Enfield.
I've travelled quite a bit for my age I guess, and have been (often with two wheels) around
S.E Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) and
Most of these trips have involved bikes in some way.
My father and I went to Canada a few days after I passed my test, borrowed two bikes, and travelled extensively.
I do all my own work on bikes, and have owned about 30. Some bought in boxes and made road worthy. Almost a business buying/selling at times.
My love for bikes has come primarily from my father, who has been involved with bikes for a long long time. He's helped me a lot with bikes whenever I've needed it.
A story I find myself telling over and over on this trip, is one of growing up without a car, but with a motorcycle and sidecar as family transport. My sister and I in the two seater sidecar, and parents on the bike. My Dad would make (often from scratch, from metal or wood) a new sidecar on a pretty much yearly basis. I didn`t think this was so cool at the time, but now...
Before leaving for this trip I was a design engineer for a small local engineering company, and I'm giving up a secure and rewarding career in order to do this trip. I told my boss about the plan of this trip in my interview almost 3 years ago, and he has been extremely supportive in this respect, and done a lot to help, in many ways.
There's a motorcycle overland community that's played a very important part in this whole project, called Horizons Unlimited (link here). Last summer Charlotte and I organised a weekend camping meet for this group, and had 70 odd (as in approximately) bikers for the get together. Not sure how this is relevant!
For me the trip really started well before I left England. I am always optimistic with the projects I launch myself into, and I set the bar pretty high with the work I planned to do on the Honda.
This stage of the trip became life consuming. It may be hard to see how, but I spent hundreds of hours working on my bike before I left. On occasions I was working 15 hour days at work, then working on the bike until past midnight. One of my fears at the time was that I would make a stupid mistake simply because I was exhausted.
I had set a leaving date, a week after doing the Bath half Marathon, and I was keen not to put the date back. In retrospect, it would have done me and everyone else a favour if I had delayed departure by a week.