Exclusive Interview: Meet the Kariukis, the couple that quit their jobs to travel the world on motorbikes
In July 2018, Kenyan biker couple, Wamuyu and Dos, began their journey round the world with hopes to complete it by 2021.
Wamuyu and Dos Kariuki of Throttle Adventures are another dimension of a "ride or die" couple.
Their individual dream to explore the world beyond the Kenyan borders brought them together and cemented their relationship. They both hold records for their personal motorbike adventures around Africa — Dos with the Kenyan record for the smallest bike to do an adventure trip from Kenya to South Africa, and Wamuyu with the Kenyan solo female long-distance rider record.
Soon, they will become the first Kenyan couple to tour the world on motorbikes.
They tell Pulse about the sacrifices they had to make to chase their dream adventure, and what the journey has been like for them so far.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves individually, and then about your journey as a couple?
Dos: My name is Dos Kariuki, formally trained in Finance. My love of adventure started in 2015 when I did a solo ride to South Africa and back. That changed how I saw the world from my own eyes and I wanted more.
Wamuyu: My name is Wamuyu Kariuki previously working in the Oil & Gas industry in Kenya. My first long distance ride was a solo ride through Tanzania crossing border to border. This came after we had decided to travel for the three years but it was my affirmation that I'm definitely for the travel on the motorcycle. I am also a mother of two lovely teens (girl and boy).
What inspired you to quit your jobs and go on this journey?
Our inspiration came from the love of motorcycle travel and the experiences we each had on our solo travel. The fact that we could not fulfill our thirst for travel as we work, we chose to quit and become full time travelers.
What was the reaction like from your family and friends?
We got a lot of support from family and friends. However, there were a lot of concerns too as we all were looking at the unknown. The normal worrying of "what if?" was pretty evident, but even then, they have continued supporting and praying for us.
What are some of the other things you’ve had to sacrifice and what do you hope to gain in the long run?
This called for a lot of sacrifices. The biggest is being away from our children for a long time. We plan for them to travel and meet us in some places but that can never equal to the time we miss. With this we expect to nature very strong people in to their adulthood. They have so far surprised us with how they have been able to plan, budget and manage themselves. The older one just started campus and she has been living on her own for seven months now. The younger one is in form three and stays with family while on holiday.
What are the countries you’ve been to so far?
We have so far traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Antarctica and Argentina. We are crossing to Chile in a few days.
What country have you felt most at home in?
Basically all of them. In all the countries we have received so much love and made amazing friends.
What have your experiences with Immigration been like so far?
We have really been so blessed. We have been listened to and issued with visas so far. This one message to all Africans [is] to get out and travel without too much worry about visas.
When you get into a country or city, what are the plans you have regarding staying? How long do you stay, what sites do you hit, if at all?
When we get to a country, our plan is to utilize our visa time to the maximum. We have so far been getting 90 days visa. We have managed to use 2.5 months in the country and the last days for borders crossing. That last distance. We never make any bookings in advance as we do not want to be fixed to a tight schedule. It’s also hard for us to know as sometimes we like a place and stay longer or get too tired and rest for another day. We, however, use Airbnb, Hostelworld, Couchsurfing and iOverlander as our priority booking sites.
What are some of your safety concerns with your journey? Are your bikes insured, etc?
Big cities come with more risk and so we avoid them as much and move to smaller towns. We also don’t ride at night for safety reasons.
What have been the most exciting parts of the journey? And the challenging parts?
The most exciting bit is the people we meet and interact with. We have made so many friends and met so many wonderful people.
The most challenging has been the drastic weather change. Getting into winter in Namibia and [in] Capetown, then getting, heat, rain and crazy winds. Though we never rode to Antarctica, it was such a huge gear lesson — coming from Africa [with] the right clothing — but we have made it all through.
Do you see yourself getting more sponsorships/partners as time goes by?
We are so far self sponsored. Some of the costs have remained as per budget but others have gone way beyond our budget. Travel is quite a job that pays in terms of experiences but not in monetary value and therefore, yes, we would be honored to have sponsors come on board. We would not only receive the sponsorship but we are in a good position to give back in terms of brand marketing on our social media platforms including YouTube, as well as being able to use some products and review them.
You said in your interview with BBC that this is an ambitious journey. Do you actually think you can make it to all the 193 countries in 3 years?
It’s truly an ambitious journey. We hope to visit 50 countries or as many that can grant us visa and also not overlooking the other travel logistics which may bar us from getting into other countries. Such logistics include length of visa and distance to be covered.
You can follow their story on the hashtag #TheUntoldStoryOfKenya
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