During his 1992/1993 Australian adventure, Sjaak had tasted freedom a half year long! Being back in the Netherlands, he kept daydreaming of travelling the world. “Once in my life I HAVE to do this”, he told himself. Unnoticed, this dream already had become a decision for quite some time.
23 May 1995, the moment was there. Resigned from his job at the potato trader, leased out his farming land, abandoned the trailer he lived in and survived a heavy farewell party, he swopped his birthplace Maashees for the wide world. Leaving on the same Fireblade, he had in his head a list of countries which he definitely wanted to visit.
|● Russia, because of the enormous distances and because
he wanted to experience how our previous so-called
enemy in reality was.
|● Japan, to ride the bike back to the factory.|
|● Indonesia, the nostalgic country where foreign
motorcycles over 400cc were not admitted.
|● Australia, to visit old friends.|
|● New Zealand, because of its extreme beautiful nature
and the many, many winding roads.
|● Nepal, the roof of the world.|
|● Israel, to see and feel how they live with continuous
threat among Arabs.
|● Egypt, for all its ancient culture.|
Between these ‘target’ countries he drew a line and a roughly route plan was born. That such a trip actually would not bring him ‘around the world’ was of no interest at all.
He called it, “To the other end and back.” Clear was that it certainly shouldn’t become a race. This was an once in his lifetime experience and for every country he planned to take the time needed. That’s why he expected to be about 2 - 2½ years on the road.
It became 3 years, primarily caused by the feeling that he was not ready to go ‘home’ when he was in Egypt, the last country on his list. Sjaak wanted more, but where to go from there?
He then met Ko van O., a Dutch guy on a Yamaha Ténéré, on his way to South Africa.
Ah!, I could do that as well, he thought and travelled on.
Once arrived in South Africa he could bear the thought of going back.
He took his bike on a plane to Italy and rode the last bit back to the Netherlands.
After 3 years and 1 week, 100,000mi/160.000km through 39 countries, he arrived there on 30 May 1998.