Life on a Postie Bike.. Around Australia
It’s not hard to understand the attraction of life on the road in Australia. Hundreds of travellers migrate north every winter soaking up the sun, enjoying the distant horizon and gazing in awe at the stars from outback camps. Some of the lucky ones live permanently on the road in luxury mobile homes or campers, with a different mountain or water view every few weeks.
What is more difficult to comprehend is why anyone would want to do it on a Postie Bike and a live in a hiking tent. Jacqui Kennedy has been doing just that for 3 years, travelling over 55,000 kilometres on her trusty CT110 bike called Mo.
“Mo is a 110cc ex-Auspost bike, top speed 75km/h on a good day and he steers like a washing machine,“ says Jacqui, “He has been a faithful companion and like most men, as long as you keep the fluids topped up, he is happy.”
Jacqui has spent most of her life on the road and cannot remember a time when she was not either packing or unpacking. Her mother Dorothy first introduced her to Europe when she was nine years old – living in a Kombi and visiting a myriad of different countries and cultures.
“It was unusual in 1973 for a woman to be travelling alone with three children, but in spite of all the challenges of language and currency and a dodgy VW, mum never revealed her stress or worries to us kids. We learned to be very calm when faced with adversity and that approach serves me well to this day.”
Jacqui has recently undertaken two extensive motorcycle tours of Europe, one in 2006 to introduce her own daughter Jordan to the delights of travel and again in 2012 when she escorted her 88 year old aunt on a Battlefields tour of France for Anzac celebrations.
“Life on the road is second nature and travel is embedded in my DNA.”
So why an underpowered Postie Bike? Jacqui suspects that most people, especially most motorcycle riders, believe that you need big machines with lots of fancy equipment to tackle Australia. “They whizz through each state, seeing only bitumen, complete a circuit in a month or two and “tick” it off their bucket list. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to slowly breathe in as I passed through the landscape.”
Along the way Jacqui has taken hundreds of photographs of unusual letterboxes and now has over 400 in her collection. She and Mo have also been visiting Big Things, ticking off 293 of the 350+ in Australia; her favourite so far being the Big Spider in Urana.
Jacqui turned 50 at the start of her journey and instead of presents, all her friends pitched in and gave her fuel cards for Mo. She left Sydney, travelled down through Victoria across to Adelaide, up the centre to Darwin and then the entire west coast to Perth before the fuel cards ran out.
“I love a birthday present that lasts a whole year.”
On her journey Jacqui has met some amazing people whom she now considers friends for life. When she’s not wild camping in her tent, she’s being adopted off the street, fed and watered and given a real bed. She reflects that “The hospitality extended by strangers who selflessly embrace the stray traveller, never ceases to amaze me. It is the most rewarding aspect of travelling.”
Jacqui also does presentations along the way, speaking to audiences from all walks of life who find her tales inspiring and exciting. She can regularly be found at the Adventure Travel Film Festival but her favourite was when she was invited to the Lions Club Christmas party at the Catalina museum in Lake Boga, Victoria.
“It was all very impromptu. One minute I was admiring the aeroplane and the next thing I know I am doing a performance to a packed theatrette.”
Jacqui’s passion and humour shines through in both her presentations and in her blog. Postie Notes (www.postienotes.com.au) has gained popularity in the motorcycle fraternity and has now moved into the mainstream with thousands of downloads of her free ebook.
The “naked” photograph at the Pinnacles set Facebook alight so Jacqui repeated the experience crossing the Nullarbor and again in Queensland, but it was all for a good cause. #nakedtuesday
“I like pushing the envelope, tilting at windmills and challenging people to think outside their own restrictions. Life is too full of rules made up by beige men.”
You can meet Jacqui at the next Adventure Travel Film Festival in Bright Victoria next February where she will be speaking about her new passion – drone photography.