In the early 2020, before the COVID era, I was on a mission to explore Gokarna on my motorbike.
I found a place to stay in one of the beaches and it was a perfect location to explore and create the trip I was planning. Every day I would take my bike out and explore some remote part of the small Gokarna town and its many beaches.
One such day, I took a dirt side road towards the beach, parked my bike in a safe place and there I found it, at the end of the road – A giant!
A Honda African Twin!
Well, it is definitely a giant motorbike compared to my 150cc bike.
It was safely parked on the side of the road and covered with a sheet. But two side boxes were projecting out from the rear end and I could see a foreign number plate. Since I couldn’t find the owner anywhere nearby, I decided to resort to the virtual world.
There was a sticker on the side box saying @motomogli, pointing to an Instagram account.
I checked the Instagram page and it said ‘exploring the world with my cat, one ride at a time‘.
That was my introduction to Martin– the man, Mogli– the cat and their machine- the motorbike. I then sent a DM in admiration and went ahead to explore the beach.
In a couple of days I almost forgot about this incident and I continued with my Gokarna exploration plans.
One day while I was looking for a place to eat lunch, I found a small shack slightly away from the road, almost hidden from an outsider’s eyes. The only indication that it served food was the pictures of fish and chicken displayed on a small discolored placard.
There was no one eating but anyway I took a risk against the general rule of thumb.
After all I was exploring the area!
While I was eating there, to my surprise, came the same Honda African Twin!
Like a true traveler, Martin was exploring this small place which was probably not even on the google maps. And that was the beginning of our acquaintance.
Over our lunch, I came to know that Martin is from Germany and along with his cat Mogli they were doing a cross-continental motorbike road trip.
Martin found Mogli on a cold evening in March 2017, during one of his motorcycle trips, on the side of the road when she lost her mother in a car accident. Martin took care of the then couple of months old ‘European Shorthair’ and later named her Mogli.
The next day, Martin didn’t want to leave the cat all alone, but he was in the middle of a motorbike trip. So he had to figure out a way.
As an experiment, he took the cat on his bike inside his tank-bag and went for a short ride. After the initial nervousness, Mogli learned how to behave well and travel on a motorcycle staying inside the tank bag.
Thus the journey of ‘motomogli’ started.
The tank bag became the first home for this cat. She would stay inside her home while they move, occasionally come out to see the sights. When the speed increases, she makes her way back to her home and sleeps.
Martin keeps treats for her all the time in the side box of the bike. They both found a way to work things out during the long motorbike journeys.
Though Martin says it is not very easy to travel with a cat around the world.
It was on the 24th of August in 2017, they started their trans-continental motorbike adventure. From Rosenheim, Germany, the epic journey found its way through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Iran and finally they reached UAE. In between these points, they had about 13,000 km and 3.5 months of exciting journey.
In UAE, Martin decided to take a small break in the company of his best friend who lived in Dubai. During this break, Martin did fix his bike, finished paperwork for upcoming countries , found a job, worked for sometime and replenished his travel budget.
After 7 months in Dubai, he was back on the road once again. This time he was headed towards the Himalayas. He explored the mighty Himalayas on the Pakistan side and Indian side. But an unfortunate accident temporarily brought their travel plans to a halt.
Martin and Mogli had to settle in a small cottage at the foothills of Himalayas. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Martin started penning down his experience to create a book.
When their visa was about to expire, they shifted to Pokhara in Nepal and continued the writing.
By the end of 2019, he started travelling and this time towards south India. That is how I met him in the early 2020 in Gokarna. He was proof reading and getting the book ready for printing at that time.
His plan after Gokarna was to go to Mangalore, Bangalore and then to Kerala and then to the southern most point of India.
This is what Martin said about his plan.
“In March 2020 after 31 months away from home, 50,000 km and 16 countries, we’ve reached Kerala, a day’s ride away from the most southern point of the Indian Subcontinent.”
But the world has other plans! Nation wide lock down started due to COVID-19! That meant lock down for Martin and Mogli as well.
So from March 2020, Martin and Mogli is in Kerala living with some lovely Malayali family. When the lock down rules have loosened a bit, they went out for a few trips. Other than that, they were staying in one place surrounded by some lovely people, without knowing what next.
But after a few months of wait, finally on December 21, 2020 when things became slightly normal finally Martin and Mogli were able to reach the southern tip of India, Kanyakumari!
It took them 3 years, 4 months, 16 countries and 53600 km!
Probably the first question that comes to mind when you hear about 3 year long almost contionous travelling is that how do they manage to do that? How are they sustaining such a travel lifestyle.
Here is what Martin’s answer when I asked him this question for this post.
“There is not a single answer to it and I kinda take things as they come. So to begin with I worked 2 jobs in Germany, then 2 jobs in Dubai, when I was in Uttarakhand I wrote a book and now I’m building up my web shop. Some people also support me with donations and then I generally try to live cheap. Best way to travel cheap is to travel slow. “
Now you know one way to create and sustain a long term travel life from Martin’s story.
At the time of writing this post, ie first week of January 2021, Martin and Mogli have started travelling again from Kerala towards Bangalore.
Here are some of the links if you want to know more about their journey.
Book written by Martin based on this journey ( Available in German only at the moment)
All Images are taken from Motomogli Facebook Page
Let me know what do you think about the journey of Martin and Mogli in the comments.
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