Ekaterina Dubanevich is the very brave motorcyclist who decided two years ago to go around the world on a bike. The first of the Belarusians, by the way. Behind Russia, Central Asia, Japan, Australia, the USA, Latin America ... And there should be Africa and Europe. Due to the pandemic, the girl temporarily interrupted the trip and returned to Belarus. We took the opportunity to ask Katya questions about the natural beauties she saw, the stories she heard, and whether she found what she was looking for. Each of her answers is like a new twist on an exciting series.
“Drive around the USA is very comfortable and pleasant”
Considering 77 days of quarantine in Argentina and two days on the way home, the total duration of the trip was 659 days. Excluding quarantine - 580 days. The total mileage is 105 thousand km. These are five continents, 22 countries. She crossed the equator three times. The most distant points on the route are the city of El Calafate (Argentina) and the Buryat village of Mukhorshibir (Russia). The distance between them is 19 650 km.
- Traveling around the USA on a motorcycle is extremely simple and enjoyable. You can purchase an annual pass to national parks for $ 80 and travel the whole country far and wide. There is literally everything: a majestic ocean, lush rivers, snowy mountains, hot deserts, crystal clear lakes, wet caves and geysers, architecture of all historical periods, food of all the peoples of the world, kindness and mutual assistance, a little crazy and dangerous. And also the great power and beauty of nature.
I started my way across the USA in March 2019, when snow still lay in the park of the tallest trees on the planet - sequoia, and the road leading to the Grand Canyon was covered with ice, and it itself had snow plumage. The temperature at night was –2–5 degrees Celsius.
The further I moved south, the warmer it became. In the Petrified Forest (Petrifide Forest National Park, Arizona) and the Rainbow Desert, as I called it (Painted Desert in the same state), it was already very hot.
There I was fortunate enough to meet the native Navajo tribe - Jacob. He is a very modern guy, maintains an Instagram account, posting photographs of jewelry that he makes manually with his family. The whole family works on national souvenirs and household items, and once a month, Jacob is allowed to come to the tourist center and sell all this beauty. We talked for a long time, in parting, I gave him the flag of Belarus, and he gave me a copper ring with an eagle symbol.
I really enjoy doing educational work. Few people know about Europe and the Russian-speaking part of our continent about Belarus. In the best case, they will say: “We know, we know that you are part of Russia”, and more often they will exclaim joyfully “Rus-Rus!” Without going into details.
In the south of the USA, the Porcelain Desert with fine white sand (New Mexico) and the city of Albuquerque (the same state), which got into my route thanks to the series “Breaking Bad”, are especially remembered. Having traveled to the places of filming, I looked almost the whole city. Found Jesse Pinkman’s home, drug lab, etc.
The Hus diner was filming the series “Better Call Saul” (prequel “Breaking Bad”). At first they were not allowed to take pictures, but then they carefully looked at me, “Henry” (Catherine’s motorcycle. - Approx. Onliner) and allowed me to take a couple of shots. By the way, in the coordinates of the place where the money was supposedly buried (Walter White indicated it), there is the Albuquerque film studio.
In the US there is an interesting service for the "adaptation / adoption" of roads. You take patronage over a section of the road - remove garbage, cut grass, and in return you are given the right to install a sign with any inscription. Advertising cannot be placed. Most often they write “In memory of ...”, but there were also inscriptions “What now?”, “Think about the family”, “Why so fast”, “Free forever”, etc.
The only dangerous situation occurred near Miami. I slowly drove up to the traffic light, where several rows of cars stopped. Out of habit, I tracked the situation in the rearview mirror. When I looked again, I saw that a black car, standing on an edge, was sliding right at me, like in a Hollywood blockbuster.
The reaction saved: I unscrewed the gas knob and drove sharply five meters forward. The car stopped a meter from my license plate, showering my jacket with fragments of plastic and glass. It turned out that the young driver did not calculate the speed and knocked out another car. With other eyewitnesses rushed to the rescue. The guy miraculously survived - there was not a scratch on him.
In general, Miami Beach (Florida) left an aftertaste of inexpensive show-ups and rented sports cars.
I traveled in a circle through the southern states and returned to Los Angeles through the north (having been to 23 states). There I again grabbed the bird of happiness by the tail and was able to observe a rather rare phenomenon. Bonneville Salt Race Track (Utah) was completely covered in water after heavy rains and sparkled in the sun with a mirror surface, reflecting the sun, blue sky and clouds.
Very often I met our guys living in the United States or on business trips there. It is always joyful to chat with fellow countrymen on another continent.
“Comandante is still very respected in Cuba”
- In Cuba, you met with the son of Che Guevara. What did you tell?
- The meeting with the youngest son of Che Guevara, who, like his father, is called Ernesto, was for me an absolute surprise and a pleasant surprise. Our consul in Cuba, Oleg Sheydin, and Ambassador Alexander Alexandrov invited me when the story of the theft of documents in Mexico happened. I flew to Havana the day before my birthday. The embassy staff arranged a meeting with Ernesto as a gift, with whom we immediately started talking as old friends: he is also a motorcyclist and organizes motorcycle tours to Harley-Davidson around the island.
Before that, I walked around Havana for several days and was faced with the not very pleasant behavior of the locals - they whistle after the women, shout compliments loudly and try to drag them to a nearby cafe.
When I traveled with Ernesto through the narrow streets of Havana, everything was different. The son of the commande is very well known in Cuba, welcomed and respected by his companions and guests. Now he is engaged in the construction of a museum center dedicated to his father.
Che Guevara died when Ernesto was very young, and he does not remember him well. The son of a famous revolutionary showed me photographs, gave me some books and the famous beret with a star.
By the way, several years ago, at the invitation of the Harley-Davidson club, Ernesto was in Minsk. He says he liked everything: the city is clean, people are nice, the food is delicious.
- We met Neil and Patricia at the conference of motorcycle travelers, where I talked about a trip around the world. We immediately felt a spiritual kinship, although we belong to completely different nations and cultures.
This wonderful couple hails from Britain. All their life together, and this is more than 40 years old, they rode motorbikes. Having retired, they decided to go on a big trip on their own motorhome. We bought a military truck in excellent condition, completely redesigned the chassis, built a residential body and developed a route for South America. All conversations and dreams were just about that.
Аnd then ... It happened that it is impossible to predict, that which destroys dreams without warning. Patricia was diagnosed with cancer. This was followed by a long 2.5 years of struggle for life. But they won! They sold the house and all the property, leaving only their truck, living with hope and faith in the best.
We started from Montevideo (Uruguay), drove to Ushuaia (Argentina), celebrated New Year in a great company and set off along Carreter Austral (the famous road to Chile) to the north. On the way we picked up two hitchhikers.
It rained for a week without stopping, the carriageway became soft, the coating turned into a viscous liquid ... Trying to stretch out on a narrow road with a bus, the truck capsized and flew into a ditch.
The girl hitchhiker broke her head and lost her memory, the rest received minor injuries. The truck was badly damaged. A tank with water supplies broke through the control panel. In addition, when the car was taken out of the cuvette, the chassis was damaged.
Further worse. Neela was taken to the police as the alleged culprit of the accident with dire consequences. The end of the dream story? How would you feel? What were you thinking about?
But Patricia and Neil are amazing optimists and attract the same. The injured hitchhiker was able to recover, the charges were dropped, the emotionless police even invited the Briton to dinner. And five months later, the truck was restored.
And here we are together in Ecuador. New adventures, meetings and love that conquers everything.
I’m really used to riding solo, I’m so calmer and more comfortable. There is no need to be responsible for fellow travelers. Therefore, I traveled all the way alone, with the exception of one month.
At the very beginning of my trip to Argentina, I met a German traveler. Patrick also turned out to be a motorcyclist. He stayed at the same hostel as me. We chatted for five minutes, and I drove on.
However, it was not possible to go far. First, a tripod with a camera was knocked down by a gust of wind and the lens shattered. Then the motorcycle headlights stopped working and the USB connector on the phone flashed, the battery of which began to run out quickly. Then a downpour began, during which the shock absorber bracket broke. And to top it off, the registration mark was lost.
I got terribly upset at the hostel of the next city on the way (Bariloche) and got stuck there for a week. And a few days later I noticed a familiar face. It was Patrick in company with an Argentinean acquaintance. For a couple of days we explored the surroundings. Then they left, and I remained to wait until the lens was repaired.
After a forced technical stop, she crossed the border and drove onto the famous Chilean road Carreter Australia. She deserves all those flattering epithets that she is bestowed upon.
And when I returned to Argentina (I had to cross the Argentine-Chilean border more than once), I met Patrick again. He found himself in a situation similar to the one I had previously been in: his 125 cc Honda broke down and he was waiting for a spare part.
Meeting once again, we laughed and decided that all these delays in the way for a reason. As a result, together we went to Ushuaia (Argentina). The road was not easy: the routes along which we followed were known for squally winds, long sections without refueling, and a vast pump (in our opinion, the steppe).
We reached Ushuaia, which is called the edge of the earth (Fin del Mundo), and then returned to Buenos Aires. This is where our journey together ended. Patrick flew an evacuation flight to Germany, and I was left to wait for an export flight to Russia.
“On the fifth day I was informed that I was subject to deportation”
- One of the main difficulties of traveling around the world is the need to interact with the global bureaucratic system. Each country, even the smallest, in its own way regulates tourism, the issuance of visas and the process of entry and import of a vehicle.
For example, in order to get to Costa Rica, you must have on hand a fresh original certificate of absence of a criminal record and not being in the criminal investigation department, with an apostille and translation into Spanish.
And in Colombia, the length of stay is equal to the duration of the visa and begins to count from the date of issue. It is precisely because of this that a problem arose with a possible deportation. I got a visa to this country in Mexico City. The journey to it took longer than I expected. The ship on which I crossed from Panama runs every three weeks. As a result, a stamp on entry into the country dated September 20, and the visa expired after six days.
Crossing the country in such a time is possible, but pointless. Therefore, I immediately began to find out in the migration department how to extend my stay or visa. In Cartagena (the fifth largest city in Colombia) no one knew what to do with me, and I was sent to the capital, Bogota. With the help of my Spanish-speaking friend from Hungary, we tried for seven (!) Hours to get at least some information from the migration staff, and then from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nobody could clearly answer our questions. As a result of a long walk to all authorities, it became clear that no extension exists and it is necessary to apply for a new visa, which I did.
In fact, the period for considering a visa application is five days, my term in Colombia ended in four. I really believed in justice and a condescending attitude towards tourists. Do you think they reviewed the application in four days? Of course not...
On the fifth day I was informed that I was illegally in Colombia and subject to immediate deportation. The motorcycle was still at customs in Cartagena.
I won’t go into details about how much time, nerves and money it took to figure this situation out, but I got a new visa, traveled all over Colombia and forever remembered that bureaucracy is the most terrible mechanism that puts sticks in the wheels of travelers around the world.
Until the entire border crossing system is automated and robots start working, everything will depend on the human factor.
I crossed the Chilean-Argentine border ten times, not to mention other countries and regions. Travel time varied from ten minutes to six hours.
Somewhere I was photographed, treated to coffee and cookies, rejoiced at stickers and stories, and somewhere I was forced to unpack almost all the contents of wardrobe cases and bags. Deliberately spoiled blank pages of the passport, making stamps in the middle of the pages allotted for visas (this happened in Honduras).
But I came to the conclusion that at any border the best strategy is a broad smile, goodwill and easy naivety. We are all human beings and get the emotions we give away.
“They robbed four times, and once I faced armed robbery”
- A year ago, the circumnavigation of the world almost had to be interrupted due to the theft of documents. Was that story continued? And have you changed your strategy after the incident in Mexico?
- Having pulled myself together, I realized that nothing could be decided by the nurses, and began to act actively. I was in touch with the embassy, exploring options for obtaining a return certificate. In parallel with a local motorcyclist, she turned to the police, filed a theft statement, posted an ad on social networks and on the radio, distributed paper pieces with a promise of reward for any information.
They sat in ambush until the morning, talking with drug addicts, alcoholics and regulars at nearby establishments and the beach.
Three days later, the owner of the cafe where I was having dinner got in touch, confusedly explaining that a thief had come to him and wanted $ 600 for my documents. They bargained up to $ 200, and the next day I had my battered Belarusian passport again.
After that, I became much less likely to stay in wild places, trying to choose organized campsites or hostels. And I began to believe in miracles!
- You were robbed four times, the motorcycle was damaged several times, and once you had to face an armed robbery. You did not have time to disappoint in people? Many rascals met along the way?
- Absolutely not disappointed. According to my feelings, there are less than one percent of villains all over the world, and troubles often lead to meetings with completely amazing people and luck in a completely different sphere. Moreover, robberies and thefts are a rarity in our region, we are horrified and do not understand, and in Latin America this is unpleasant, but commonplace. There will always be those who work to support themselves and their families, and those who find it easier to take from another. It's just that the scales are different ...
- Blitz. Which country seemed the most dangerous, and which one the most comfortable? Where else would you return, and what do you want to forget as a nightmare?
“Traveling taught me to avoid extremes in judgment.” In any situation, country, person, there are always several sides, and you can not hang up labels and clearly scold or praise. In general, Japan, Australia, Europe and the United States are much calmer and safer than in Mexico, Central and South America.
But no one is safe from troubles in the most statistically safe city, and there is no need to constantly live in fear, traveling to countries with an ambiguous reputation.
I want to return to Australia (I have not yet been to its western part), Mexico (to celebrate the Day of the Dead) and Argentina (to once again be inspired by glaciers, mountains and wildlife, almost untouched by humans).
“Quarantine and confined space have become a test”
- Two years ago, when you announced your intention to make a trip around the world, the mood was over-optimistic and fighting. Has something changed since then?
- I became more calm, tolerant of negativity and began to better understand myself and the world around me. When you study the cultures of different nations, your own horizons become richer and more extensive. It is much easier to cope with any life difficulties. I believe that there are no hopeless situations. It just takes more time or resources to find solutions. One of the features of post-Soviet culture is the rigor in interpreting the behavior or appearance of other people.
We are used to denouncing things that we don’t understand, without thinking about what we can hurt someone. I got rid of this habit, and in my soul it became cleaner and more pleasant.
- And what happened at the end of March? Facebook had two very sad posts in a row, which is unusual for peppy reports from across the ocean.
“The quarantine and the enclosed space have become a test for me and hundreds of other adventure and freedom lovers. When you constantly move forward, and you are locked up, fettering all nature, it’s hard to adapt to this. I understand the seriousness of the pandemic in the world and the need for action, but I was not able to maintain a cloudless, optimistic mood. Now in Minsk it is much easier for me to breathe, you can relax a bit and recover.
“And then they asked me: did you not know that this was the boss of the local drug cartel?”
- Often you write in social networks that you are lucky and that someone is watching over you. What is it about?
- I joke that I have a special talent - to get into trouble, and then easily and naturally get out of them. If we consider every visually dangerous / complex / unpleasant incident that happened to me, then after it always follows a series of events, as a result of which everything is resolved in the best way.
For example, a fall in the mountains in Mexico. I was traveling from one small town to another through a beautiful canyon. Dirt-sand road, with stones, temperature +43 degrees Celsius. Having traveled half the way, I was tired and made a mistake on the rise - I hooked a cobblestone on the bottom. The loaded motorcycle plopped down my leg, simultaneously tucking the second. On adrenaline, I pulled it out from under the coffer, ripping off my skin, and I couldn’t stand up on my own anymore. Dizzy, and pain shock prevented control of the body. I crawled under a tree and began to wait for a random car. I have a satellite device with insurance included, when I press the SOS button, a rescue helicopter should fly in, but the situation was not so critical.
After 40 minutes, a car appeared heading for the city. People from her promised to send help. Soon I heard the roar of an ATV - two men were heading towards me. One of them was in a T-shirt with the inscription “Police”, and the second was a healthy man two meters tall, with a gold chain around his neck. He easily picked up my motorcycle and rode it back to the city, and the policeman loaded me on the ATV and rode after him. Six armed men were waiting for us in the city, who escorted me to the hospital, then took me to a hotel and showed me in which cafe daily meals would be organized for me.
They treated me like a princess! And soon it became clear why. The hotel owner casually inquired: “Don't you know what kind of people these are?” “No, but what?” “The man in orange is the boss of the local drug cartel, and the rest are his assistants. They decided that you are not a gringo and that you can be helped. ”
When I was able to walk and drive a motorcycle on my own, they helped me bring my luggage to the normal road, fed me last, and wished me luck.
There have been many such cases, so yes, I believe that I have a guardian angel who protects and looks after me, giving me the opportunity to taste the bitter taste of failure and giving me a delicious dessert afterwards.
“Should every woman have a little red dress?” Is this a fetish? Why so many photos with him?
- My red dress is not at all small (there should be a smiley face). Purchased for $ 5 at a second-hand in New York. Yes, it has become the most popular accessory in the pictures. I have four more dresses, but everyone especially likes the red one.
It's easy to lose femininity on the road. You drive a motorcycle, get covered with road dust, climb mountains, carry heavy luggage, sleep in a tent. With all this, it is difficult to maintain good appearance and hygiene. But I'm trying.
I like to be a girl - despite the circumstances, put my hair in order, do not forget about manicures and pedicures. Because of this, dresses appeared in the wardrobe - motorcycle equipment gives a sense of security, but does not help in maintaining beauty.
“The odometer on a motorcycle is reset to zero twice”
- How is Henry doing (as a motorcyclist calls her BMW F650GS. - Approx. Onliner)? As I understand it, the odometer has already counted two hundred thousandth mark?
- “Henry” is doing great. I bought it with a range of 33 thousand km. To date, the odometer has already “zeroed” two times and now shows 7 thousand km. As they say, grandmother went to the store for bread ...
- A lot of posts on your Instagram are about breakdowns. Is it bored?
- It seems like a lot. If you recall all the breakdowns in two years, then taking into account the almost daily operation, the motorcycle worked perfectly. And what is very important, it is not crammed with electronics, like most completely new bikes, so it is easy to fix it. No problem finding parts.
In Patagonia (Argentina) I saw a lot of motorcycles in 2017-2019 on services that you can’t do anything with, because the level of skill of the mechanics does not allow them to be repaired, and parts can go from Europe or Japan up to three to five months.
- How did you service the motorcycle and solve problems with technical malfunctions?
- My ex-husband is an excellent mechanic, and he advised me on all issues that arose. I fixed minor breakdowns on my own, and for major ones I turned to BMW branded centers or to mechanics according to the recommendations of local motorcyclists.
Sometimes I agreed that I would do everything myself, but under the supervision of a specialist. As it was, for example, in Denver. There I met Woody Witte, America’s finest spokesman on wheels. Woody is a legend: he is 78 years old and has made thousands of wheels for travelers from around the world, athletes and just motorcyclists. Another area that Woody leads is the manufacture of mechanisms that allow people with disabilities to ski, surf and any other activity. It all started with a passion for motor boats, although Woody's parents wanted to see him as a lawyer or a doctor.
You can make a movie about the history of his life. Born into the family of a German engineer in Munich in 1942. During the war, his father was sent to Poland. In January 1945, Woody's mother took him and his sister and managed to catch the last train going to Germany. The route, which usually took eight hours, stretched for eight weeks - the railway was partially destroyed. With her, the woman managed to take only documents and several silver knives and forks.
We got there successfully and almost missed each other with my father, who went to the station. He wanted to catch the very train on which they arrived. Woody's mother is a believer and was very upset that she could not find her favorite Bible. But miracles happen in our world. A few years later, the family moved to America, and in 1950 a parcel arrived from Woody's grandmother from Germany. It contained an old family Bible and a story about how, five years after the war, a Soviet officer knocked on the door and brought the very book with the address of the Woody family on one of the pages.
When he told me this story, his eyes sparkled with tears. In the end, Woody said that this way one person can change his attitude to an entire nation, and he gratefully recalls this noble military man.
But I was distracted. Let's get back to motorcycle repair. Initially, I planned to check only the front wheel. However, Woody advised to align the back as well. Seeing my wrinkled nose, he looked at me and said, they say, if the issue is cost, then I can do half the work myself under his supervision. For the first time in her life, she removed and put back both wheels, flanged tires and learned all the secrets from maestro Woody. After adjusting the knitting needles and all the magic manipulations, my “Henry” rode as well as ever before.
I have a very measured pace of movement, since I am almost not attached to dates. Only the first section in Russia was tense, when at the customs in Moscow for five days the equipment was delayed and the road had to be driven in order to catch a ferry from Vladivostok. Then I spent four days in a row driving more than 17 hours a day and drove 1,000 kilometers a day.
In this mode, of course, we are not talking about pleasure, but in the future everything was rich and interesting. At any moment I can stop and not go anywhere, planning and changing the route, turning onto small paths or spending the night on the shore of a lake not indicated on the map.
- Which stretch of the road was the most stressful?
- There were difficult days and difficult routes. In Australia, these are sandy “washing boards” and fords after heavy rains, in Costa Rica and Nicaragua there are mountain roads to volcanoes, in Mexico there is an abundance of “sleeping policemen” of all shapes and sizes, in Argentina there are narrow rocky paths and a strong wind.
- We have wonderful roads! Just like the driving culture. Of course, compared with Japan or Australia, we are not so attentive, polite and accurate in relation to each other and the rules of the road, but if we take Latin America or Central Asia, we are very lucky with the quality of the roads and with the neighbors on the roadway.
“I don’t go to wild places, so at least once in a couple of days I’m looking for a gas station for truckers, a hostel or equipped camping. Always with you a tent, a gas burner and everything you need for an overnight stay in a camp in any weather. I mainly use the iOverlander application, which works worldwide. Sometimes I ask local residents for advice or just look for a forest clearing away from people.
“I don’t have regular sponsors, papa oligarch or secret inheritance”
- In addition to building skills and practical details related to servicing a motorcycle, I gained the ability to invent dishes from what is available and repair anything using improvised means. The ingenuity allows you to search for non-standard solutions in almost any situation, and having an adhesive tape, a rope, a pair of clamps and a WD-40, you become almost invulnerable.
Hiking fell in love with all my heart. One of the most vivid impressions was the climb to the Akatenango volcano in Guatemala. Next to it is the fire-breathing Fuego, which refers to unpredictable volcanoes. In normal mode, he puffs and spits out a little lava and hot steam every 5-7 minutes, and in 2018 he began to actively erupt. Then 159 people died. Akatenango is his sleeping and absolutely harmless fellow, from whom I was lucky to watch a unique phenomenon all night: a powerful thunderstorm cut the sky with flashes, and several times lightning struck directly into the mouth of a fiery volcano.
Very often people in all countries of the world invited me to visit, offered overnight, treated them with delicious home-made food. This hospitality is breathtaking and tears come to my eyes. With many you part already friends forever.
I don’t conduct bookkeeping, but I’ll tell you about the main sources of finance and the search for funds to continue the journey.
Firstly, own savings. Before the start of the world tour, I worked as a leading marketer in the field of agricultural machinery at Belagro. All earned invested in training or put off. Visas to Australia, the USA and Japan were paid, seven vaccinations were made, Carnet de passage en doune was issued, Vladivostok - Tokyo and Tokyo - Melbourne tickets were bought, new tires were bought and sent to Vladivostok, and many useful little things were purchased. It was possible to accumulate about 3000 at. e. in equivalent.
Secondly, work. I used every opportunity. For obvious reasons, I will not name the countries, but I will tell you about professions and income level.
In countries with a high standard of living, earnings reached $ 100-150 per day. I worked for a total of six months from the entire trip.
online translator for English speaking friends;
painter (smart work: dusty, labor-consuming, excellent team, invaluable experience);
handyman on a swimming pool construction + gardening and cleaning (heavy physical labor, good pay, interesting employer);
cleaning lady (the most exhausting, nervous, sometimes absolutely thankless job, six days a week from morning to night, but with decent pay).
Where to look for a job? Everywhere. Communities of Russian immigrants in social networks, ads on the streets, polls all around. If you really want and are ready to work hard, and not to beg, then you will succeed. If you can work remotely, agree. You can also work for free in exchange for food and shelter.
Thirdly, sponsorship. I sent out over a hundred letters. Alas, the majority does not know such a country as Belarus, and does not consider our market interesting for moving through the ambassador. But thirteen companies believed in me by offering a product partnership (provision of spare parts, equipment, equipment), and two companies - one-time financial support. All these fifteen organizations took part in the branding of motorcycle equipment.
Fourth, the donation system. I myself supported many travelers before the start of the round-the-world trip, and that's why I decided to make such a page on the site. In each country I carry out the action "Live card in exchange for absolutely any size donation." I believe that this is a mutually beneficial exchange, I am incredibly grateful to all my friends, family and many who are not familiar with yet for helping us and Henry to move forward.
"I have been bitten by mosquitoes since Japan"
Many states allow entry if you have a “prestigious” US, Canadian or Schengen visa. Legislation on visa issues in each country is constantly changing, and ideally you need to have a list of documents that will be needed in advance. It is better to bring copies of all-all documents in different languages and photographs with you so as not to run around looking for a photo kiosk. You should also connect online banking with the ability to receive an extract from cards, preferably in English, and store the “fireproof” amount there for demonstration in embassies and in case of emergency. You can always change directions to visa-free countries or ask for help from our embassies abroad, they will help to understand the features of obtaining visas.
No one further than the CIS knows what the Belarusian driver’s license should look like, so they usually twist it in their hands for a long time, examine it and return it. I'm a little tricky with the police, but you need to understand where this can be done, and where such behavior is fraught with problems.
In Latin America, when the police stopped me, I negatively turned my head to the question of whether I know Spanish or English, and began to quickly chatter in Russian, blurry with a wide smile (no aggression or rudeness).
Most often, the policeman is tired of listening to this - he does not know what to do with me, and in the end he waves his hand and lets go.
- But no one found fault with the plastic number (in Argentina, the original Henry number was lost. - Note Onliner)?
- The same situation as with the certificate. Few even know our country, not to mention how our license plates should look. There were no problems, just smiles and wishes for a good journey.
And then a coronavirus happened to the planet. Very upset that had to be interrupted? And why didn’t you want to wait for the end of quarantine in Argentina?
- Of course I was upset! I had only a small segment in Morocco and Europe, and in May I wanted to enter Minsk on a motorcycle, and I had to sit locked up for 77 days, leave the motorcycle and fly home. To date, Argentina is one of the countries with the longest quarantine in the world. On the day before departure, their president again extended the isolation regime. It was officially announced that there would be no transport links until September, and sitting there is not so cheap: you have to rent a house, pay for the Internet, buy food, and most importantly - this is really strict quarantine. With fines of up to € 1,500, real prison sentences for violations and the inability to go beyond the nearest store or pharmacy. Therefore, I decided that at home I would be more comfortable taking into account the general uncertainty in the development of the situation. I filed a notarized power of attorney for my friend in Argentina so that he could send Henry to any country without my presence, and I plan to reunite with the motorcycle in the fall.
“I'll try to collect notes in a book”
“What did you miss most?” Through the air, pine forest, people, mineral water?
- By parents, relatives and friends, of course. Although nature pleased. At the very first gas station (Katya was returning from Moscow to Minsk by minibus. - Note Onliner), when the smell of a pine forest hit my nose, I ran to the edge of the asphalt, touched the wet leaves of a dandelion, caught a frog, stroked a pine bark.
Belarus met me with a blue sky, bright sun and warmth. Now I am getting used to changing time zones and enjoy the comfort of my home.
- But still, for the sake of what did you start all this and did you achieve what you wanted? No disappointment?
- My trip had a lot of prerequisites, questions and goals. Exploring the world, exploring other cultures, searching for yourself, a note of feminism, a desire to share knowledge about our country, testing physical abilities, achieving harmony, gaining new skills, understanding others, unlocking potential and much, much more. I am happy that I decided and went all the way to the end.
- What now? Will you write a book? Make a movie? Talk about exotic countries in schools? Do you plan to stay in Belarus?
- I have time until the fall to think about the future and make a decision, because there is still so much unknown in the world ... Or maybe I will return to Minsk on a motorcycle and begin to get used to a sedentary lifestyle. In the meantime, I will try to collect all my notes in a book, because I have something to share with readers. I also plan to organize a meeting where I will tell you as much as possible about adventures and answer all questions.
Photo: Ekaterina Dubanevich, Vlad Borisevich