All posts by TravelBug

Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: The 100th mile

Sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-three. Gasping, I counted our ski-steps up the massive wall of snow, pausing to rest at the sixty-third, one ski facing up the mountain and the other planted firmly behind, keeping the weight of our sleds from dragging us down the mountainside. The harness creaked with the 150 lb. sled held on by two straps at my hips. A colossal bank of snow looming overhead grew larger as we toiled upward, its fake summits causing a sigh every few hundred feet. Shadowy indentations and undulations marked crevasses threatening to swallow us up—or gulp us down—at the base of the pass.   Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: The 100th mile

Alcan to Ocean Expedition: Onward ho, cheesemongers!

If the Greeks ever sculpted statues of athletic women, Lynne would have been their muse. She meticulously applied sunblock to her alabaster skin, standing sleek and strong in the snow. She looked built for this, her finely chiseled but feminine arms enviable and each movement made with grace and purpose.

I peed my pants that morning. If it hadn’t been so funny, it would have been pretty embarrassing. Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Expedition: Onward ho, cheesemongers!

Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: A teammate lost, a teammate gained

I’d spent the night alone on the Kaskawulsh glacier with a torrent of avalanches on the nearest mountain for company, thousands of pounds of ice crashing down its flank, not daring to venture beyond my safe zone- the circle around camp I’d probed for crevasses. “Bad news”, Jon called, he and Lynne emerging from the white wilderness. I gave Lynne a big hug between mouthfuls of pasta, a bowl in one hand, the tight pang in my chest dissipating. I’d spent hours pacing the soft snow, waiting for Jon and Jim to come back with Lynne, who’d been dropped off further up the glacier in a safer landing zone, free from the massive crevasses that pocked the area.

Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: A teammate lost, a teammate gained

Riding Perth to Southeast Asia: Starting off with an event in Perth

Beginning early June, I’ll be adding Perth to Southeast Asia to the motorcycle adventures, picking up where I left off in December, 2015. I’ll have the pleasure of being hosted by Overlander Adventure Equipment on Wednesday, May 31st, for a talk about the journey so far, and to start this next trip off with some friendly faces.
“Join us for an exciting FREE presentation by Elisa “TravelBugBlues” Wirkala – RTW motorbike traveller, climber, adventurer, & Contributing Editor of Women ADV Riders magazine!
Lumped with a mortgage, $30,000 student debt, & heavy dose of the travel bug, Elisa Wirkala made specific lifestyle choices so she could live AND adventure. Keeping an eye on her tight budget, but not minimising enjoyment, Elisa quit her job as a teacher to travel the world – 4 years ago! Starting with regular overseas travel as a student, by age 28 Elisa had visited 30 countries & seen much of the USA. Buying & selling bikes as she goes, Elisa keeps a minimalist approach to her travel & gear. And that student debt? Gone in a year, while her house earns equity & helps fund her travels. Find out how you too can live the travel dream!

In December 2015, Elisa crossed Sydney to Perth on a 250cc bike, having previously ridden Europe & the length of the Americas. Meeting Elisa through Horizons Unlimited, OAE’s Tam was inspired to complete her own cross-country 250cc adventure. 
Time to come and get YOUR inspiration!”
When: Wednesday 31st May
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm start (approx. 1.5 hour session)
Where: OverlanderAE, 1/14-22 Farrall Road, Midvale 6056
Hot drinks & biscuits provided
RSVPs not required, but bring your own chair!

Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: For better or for worse

This week marks one year since the start of the icecap expedition that took two friends and me on a journey across the biggest non-polar ice cap in the world. And it’s been too many months since my last installment of the story. Now, as I start a new motorcycle journey from Australia to Southeast Asia, I’m disappointed I didn’t finish it sooner. But a part of me was scared to, scared to hurt someone I’d once considered a good friend, and nervous to rehash some of those feelings, despite this journey having been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. But I’ve spent the last five weeks trekking around New Zealand’s South Island, marveling at the views that so often reminded me of those first few days making our way to the toe of the glacier, snow-capped mountains looming in the distance and icefalls peeking out, and I realized this was a story I had to complete before the emotions and memories were changed with the passing of time.

For better or for worse 

The sounds of nearby avalanches rolled through the icefield well into the evening. Alone on the Kaskawulsh glacier, the tent felt palatial, the solitude divine. I’d bird bathed the sweat away, standing on my mat in the snow, the sun’s hot rays beating down on my naked skin- the first time I’d had any privacy in a week- as I used handfuls of snow to scrub my body clean. Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: For better or for worse