BENGALURU: Candida Louis, a Bengaluru-based biker, is a woman on a mission. While most prefer to fly between the city and Sydney, Louis chose to go on a solo motorcycle expedition between the two cities, covering close to 28,000 km during her 10-month journey.
“You can empower women by teaching them to be literate, financially secure or by teaching them about their rights. But personally, travel is the best way to do so, because it teaches you about different cultures, people and ideas through first-hand experience,” says the biker who returned to the country in June this year. Louis’ only companion during the trip was her Bajaj Dominar motorcycle, or ‘Skye’ as she fondly calls it.
The 28-year-old embarked on this journey after she was selected for the ‘Change Your World’ fund travel project. Louis chose Australia to pay tribute to Alistair Farland, a 24-year-old Australian, who lost his life riding a motorcycle from Alaska to South America.
Louis’ journey led her through Manipur, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia with the final destination being Sydney. She hit the road from Bengaluru in August 2018 and in the first leg of her journey, covered the east coast of India towards the northeast, Bhutan and back to the Northeast. She also did a few island hops, one from Malaysia to Indonesia and the other to Perth. During the final leg, she rode from Perth all the way across the Nalabor up until Sydney.
One would then think that Louis’ journey was meticulously planned but she reveals that she prefers to keep it spontaneous.
“Only the first two days of the journey are planned. I go with the flow. If I like a place, I stay longer,” she told CE. This isn’t Louis’ first solo expedition: After quitting her job as a finance professional three years ago, she covered 37,000 km on a motorcycle, covering 22 states in India in 2015 and 2016. Since then, she has pursued her dream, and is now a full-time motorcycle tour designer and guide.
Over the years, she has led more than 34 customised biking group tours, within India and internationally, covering as many as 14 countries and five continents. She was also selected as a Catalyst Traveller 2017 for ‘Dogoodasyougo’ – a network of independent, international traveller-volunteers – where she rode with three other riders from the US and Canada, delivering laptops to remote villages in the Cambodian jungle, and teaching residents there how to use it.
Through her efforts, Louis hopes to help Indian bikers widen their horizon and wants to set an example for other women.
“I rode for seven months in India alone, and being out there has changed my whole perspective of how people are. It is safe if you know how to handle situations and travel with care,” she explains. Her only advice to fellow women riders? “Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Take the first step and everything will follow.”