In February 2014, we set out to travel around the world on motorcycles with our dog Skyla. While friends and family wished us the best, many believed our plan was crazy, if not impossible. There were questions about our abilities as riders, there was concern around the safety of many of the countries we wanted to visit, and there were doubts as to whether any of this could be done with a dog on board.
To be fair, the early days of our journey did present considerable challenges as we navigated a long list of unknowns and unexpected hurdles. Despite these difficulties however, there was always an element of excitement and satisfaction in overcoming each day, each border crossing, each motorcycle breakdown. In fact, every time we encountered an obstacle, something wonderful seemed to happen, thanks to the kindness of complete strangers we met along the way. Over time these experiences transformed our perception of the world, teaching us that it wasn't "us against them" as we tried to achieve an impossible goal. It was quite the opposite in fact, that people everywhere were generous with their time and resources, curious about our plans and eager to help us succeed.
Our two year trip around the world morphed into an epic, ten year long adventure. We’ve crossed 108 countries and continue to be awed by the beauty and diversity of this planet. Though much has changed since we first left home - the most significant being that our pack has grown to include three dogs - and despite the wear and tear on us (and our motorcycles!) that comes with so many miles and experiences, we remain steadfast companions, committed not just to each other but to our shared dream of seeing the world our way.
Our hope now is to share our journey. That others will be inspired by our determination, good humour and perseverance, and that they will witness the power of connection we have experienced over every mile we have travelled.
Stu Clarke is an experienced adventurer and motorcycle rider with a passion for pet travel. With over 100 countries under his belt, Stu has travelled extensively with his dogs, inspiring others to do the same. With a Bachelor of Science, Honours Degree in Nuclear Physics, as well as a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, Stu has a strong academic background, which he previously used in his role as an Engineer in the Australian Navy. Nowadays, Stu's focus is on adventure travel and encouraging others to explore the world with their furry friends.
A passionate animal lover, skilled off-roader and full-time adventure rider Janell approaches every day with a can-do attitude. Fearlessly taking on any challenge is second nature to Janell, whether navigating harsh terrain, working through breakdowns in remote and hostile places or finding creative solutions to unexpected obstacles. Her background as a Civil Engineer complements her adventurous spirit by providing her with a unique skill set. Janell famously prioritises putting others first, but never before her girls.
Skyla was our first love, we adopted her in Canberra, Australia, from the pound. She was a Staffy Cross, about 6 months old, and we had 7 crazy, beautiful years with her. She was a very anxious dog which we did our best to manage, the Pillion Pooch was designed to keep her comfortable and safe in the big wide world and she loved to ride. Skyla passed away in Venezuela after a noble fight with cancer. Skyla was brave and beautiful.
Shadow may be small but she’s ready to take on the World and she has a heart of Gold. Whatever her early years, she was destined to join our pack. She ran on to the road in rural Colombia and was hit by a car, she lost an eye but gained a pack that day. In no time at all she was on a plane to Florida, touring the USA, then aboard the QM2 sailing to England. Always 9 countries behind Weeti, Shadow is courageous and kind.
Weeti is our quirky Venezuelan street dog from El Callao. She had a tough start to life being hit by a truck and subjected to continued bullying by cruel individuals. Her rescuers, Luis and Alicia, however were wonderful and never gave up on her recovery, they are the reason she walks today. Weeti was about 2 years old when she joined our pack. It wasn’t planned, it just happened and she rose to the challenge. Weeti is loyal and strong.
Azra is our Turkish delight. We picked her up on the highway near the Dardanelles Strait in western Turkey. A puppy around 6 weeks with no mother or home in sight we took her with us. But before she could join our pack she had to fight for her life against Parvo Virus, a deadly virus with a mortality rate of 90% for untreated cases. Azra is full of energy and her favourite activity is unpacking our clothes bag. Azra is the mischievous member of our pack.