Passionate Motorcycle Travelers: Michnus & Elsebie Interview

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Welcome to our next interview from the Overlander Intervew series, where we've had a pleasure to talk with Michnus and Elsebie. They're a couple from South Africa who share a passion for motorcycles and traveling. These two passions made them quit their jobs and set off on an entirely new lifestyle. Read more to learn about this fascinating couple!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what’s your name and where are you from?

We are Michnus and Elsebie, our passions are motorcycle overland travel, amateurish photography, drinking beer and hit t ing up friendships with quirky people. Our home is on the sunny east coast of South Africa but our hearts are in discovering the joys and mysteries of the world. In 2010 we left our 'office careers' and at the combined age of 9 0 decided it was time to travel.

2. You have done some amazing road trips, how did your journey start?

Originally all our travels were in and around South Africa and it created a hunger for more.  Motorcycle travelling became our preferred way of exploring the lesser travelled roads in unknown countries.  Our first long trip started from home through the east of Africa to Europe.

3. Please, tell us more about your overlanding experiences, where did you drive?

The epic view of Lake Turkana in Kenya.

So far we have visited the south and east of Africa, Israel, Europe and are now travelling the Americas for the last few years.

4. How do you plan a new adventure and how do you find the ideal route?

We travel by motorcycle so generally will start riding a continent and see as much as we can with the allowed time a country allows us. We are not great at planning and normally just go in a general direction or where-ever we find exciting roads or suggestions especially from local people. We use maps, GoogleMaps, GPS and sites like DangerousRoads.com to find routes.

5. What bikes are you driving and how are you usually sleeping on the road?

The Suzuki DR650 motorcycle.

We are currently on Suzuki DR650s and bought them in San Antonio, Texas, USA where we started our current trip in 2015.  We carry a tent all that is needed to camp but depending on the country camping is not always as easy to find. We make use of budget accommodations as we travel and will ask around or seek it on websites like iOverlander or Booking.com.

6. How is your mechanical knowledge, how much can you fix yourself?

Luckily Michnus has the necessary knowledge to maintain the bikes and prefers to do most of the work himself.

7. How are you funding your road trips? (savings, sponsors, working abroad)

We were the typical corporate robots! Well, not all the time but yes, we worked hard, played hard but the time available for the play was way too little to our liking. So we left our careers a few years before we started travelling and concentrated on becoming self-employed and building ‘passive income’. We also saved a lot by not having children.

8. You travel as a couple, how do you manage being so close all the time?

We think that travelling each one on their own bike makes a big difference. Bike time is ‘me time’ we do not really chat over the intercoms other than what is necessary. We also grew into our hobby together and ‘assigned’ different roles to the PikiPiki business, Michnus is the social media person, mechanic and photographer, Elsebie is the administrator, financial and packer.

Read more: Elias Overlander Interview

9. What does meaningful traveling mean to you?

To take the time to really experience a country. To try and live the life the locals live. To slow down and appreciate the good of every country and town.

10. What are the worst things that happened to you on the road?

In Egypt they became very unreasonable about us returning after we left our bikes for a few months and we ended up paying a big ‘fine’ to leave the country with our bikes. We were also just granted 2 days to get from Cairo out of the country and had to rush for the Israel border.

11. What is the best thing about overlanding, why are you traveling like this?

Colombia is full of amazing natural and cultural sites.

We are very slow travellers and are able to see and experience so much more by being patient and seeking the roads not everybody travel. We rather full ass one thing than half-ass two things.

12. You have crossed nearly four continents by bike, what were your highlights?

So many to mention but very recently Peru' magical snow-capped Andes mountains and plateaus . We discovered a magical area, an area where mostly local travellers venture to.  We were rewarded with magnificent cliffs and at least 17 kilometres of turquoise lakes, waterfalls and rivers. It was one of those scenes where you look and just know that you can never successfully ‘picture-tell’ this to anybody.  

Read more: Sergio & Eleni Overlander Interview

13. Do you have any advices for people who want to do their first big road trip?

The hardest decision and most travellers will tell you this, is to take the first step, to just go!  All the other small ‘worries’ you will deal with as you travel, for example, the language barrier, you learn very quickly to express, explain and request with mere smiles and hand signalling.

14. What are your next plans?

To keep travelling for as long as we can physically manage it. To explore more cultures, experience more lifestyles and to appreciate all the beer the world has to offer. We will be spending at least another year in South America.


Let us introduce ourselves, we are Michnus and Elsebie, our passions are motorcycle overland travel, amateurish photography, drinking beer and hit up friendships with quirky people. To fill you in, our home is in East London, South Africa but our hearts are in discovering the joys and mysteries of the world. With a combined age of 90 we decided now was the time to travel, on top of that we decided to leave immediately in order to make it to the other-side without too many aches and pains.Why do we do it? Our odyssey is not to set records, or a quick passing through to get the passport stamp. Our travels have no expiry, it’s our way of life. 

If you want to check out more of their adventures, be sure to check out their website! Also, be sure to follow their journey on their Facebook, InstagramTumblr and Vimeo.

You can see the road they have traveled on this map!

Adrian Sameli founder and editor of aSabbatical.com
Travel mindfully to meet local people around the world and embrace new cultures. Get inspired and inspire others!