92 countries, 7 continents into my 7th year on the road riding my motorcycle around the world, now in Poland, it's just a Sunday ride which has been like having 2000+ Sunday rides in a row, well you know what I mean, every days a Sunday for me at the moment. I'm a bit like your Forest Gump, people ask me how much longer will I travel, I just answer with when I get bored that will be it, I'll just go home. I'm sure my mum may of thought I would get bored when I was a kid riding my Suzuki TM 75 around the backyard over and over and over for hours on end, I can't ever remember feeling bored for one second when I did that and now instead of just riding around the backyard the world is my backyard and I still never get bored, do any of us riders, not for a second. I'm no secretary so there will be times when this blog is a bit disjointed with a lot of spelling mistakes that may get fixed up in time but anyone that has ridden all day then tried to blog will understand, uploading photos all with crappy internet so might as well go on record and apologize for some of that now. The video below is just a collage of some of the adventure to date. My baby enjoying the Grand Canyon Ok from the start Hi there my name is Sheldon Thomson and this is my little round the world adventure. From the very start my real adventure really got under way on October 25th 2007 when I pulled over on the Pacific Highway New South Wales Australia to answer my mobile phone when a Kenworth semi trailer came into the break down lane and rammed into my car leaving me with 13 fractured ribs, 6 fractures in my back, lacerated liver (nearly in half apparently), one collapsed lung the other partially and a knock on the head. The truck drivers story was that he saw me and thought I might open my door so he went to change lanes but when he looked in the side mirror to check on traffic he drifted left into the breakdown lane and bingo slammed into me parked in the breakdown lane at a 100 kmh. We all have these setbacks in life whether they be from accidents, illness, relationship breakups or whatever this is just my story and I call it "My Bump in the Right Direction." Ever misplaced your favourite golf putter, well I did but found it when I was looking through this photo of my accident, can you see it? First thing I remember coming too and the ambulance girl is cutting my soccer shirt off, so my first words after the accident were "don't cut my good f$@king soccer shirt" I did apologize to her for that later by the way. 40 minutes later I'm in the biggest nearby hospital at Tweed Heads on the border of New South Wales and Queensland here in Australia. I was in the intensive care unit there for awhile then things took a turn for the worst.They took me for some scans and was in some machine scanning for whatever and I remember the Dr saying "get him off there we need to get him back upstairs right now" So back up in intensive care now Ok the right side of my lung was collapsed the left partially and my chest is filling with blood so I couldn't use what was left of my lungs, no biggie I only use them to smoke cigarettes anyway.The Dr rolled me on my side and said I'm just going to have to cut you, Ok no problems, looking at the scalpel in his hand always a nice look. Ok he jabbed me with a painkiller then slash, yeah righto mate that sort of hurt but the best was yet to come. There he is standing over me trying to push this tube into my chest, me lying there screaming and he says I'm going to have to cut you more, so I yell "well just do it". So here he is cut me for a second time standing over me trying to push this half inch tube into my chest and he's beading up with sweat I'm looking at him doing it and to be honest it wasn't a look of confidence he had, and he says I cant get it in to which I yelled "well push f$@king harder". A few seconds later POP!! in she goes and I take a big breath of air, now that wasn't so hard was it. Thankfully he did save my life right at that moment, good on ya Doc. So there I am blood being pumped into my jugular and coming out of me into a bottle next to the bed, OK I guess a Mac attack is out of the question at that moment. Things weren't looking good for me at that stage so they decided I needed to be flown to Brisbane a few hours away via the Careflight helicopter as there was a team of surgeons there that may be able to save my life if things didn't improve, apparently they didn't hold out much hope for me at that stage, they didn't count on me being such a tinny prick (lucky), I've always got out trouble when others wouldn't of. My eldest son Jared who was 17 at the time who wasnt far away from the accident was brought in, not ideal holding your sons hand seeing him so upset and saying "just grow up to be a good man" its not everyday you have say goodbye you your son like that, probably the most painful thing of the whole experience actually. He got lucky though usually it would of been "get a job" or "Jared, do the dishes" both of which he hates hearing. The one thing I do remember clearly thinking while I was lying there with the life draining out of me was, "well I've had a good run", so as you can imagine now I'm still alive its like a absolute bonus and certainly gives you that appreciation of just how precious the little things are in life. Anyway to cut a long story short I survived the helicopter flight, surgery, a few weeks in intensive care and a few more in the high trauma unit then awhile in the general ward and I'm at home lying on my bed thinking now this hurts a tad. 9 months lying around in bed recovering feeling sorry for myself I thought I needed to set a positive goal and decided since I'd always wanted to go to Africa and Europe I would ride there on a motorbike and along the way of my recovery raise some soccer gear for a group of kids and schools in Ethiopia and take it to them. Don't ask me why I couldn't of just set a goal of going to the local shop or the pub, oh well the decision was made easier by the head injury I got as well so it's all good. Although there is so much more to my recovery with support of family and friends you guys are here to read about motorcycle adventures not me having my ass wiped, Ok that didn't happen, but you know what I mean. I actually left home on the adventure on January 21st 2011 when I went and saw my youngest son Logan said my goodbyes to him then headed to the Pacific highway and tossed a coin heads north around Australia tails south, the coin came up tails so south it was. I had little side trips to Thailand, then another little detour trip to New Zealand and another around Tasmania with my sons before I left Australia to head for Africa with my motorcycle. On Sunday the 26th June 2011 I flew to Johannesburg South Africa then planned to head to Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey then up into Europe. At the time I didn't have any real route planned just a basic oh yeah that would be cool to see and do. I did have my Kawasaki KLR 650 Tengai (pictured below) all decked out to do the trip but after constantly being told I would get shot or eaten over in Africa by one of my mates I thought what the hell I better buy myself a new toy before I go then, so went out and bought the 2011 BMW F800GS which I picked up pretty much the the day before I left and it flew into Africa with 250 km's on the clock, a new start for both of us. I have a website www.rideforsmiles.com Facebook pages etc but since I used Advrider to gain so much inspiration over the last few years I thought I'd share my trip with you guys and if worse happens I could let you know what it's like to be shot or eaten, either way it might be helpful to someone. I've had lots of advice about my trip but I'm just going for it and seeing where it leads me, it might last a week, a month or however long, time will tell, people keep telling me this trip will change me forever to which I respond , surely I cant be a bigger c$&t than I am already, oh well I'll give it a shot. You will either get my Aussie sense of humour or you wont but one thing is for sure I don't take things in life to seriously and love to have a laugh so hopefully I can share some of them with you through here. Anyway thanks everyone for your stories blogs etc its certainly helped with my preparation and inspiration to keep going and hope my journey is somewhat interesting as well. Cheers, Sheldon Where I'm from in the world, just a few k's north of Byron Bay in a town called Brunswick Heads Cape Byron certainly a beautiful part of the world in it's own right. The small town where I was living before I left Australia, Brunswick Heads Below is a picture of me and my little hero and champion son Logan who was there throughout my whole recovery, he was kind gentle and understanding the whole time, just an amazingly beautiful human to be gifted with, he gave me the strength to stay positive as I recovered which was a long slow process of ups and downs. I was separated from his mother if you could ever call us together and she made my life misery trying to be in his life having to go to court 20 times over 5 years prior to my accident, unfortunately there is no middle ground in these situations your either encouraged to be a part of your child's life or cut right off and have to struggle to be there for them. I could actually write a book on the subject and saw every conceivable way to prolong a court case and create problems but it would be like writing a handbook to every x who wanted to give someone grief. In our case it was only finalized when a Magistrate started talking about jail time that the penny dropped and our case was done. I built a really strong bond with Logan in his early years so I'm sure we can work out any issues of me leaving him down the track somewhere and whatever happens in the future he will always be my son and when he grows we will hopefully be able to sit down and work through everything. If anyone out there is going through any of that stuff feel free to drop me a message if you need any support or advice. One tip is to try and depersonalize it which isn't easy of course, try not worry about what might happen just deal with the problems that are right in front of you, solve it then move on, a lesson that I'll have to remind myself on this adventure at times I'm sure. As you can imagine it actually makes it a lot easier to leave Logan knowing I don't have to deal with her crap any more not to mention it will give him some peace and quiet, I know that's selfish but I'm sure there's a few guys out there that can understand what I mean, plus with my injuries after the accident and how bad my back and neck are I might not be able to do something like this trip in a few years, I'm not getting any younger so its now or never with this little adventure and little Logan is easily the biggest sacrifice I have had to make. A funny story which involves Logan and I, we were out looking at tents for my trip, we are looking at a tent and I say I like this one and Logan turns and says but that's a big door a lion could get in there, I had to laugh give him a cuddle and reassure him that wasn't going to happen, was so cute. I will be meeting Jared my eldest son (pictured below with Logan) in Ethiopia at some point and he will be bringing all the soccer gear we raised for the kids in the Ethiopian schools in the Gondar region and then he heads off to the UK to work and play for a few years. UPDATE: Jared has now joined the family travel scene and has backpacked through around 50 or so countries himself. The original Kawasaki KLR 650 Tengai I was going to do the trip on.