Interviewer: Jim Martin | Photos: Jacqui Furneaux/Peter Henshaw
This transcript has been created from the original audio episode released January 18, 2018. This transcript may have been modified to make reading easier. As Adventure Rider Radio shows are meant to be listened to and not read, the following script may contain some grammatical and other errors. You can also listen to this interview by downloading the episode.
Jacqui: And, and lots of people did warn me against this particular skipper. Some mad skipper. An American couple, I think, or Canadian couple said to me, please don’t go. He's got a terrible reputation. He was seen hitting his daughter in a restaurant. And he's been in prison for people smuggling. And the stupid thing was, I had already had a horrendous voyage with another skipper, from Malaysia to Indonesia. I swore then I wouldn't do it again. But then I found myself in Cartagena with no other way of getting across to Panama without putting it on a small boat. I'd been told that if I got somebody else interested in the journey, my fare would be reduced. So I thought, okay, I'll go to a hostel and see if somebody else wants to go. But they wouldn't put a notice up on the notice board because this man had such a bad reputation. Now I'm like; Oh, he's alright, really. He's Italian. He's got a hot temper, he'll be fine. I was blind to all the advice I got. I did eventually find somebody else that wanted to go. So off we went…with a boat that was, well, unseaworthy really- it didn't have the…an adequate anchor chain. It was very rusty and spindly. He’d smashed the compass in a fit of rage before we left. We filled up the tank with cheap, dirty diesel. It wasn't long after leaving Cartagena that we started to have problems. We had to navigate by the stars for one thing. We got to some islands halfway between Panama and Colombia, and the weather suddenly changed. And this was supposed to be paradise island; where I would be able to do snorkelling, and swimming, and get to explore the San Blas Islands. But, we couldn't leave. He was worried that the boat was going to break free of its anchor, because the chain was so rusty, and also- the anchor wasn’t big enough for the boat. He wanted to put my bike down. He wanted to throw my bike overboard as an added anchor. Well, I wasn’t having that. So I sort of backed up to the bike with my arms out to the side, and said, if you dare touch it and you'll be in trouble. I was ready to defend that bike with my life, really. In the end I was thrown off. So I had to get some fishermen to take my bike on their boat and take me to the mainland. And I was never so happy in my life to get onto dry ground.
Jim (narrate): Jacqui Furneaux is from the UK. She left on a journey of discovery after her marriage broke up, and spent about the next seven years travelling the world. The intro that you just heard is from an experience that Jackie had near the end of her seven year journey, where she found, or she chose, sort of an unsavoury captain to transport her and her motorcycle around the Darien Gap by sea. Now the Darien Gap, in case you don't know, is a small section of roadless land between Panama and Colombia in Central America. It's a break in the Pan-American Highway that forces you to circumnavigate it by sea or by air. Jacqui chose to go by sea to save some extra money. But, after seven years of traveling, you have to wonder why her travellers intuition didn't kick in. Or if it did, why did she ignore it, and go anyway?
Jacqui: That’s a very good question. And, yes I did [rather] have... developed a strong sense of what was the right thing to do, and what would not be advisable. But I went against my own intuition because I was desperate to cross that bit of water. My traveler's intuition just left me. I think I was so desperate to get across that bit of water between Colombia and Panama, that I just ignored all the signals, and told myself; It'll be all right. He'll be fine once we start the journey. But, it went from bad to worse. But, anyway, I haven't done it since. I haven't been on a boat since, a small boat. Not with a bike. I have been on a boat since... and that's another story.
Jim: But to be fair Jacqui, you took twice to learn that lesson.
Jacqui: I know.
Jim: But, what I think that’s so interesting though…because what you're saying is, you knew it- you knew it in your gut that you shouldn't take that ride. You knew that that wasn't going to work. And for whatever reason…I mean, probably a whole bunch of things... I know that you were running out on your Visa, I think, and so time was of the essence, and you were having trouble finding a boat to go on. All these things, you know, sort of come together in a perfect storm so that you end up ignoring your intuition. You ignore your gut feeling, and do something that gets you into exactly what you're really predicting for yourself. And it's an interesting lesson, isn't it, for all travellers?
Jacqui: Yes. It just goes to show. You should listen to your gut feelings, and listen to your intuition. And even subsequent to the trip, I do that now. If something doesn't feel right, I don't do it.
Jim: Why did you do this trip? What got you out riding around the world to begin with?
Jacqui: I met a Dutchman whilst I was backpacking. My marriage had broken down, and I left with my tail between my legs, really. [I] didn’t know what else to do with myself after my marriage broke down, and I met…In Rajasthan, I was going to go on a camel safari. And I had picked up various leaflets to look over whilst I was having lunch. I left the main city, and sat in a restaurant. And now... I was going to a restaurant, and as I approached the restaurant, so did the Dutchman on a motorbike. (I didn't know he was Dutch at the time, of course.) A large man on a motorbike. And I looked at the bike, and I'd had my license since 1976 and I thought; oh, I haven’t seen one of those before. That's an interesting looking motorbike. And it looked rather, rather shabby. Anyway I went into the restaurant, and I asked this man about the bike. I said; What is that? Is it an old British bike? It's obviously not a Japanese one. And so, he didn't mind me joining him for lunch and well, to cut a long story short: Four days later, we said goodbye, having spent all those days in the desert together. And I thought I'd never see him again. I sat pillion on the back of his bike all that time. We went camping in the desert between India and Pakistan, where we shouldn't have gone, and we had a lovely, lovely adventurous time- talked a lot and I thought, as you do when you're travelling; you meet lots of interesting people that you think would be nice to keep in touch with. But we didn't even exchange email addresses, and I went home after a few more months. I was at the end of my year travelling. And eight months after I got back, he turned up on my mother's doorstep (where I was living, because I didn't have a home of my own). And he said; I've never been able to forget you. Why don't you buy an Enfield, and travel with me in India. Let's go back to India. Buy you (you can buy) an Enfield as well, and we'll travel around together for a while. And I hadn't been able to settle back in the UK. I didn't know what to do. My, my family was spread all over the place, and so I jumped- I jumped at it. I said; yeah, okay, I’ll do that. So I flew to India, bought myself an Enfield, and he joined me. And, that’s it. We went travelling together. I thought it might last six months, because I was quite a bit older than him. Well, a lot older than him. And we stayed together for four years. And it wasn't until we got to Australia from India that he decided to settle down. And so, I was left on my own. And I thought, well, I don’t know if I can manage this heavy Enfield on my own on my own (because he used to help pick me up, and do all the mechanic things, which he encouraged me to help with). And, anyway, I did. And I travelled on my own with my bike for the next three years until I got back to Bristol.
Jim: So there’s no plan when you started out. It wasn't like you got the bike and you thought- Okay, well here's my plan: I'm going to go from here to there, I’m going to cross over to South America. That wasn’t part of the idea when you left.
Jacqui: No, no. I left everything to him. Wherever he wanted to go, I was happy. After a lifetime of being a nurse, a health visitor, a wife and mother…I was ruled by the clock, and by work times, and two weeks of summer holiday every year. That was that was the extent of my freedom, if you like. Not that I’m…I’ve always been happy being a nurse, and very happy being wife and mother. But it was absolutely lovely to have somebody else make all the decisions, because he knew where he wanted to go. And I said, I don't care where we go, I'm enjoying myself wherever we go, so you carry on. So, yeah, that's what we did. We explored India together, and then into Nepal, Pakistan…And then when we got back into India, we decided to go to Burma. And whilst shipping the bikes over to Thailand….But I had to toss a coin first, because we hadn't been getting on very well, and it was debatable whether we would continue travelling together… and it was…Shall I…Shall I go to….Shall I go back home, via Pakistan again, and through Iran and that way? Or shall I continue with him, and carry on going east? And I thought, I'd love to see Australia and Canada, and other places, and New Zealand…So I thought, they're all that way. So if I go up, if I go East with him, it would be good. But I was I was so indecisive, I just tossed a coin. And it ended up that we travelled on together, which we were both happy about for a while.
Jim: You literally tossed a coin?
Jacqui: Yes. Well, actually, I got the waiters in a hotel in a restaurant in Amritsar to toss a coin. And heads, it was Burma, and tails it was back into Pakistan.
Jim: What was your boyfriend's name?
Jim: So after you left Hendricus, when he decides to settle down in Australia, what comes into your head then? You figure you're gonna continue on and just travel willy nilly?
Jacqui: Pretty much, yes. It was it was a bit heartbreaking. The break up was was not good for me, because I wasn't sure what was happening. He told me to go and do some travelling on my own, and he'd catch me up. And he didn't catch me up, and I was…I suddenly became aware that he wasn't going to catch me up. And then he rang me to say he'd found somebody else and was going to get married. And so I then went to New Zealand, and started my life all over again, and started travelling in New Zealand and loved it.
Jim: I think a lot of people listening would think that this just sounds like the ideal life. I mean, just, decide where you’re gonna go when you wake up in the morning. But what do you do for money while you're on the road?
Jacqui: Well, luckily, I was travelling at a time when the pound (the British pound) was really strong against other currencies. And of course, I was, I was travelling in in countries that weren't expensive until I got to Australia and New Zealand. They were much more expensive than Asia. But before then, my income covered my expenses, and allowed me to save a little bit as well. When my marriage came to an end, my husband and I sold the house we were living in. He bought another house with with his money, and I spent mine on travel. So it was…it was opportune for me to do that. And I'm very glad I did it then, because with the pound so low now, I don't know whether I would be able to afford it. But I was living on 300, about 300 pounds a month then, because I gave my money to somebody that was starting a business and interest rates were high. And I was able to live on 300 pounds a month very easily in India, and Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. It was not that we were extravagant at all. We sleep at the side of the road. Or we stay in really, really cheap hotels and eat street food. And did all our maintenance and repairs ourselves. So it was living very cheaply. And I loved it. I loved it because it wasn't 5-star. I love camping out, and the travelling life. And you know, it's just nice, I love it.
Jim: Seven years on the road is a long time, and you had just loads and loads of experiences here. The other one, I mean we sort of alluded to there, you know- we talked about your second boat experience. What was your first boat experience?
Jacqui: Well I should have learned from that really, but didn't. Hendricus had decided he wanted to travel on his own, in Malaysia as well, before we got to Australia. And he flew himself and his bike to Australia, leaving me in Malaysia. And again, that was the first time I thought; I can't manage this bike on my own, I'll have to go home. I'll just leave it here. But then I went on a little weekend trip, and managed perfectly well (even though the, the spring went in the gear lever). And I managed like…I managed to get it fixed or, you know, people helped me. And I thought, well, maybe I can do this on my own. So I learned to pick the bike up on my own; taking the luggage off, and heaving it up. Well, if I could pick the bike up on my own, and if I can manage to get things mended that go wrong, well I'll try. So I did. I carried on. And when he'd gone, I got friendly with people at the marina in Lamut. It was near Lamut. Actually it was a town called Sitiawan. And, one of the skippers was going to Australia, where I had always wanted to see. My father had said, go to Australia one day, I never went but see if you can get there. So I thought well I'll go, and do, and do his bit of travelling for him- like I was doing for my mother. And we managed to get the bike on the boat. It was a very small catamaran, and it fitted- just fitted- in the transom of the boat. So we thought, okay, I scraped the bottom of the boat and did the antifouling, and helped get it ready…And it took months, and months, and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. But eventually we were able to leave, and we went to…we went towards Indonesia from Malaysia. So we booked out of Malaysia, and that was beset with disaster as well. No sooner had we left going up the Straits of Malacca, than we picked up five castaways who had been dumped in the sea, between Sumatra and Malaysia. And they just…they paid to be taken to Malaysia, which was (which is) a richer country than Indonesia. They were looking to work, and to improve their lot. So we picked them up and decided, or the skipper decided, that they should be handed in when we [were] somewhere in Malaysia. We couldn't take them with us because we were heading to Australia, and had limited food supplies. So we decided to take them to Malaysia, but to hand them in to the police. But, by the time we got there ,we got rather fond of them. And they convinced us that, they weren't going to do any harm, they just wanted to work. So we let them go at dusk one night when we got to Port Klang. And then the next morning, we noticed that we had actually moored the boat right next to five police launches, and could easily have been seen, and of course could have been arrested. He would have been, I was just a crew. But anyway, it all worked out well and I just hope they made good.
Jim: So in saving somebody, you were people smuggling at that point.
Jacqui: Well we weren’t really. Yeah, I mean, crumbs- I hope, I hope I don’t get into trouble for this, but it wasn't my decision. And I'm happy to say I was just an innocent crew member.
Jim: Exactly. It’s the skipper of the boat that takes responsibility for that. This is a catamaran you were on.
Jacqui: It was. It was a very small catamaran. It was 23 foot, I think. Or, yeah- very small indeed. But I did have my own cabin, I'm happy to say. We didn’t…Yeah- and then again: I don’t seem to get on very well with sailors. It…We didn't get on well, and he threatened to cut me up into little bits because I…well, we didn't get on. And he…When it was my turn to cook, I'm not a very good cook and he- he was an excellent cook…And he would, he would make croissants and things, and bake things…exquisite French food. Whereas all I could manage was some sort of slop from the pressure cooker on board. I just brought a whole load of lentils in, and some vegetables, and that would be my lot. And we, we were robbed twice because some pirates came alongside one day and demanded all our food. I was hiding inside, and he managed to keep them from boarding, by giving them lots of food and supplies. And they, they went off. But we were left with no gas for cooking, and a huge amount of our food had gone. And we were supposed to be on our way to Australia, of course. So we thought; well, okay, we'll go to the nearest Indonesian island and restock with everything. So we did that. Moored up on the beach we were robbed again when we went to check in with immigration. And then somebody got on board and stole all the tools, and his passports, and credit cards, and money. I had mine with me, luckily. So after that, I thought, this is it. If we ever get to Jakarta, which we were heading for so that he could get a new passport, I thought, well I'm getting off. So I did. I got off. And the Indonesian police and customs and immigration were absolutely marvellous and gave me letters of safe passage all the way through Indonesia. So yeah, never will I put my bike on a small craft ever again. Obviously it’s been on lots of ferries since over to France, but no, it's not doing that anymore. It's too precious to me.
Jim: But that first trip on the catamaran that you were just describing there- you sort of thought that was going to be an idyllic cruise. You thought it was going to be this amazing thing and that's what… that's what really drew you in.
Jacqui: Absolutely. I thought, what could be nicer? These lovely Indonesian islands, palm trees sandy beaches, white sand…Wildlife that won't be frightened because they won't have seen many people…We’ll be able to swim, and have beach bonfires, and barbecues and things…I just thought it was lovely. But it didn't turn out like that at all. But anyway, it would…I’ve got some good memories of that but I’m…more trepidation and fear than happy memories.
Jim: You talk about the fixing of the boat. You said you spent months, literally, working on this boat. I mean, it seems like a ridiculously long period of time to work on something that should have been up and running. But you even talked about the different things that you had problems with. One was the prop being a reversed screw prop that was on the boat. What was this…this boat a wreck when you guys started working on it? I don’t quite understand that.
Jacqui: Well it had been a wreck, he’d found it somewhere. And he’d sailed it originally from Australia to Malaysia, and he’d taken it there for the refitting an engine. It had twin outboard engines on it and he wanted to replace those with a single inboard engine. So he bought an old tractor engine, and the gearbox was…I don't know, ran the wrong way or something…and so when it was fitted to the propeller, the shaft, the propellor shaft- it went into reverse instead of forward gear. And so we crashed into the jetty many a time because he didn't want to take it all out and redo it. So that went on and then so he got a propeller that was a reverse screw, so that it instead of going backwards, it would go forward. So that was alright. And then we found out that it was too big, or too small, and we could only make three knots…and we couldn't do any…it was just awful. And when we were sailing, the propeller was drag (making us drag) through the water, as well. So we had to rig up a sort of pulley to get the propeller out of the water. I'm not a sailing person. I'm probably talking…not using the right terminology or anything. Now I’ve, I've tried sailing, and I'm not going to do that anymore.
Jim: You have not had good experiences from the two you describe.
Jim: But what about the motorcycle riding? What about your riding? You were concerned about handling the bike. The bike was heavy for you, etc. When you left Hendricas, and you went on your own, how did you get past that?
Jacqui: I learnt to love it, instead of being afraid of it, I think. And I started to think of it as my steady companion rather than something that was a nuisance to be repaired all the time. I found when I started traveling on my own, it didn't go wrong as much, and it didn't seem to need replacement parts as much. Now I know that Hendricus was a very keen mechanic, and I think sometimes, he was interested to see how things worked. So I'm wondering if he did take things apart that didn't really need taking apart. And of course, I thought this was all part and parcel of everyday maintenance. And I decided that, well, I'm not an engineer, I'm not a mechanic. I just thought, well, if it's too much trouble I'll just leave it and go home. But it didn't go wrong as much. And things that did go wrong were fairly easily fixed. And it wasn't until I got to New Zealand that I thought, well, I really ought to have it really well looked into. And I had a rebore, and a sleeve put in the piston, and the engine…and a replacement piston and rings and everything…and oh, this and that, new forks…I really treated it to lots of new things. And Jim, I’ve hardly done anything to it since, really. I think, new valve guides, and new exhaust valve…I think that’s about it, really. Although the top end does need some doing, because it’s losing lots of oil- using a lot of oil now- and so. No, it's a remarkable machine and I learnt to manage it. And as I say; I started to look at it in a different way when it was just the two of us, and Hendricus wasn't there with his Enfield. So, I felt responsible for it, and with that responsibility grew…whatever it is that you have for your machine. And I know other people feel exactly the same about theirs that they’ve had for a long time.
Jim: Well you're still writing this bike now.
Jacqui: Well, I actually on it this afternoon, yes.
Jim: So it’s the same bike, that’s pretty incredible. I mean, a lot of people get rid of bikes, and cars in particular, but I mean, very quickly, (but you have it for a few years) and move on to something else. You’ve found your bike and stuck with it.
Jim: Stay with us. We're going to take a minute break, and when we come back, we got a lot more that we're going to talk about; Including some pretty intimate details about Jacqui's motivation to stay on the road.
Jacqui: I think that mess I made of things before I left…It doesn't go away. It’s still there when you get back.
Jim: What's your drive on the road? You know, that probably doesn't sound like a very good sentence there- what's your drive on the road- but what draws you down the road of travel? You mentioned you sort of felt broken up when you left your boyfriend, and you're off on your own again…What’s the pull? What’s the draw? What is it that keeps you going?
Jacqui: First and foremost; curiosity. I've just got to know what's around the corner, and what's up that little lane. And even now, when I'm out and about in my home city, I’ll, if I'm out walking, I'll go a different way just to see what's down there. So it's curiosity to start with, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable way of life. And it did become a way of life. It wasn't a trip anymore, it wasn't a holiday. It was…it became a way of life after so many years. And it was a nice way of life. And I’m, I’m not saying that it’s idyllic, isn't it. It gets very aimless. And I got incredibly lonely at times. But I learnt to cope with that loneliness, and aimlessness. And because, mostly it was very enjoyable, and I was meeting new people. But I did begin to wonder whether meeting new people was a way of avoiding close relationships. Because have it, meeting people and having a short relationship with them before you move on, is a very nice way of living. But you don't really get to know people that well. And I wondered if I was avoiding meeting myself. No no, that’s not right, not me. I wondered if I was avoiding facing up to things at home. And that's one of the reasons why I came home when my daughter said; Come home Mum, we need a mother.
Jim: What did you have to face up to?
Jacqui: I think the mess I’d made of things before I left, it doesn’t go away; it’s still there when you get back.
Jim: Describe the mess.
Jacqui: Oh… you are digging deep. Well I'd had a happy marriage for 20 years, and things had changed. People changed, my husband had changed, and things were going well for us, and particularly for him, in his career. He worked for an oil company that sponsored motor racing, which was, is- still is- his dearest love. And it took him away from home and family. And he had moved on, where I had sort of stayed still, I suppose. Because my family meant everything to me; him and my family, my two (our two) daughters and out home. My career took second place, really. I was a health visitor, and I loved that. But first and foremost was my husband and my children. And then as they grew up, and he developed his career, I was sort of a bit left behind. Especially when he got a new post, which took him away from home at weekends and all week- where he'd been working from home all the time, and we had all our weekends together. Suddenly he was off to Silverstone, and Brands Hatch, and places like that for work. So I was sort of left at home wondering what to do because that wasn't my life. And then we talked about it, and I told him how I felt, and he suggested I got an interest of my own. And I did. And unfortunately, that led to me meeting somebody that shared the same interest, and that was the end of my marriage.
Jim: That affair.
Jacqui: I had an affair, yes.
Jim: And that was sort of the mess that you felt that you left when you were on the road.
Jacqui: Yes. It wasn't resolved with…with our daughters. Not really, and it needed…I ran away, and I shouldn't have really. I I should have stayed and faced the music and built- rebuilt- a relationship with them, but I didn't. And although they were very kind to me, and said, oh don’t…Claire in particular said, don’t fear you’re in exile, mum, you’re not. I think it was me. I felt I ought to go. And so I went away instead of what I maybe should have done is stayed. But it's all, you know…Well, I wouldn't have had that…I wouldn't have had the lovely years I had. I wouldn't have met Henricus in Rajasthan. I wouldn't have bought an Enfield in India. I wouldn't have traveled around the world for seven years. I wouldn't be talking to you now. But who knows what I would have been doing instead. It's funny the way life takes you, isn’t it? And I now have a lovely relationship with both my daughters and my ex husband. I was talking to him for a good hour I think this morning. And so everything is resolved. We spend Christmas together. And I’m…I have a very good family, and I'm very very grateful for that.
Jim: Life is like that, isn't it. I mean, you look back, and you can, you can easily look back and say- well, I wonder if I had done this instead. Something you perceive to be the correct path now. Always easy- hindsight. You know, like they say, hindsight is 20/20. But the things that that we've been through in life…it is what makes us what we are today. Even if it's pain and suffering.
Jacqui: Oh, I couldn't agree with you more. Yes, people who have, what looks to be an easy life…I don't know…I think I've developed, and grown, and gained confidence as a result of my travels. And it broadens your mind, it stops, and the biggest thing is it stops you being fearful of people from other countries. And if you're not fearful, you understand more and you know, realize that when we're not the best here. By any means, nobody's got the best. If only we could take the best out of everybody's lifestyles and things. But it’s…no, it's a bit cliche, isn't it; Travel broadens the mind…but it most definitely does. I think we would all be a lot more tolerant if we did that.
Jim: What do you think the core thing is that someone learns on a trip like you've done? I mean, if somebody was coming to you and saying, I'm about to go on this trip…what could you almost predict that they're going to learn on the road?
Jacqui: Depends on the sort of travel. But it certainly taught me how to be resourceful, and use what's available, rather than just buying a replacement. Especially with the Enfield. I’ve stuck it together with sticky tape and string at times. It makes you think how, because things do go wrong sometimes. And you’ve got to think, how am I going to get out of this scrape or, oh right, what can I do now? And I've learned to trust. So I think resourcefulness and trust are the two big things I learned. And confidence, and just to be self-aware, as well. I think I learned to be self-aware. That… to just laugh at myself more, and not take life so seriously. And to learn to cope with loneliness, and the aimlessness. And think; oh, okay. But loneliness is…it really does get to you. That's why I wrote so many diaries, I think. Because it was like talking to somebody. And I'm very glad I did now, because if I hadn't written those diaries to keep myself company, I probably wouldn't have had enough information for writing the book.
Jim: That diary got you in trouble at one point when someone found it. I'm not going to spoil that, and leave it for people to read the book. But that’s a funny little take on a diary that really has made the book in the long run. But I was going to say- back to what we're talking about about what you learn on the road- Do you think part of it is process, is you learn how to process things? Because I think at one point I think you referred to the fact that, now when your family has something to figure out they sort of give it to you. Because Jacqui is the person that will, you know, get on the phone or whatever. Or dig through, and doesn't have a problem approaching people. Is that part of what you're learning? I mean, could that even be the core of it, is that process? You learn how to process things, you learn how to figure things out. And as you said, make due.
Jacqui: I don't know that my family come to me…come to me to sort out problems.
Jim: Well maybe, maybe I misunderstood that, but it was…it was something to do with you know,, with approaching people or being-
Jacqui: Oh, yes. Yes, I have got a reputation of being perfectly fearless, and going up to people and asking them anything I want to know, or just chatting to people…and you know, commenting on something, or rather like…[at the] post office, you know, in the queue, I'll talk to somebody. I’ll talk to somebody if I'm on a bus, or a train, and find out all sorts of interesting things about people. And I have got a reputation for doing that, yes.
Jim: Did that come from travel?
Jacqui: Yes, I think so. My, my way of finding out things about what's going on or anything like that is, is…Yes, I’m well-known for that. And I think it did come from travel. I learned that from Hendricus, because he was he was fearless about going up and asking people. And he…English wasn't his first language. So in India, where we met and spent those four days in the desert together, he would he would just march up to people and say (and ask) what he wanted to know. Where as, I would have…I don't know, I would have not done that at that stage, although I'd already been backpacking for some time. I wasn't quite as able to…to approach people in the same way he was. So I did learn a lot. I learned a great deal from him and I’m…I’m very grateful to him because he changed my life.
Jim: When I say process…about processing things for yourself…in particular when you're travelling by yourself, and you have to deal with something, your resources are limited because you may be in a foreign country, you don't speak the language etc…I think that's what I'm looking at when I'm talking about learning the process of figuring things out. Realizing that you are the person that's going to do it and you've got to, you've got to do it.
Jacqui: Yes, I see what you mean. Yes. For instance; if the bike suddenly stops, and there's nobody around, I've, I’ve got to think…Why, why has it stopped? So I would go through a process of is petrol getting to the engine and work, work through that. And you know if the bike has conked out, then it's a matter of sorting out the problem. I've always travelled with the manuals so I knew, I knew even if I couldn't fix it, that somebody else would be able to. If I, if I was in a place where there were a lot of people. There were times in Australia where I wouldn't ever have been found if I hadn't been able to leave under my own steam. So yes, you do go through a process. And if I was ill or something, I would think, what should I do? Okay, I need some help. So I would find a doctor, or I would ask people, what do you do if you are ill. I was ill in Spain recently this last year, and I had to seek medical help, and I wasn't quite sure what to do so I just went up and asked people…where is there a doctor near here…is there a clinic…is there a health centre or something like that. And you know, people would point to me (my Spanish isn't very good but) people would point me in the right direction. Or you can do a lot with sign language and miming. And so I got, I got the treatment I needed. There’s alway’s someone to help.
Jim: And see, this is what I'm always fascinated with is- what I consider sort of travellers tools- you talk to people (as I do all the time, like yourself who have travelled extensively), and I always hear these things that sound like sort of travellers tools. That you learn these methods and processes to figure things out. And what I'm wondering is ,does that change your life when you get back home? When you get back home do you become a more, I hate to use the word successful…but a person that maybe gets more of what you want because of the tools that you've learned on the road.
Jacqui: Yes- I suppose I don’t, I don't panic if something goes wrong, and I'll work my way through whatever it is. The only time I do panic is if it's anything to do with the Internet or anything technical. It’s not my forte at all. And I…I get…I get quite distressed when things don't work. I'm trying to get the book onto Kindle at the moment. Fortunately I've got a friend who's helping me. I wouldn't be able to manage without her, but I just couldn't do it. I don't understand the terminology. Oh, and you know, if this is the picture isn't the right format to go in that place then, I wouldn't know what to do. Luckily, she did. So, the book's going to be out on Kindle fairly soon, I hope. But that's the only thing that I would not attempt, because it's totally beyond me.
Jim: But part of that is knowing that you don't understand that and knowing enough to search out somebody and say I need help.
Jacqui: Exactly, yes.
Jim: Jacqui, it was great to talk to you. I really enjoyed that. Thank you very much.
Jacqui: Oh, thanks Jim. It was lovely to talk to you again. Really nice. Thank you.
Jim: I’ve been speaking with Jacqui Furneaux from her home in the U.K. And what we've been talking about today is just parts of her book called Hit the Road Jack: Seven Years, 20 Countries, No Plan by Jacqui Furneaux. And if you drop by the show notes for this episode, we’ve got some pictures in there of the book. It's a beautiful book and a good read. Drop by our website to check out the show notes and we have links to Jacqui’s website in there.
Interviewer/Host: Jim Martin
Producer: Elizabeth Martin
Transcriptionist: Natasha Martin
*Special thanks to our guest Jacqui Furneaux
Find out more about Jacqui at www.jacquifurneaux.com