LAURA CONTI: @CRAZYLADYADVENTURE
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 7/10/17
For the thirty ninth installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we extremely proud to be speaking with Laura Conti. You may know her as @crazyladyadventure.
Laura is a dynamo. After you read this interview you can check out her personal blog here to learn even more about her and her travels around Australia by Motorcycle.
Check out out interview below and get a sense of what life down under is like on two wheels.
Laura is a fantastic reminder that we so often build our own prisons of limitation around us and that all it takes to break out and do more is the initiative to trust yourself and get on with it.
What do you consider to be your place of work?
I am a corporate finance leader by trade, with an accounting background. I quit my job late last year to go on a motorbike ride across Australia. I’m in ‘career transition’ right now, riding and contemplating who, and what I want to be now that I’m almost 40.
Tell me about your bike. What do you call them?
I ride a BMW GS700. She doesn’t really have a name because I didn’t want to get too attached (Fail. I’m so attached). I call her ‘Big BM’ sometimes, kind of ironically – because she is the baby GS.
When and how did you get it?
I rode a little red Vespa to work every day, so I’d met all the ‘biker blokes’ in the car park for years. They were very kind to me, despite me parking my ridiculous clapped out scooter precariously close to their beautiful bikes. Some of them helped me work out what motorbike was best for my adventure. It came down to the Triumph Tiger 800 and the BMW GS 700. Bizarrely I felt like the GS was more feminine, I liked the smoother sound. I found the BMW Southbank in Melbourne Australia to be fabulous, and they have a female accessories salesperson – which I found useful in finding me well fitting women’s’ riding clothes.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
Unless you count the scratches – very few modifications. Side Panniers (BMW molded plastic – I wouldn’t do those again – I’d do the top-opening metal ones next time) and a large bag on the back. As for the scratches – each one has a good story, and I consider them to be ‘upgrades’ to my story-bank.
What is your favorite part about it living/working off of your bike?
Riding is like meditation. I don’t think about anything except the road in front of me. After a busy stressful career, meditation/riding is heaven. I also like that motorbikes bring out the best in everyone. People rush to talk to you, to help you and that restores my faith in humanity.
What is your least favorite part about it?
The extreme heat and the extreme cold. You are exposed to extremes. It’s usually an upside of motorbiking- you can smell and feel and live in the environment you pass through. Except when its extremes – it’s not so comfortable in 46degrees Celsius or 1degree Celsius
How many miles have you put on your bike?
I’m in KM’s in Australia – 12,000kms. Which is about 8,000km more than I expected! Riding is more fun than I anticipated.
What is the best place you have taken it?
There is no way I could pick one. Every day on the road has been different, and every day I’ve gone into the ride with a different mindset. Australia’s landscape and weather changes so much over 500km’s, each day is different.
Is there just one?
No. But I do love a beach – so my favourite days are when I’ve ended the day near a beach.
Favorite road you’ve driven?
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, near Melbourne. The view is spectacular, the weather is always cool, it’s full of tourists which makes me feel better for riding like an old lady and taking in the views.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
Complex. I’m a risk taker by nature, and a cautious structured person in my career. Mix those 2 things together – it’s complex, and often hilarious. I approach life with a sense of humour.
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?
Go to a reputable riding school, spend at least 2 days learning to ride in a controlled environment, reading traffic and riding defensively. Then buy the bike, chose easy rides and learn learn learn on the go.
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those people?
Hmm. I’ve been through big life transitions previously, which taught me while young not to be afraid of change, and not to think about the ‘end point’ to put one foot (or one wheel!) in front of the other and enjoy the ‘now’. I left home very young, I moved across the world twice before I was 25 and I grew up in an unorthodox home. I think that taught me young not to be afraid to just go live, and see where it takes you.
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?
I’m blown away at how strong the motorbike community is. Adventure, camping, roadie life – everyone who is involved in the outdoors are supportive, encouraging, funny and kind. For me personally, I’m open minded – I didn’t learn that IN my family, I learnt that as a result of growing up in a closed family. I’m adventurous and curious – because that is the opposite of what I was meant to be! OK, so i’m also rebellious!
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourselves as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
I was always unconventional. My parents were unconventional, my grandparents were unconventional. Being different wasn’t a choice, everyone around me was crazy. You don’t become a crazyladyadventurer by waking up one day and buying a motorbike 😉 Being this crazy takes years of refining! In all seriousness, I have a freedom that allows me to explore and to take calculated risks. I’m frugal with money, I’m unencumbered by a family or children, and I’m self-motivated. Those things combined with my unconventional upbringing give me great strength of character and the financial freedom to ride a motorbike across Australia.
Where do you want to go next?
There are some parts of Central Australia (Uluru and Alice Springs) which I’m yet to see. Plus I finally found time to watch Long Way Round and Long Way Down recently – and now I’m desperate to do Africa.
Career – I’m on the lookout for a technology or creative high growth company who needs a Financial Controller. I love working with creative people who need my financial expertise.